What’s My Secret Weapon For a Good Night’s Sleep?

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Posted by Judy Moon

Magnesium oil. That’s right, magnesium oil.

First of all, I feel that sleep is underrated. I think we don’t really put enough emphasis on getting enough sleep, and the health benefits of good, quality, restful, restorative sleep. Webmd explains nine reasons to sleep more.

I personally don’t have a problem falling asleep, it’s staying asleep that was my problem. There are lots of reasons why this can happen for people.

So I have made going to bed a real ritual.

Herbal tea, no electronic screens after nine, my bedroom is a sleep sanctuary – no TV etc.,  I do my best to go to bed at the same time every night, I turn the lights in my home down in the evening and start sending the message to my brain – “hey, we’re going to sleep soon”, I use some lavender essential oil on my feet and at the suggestion of a health coach, I started using magnesium oil on my feet at night.

Pure magic! I now sleep like a rock.

Dr. Mark Hyman, refers to magnesium as the “relaxation mineral”, and here is a GREAT post about all of it’s benefits.

Ancient Minerals was the brand recommended to me. A drop of DoTerra lavender essential oil rubbed in to the bottom of my feet, 3 sprays of Magnesium Oil on each foot, socks, Bon Nuit!

I will warn you that the Magnesium oil is a little drying, so I make sure I am also treating my feet by exfoliating daily with a pumice and lathering them up with a rich moisturizer. I’d choose something with some rich Shea butter.

Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Get Your Zzzz’s, Please!

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I just watched a new documentary about sleep (and you should too!) created by the National Institutes of Health and National Geographic.

Or should I say our insane LACK of sleep here in the United States! Wow! The numbers of folks getting 6 hours of sleep or less each night is staggering and frightening if we consider how many of them drive on our highways daily.

There are tons of facts to absorb in this documentary and I already know how important sleep is to our general health, but this was a real wake up call (oh, sorry for that pun…) to the negative health consequences that come from chronic lack of sleep.

According to the NIH, chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, unhealthy weight gain, heart conditions, cancer, hormone imbalances (especially those associated with blood sugar) and emotional and mental health instabilities. There is also ongoing research about the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep’s restorative role in brain and overall health. Very interesting!

To paraphrase one of the documentaries many experts, a man associated with highway and traffic safety agencies; “Every aspect of human behavior is impaired and degraded by lack of sleep. Situational awareness, memory, communication, decision making and reaction time have all been shown to drop by 20-50%.” Chronic sleep loss also creates a 40% deficit in the capacity of the brain to make and hold on to new memories.

Again, wow.

I’m not trying to scare you but watching this documentary scared me a little bit. In a good way actually. I’ve started to take my sleep much more seriously. Now I’m not chronically sleep deprived in anyway, but I don’t sleep well on a regular basis. Most of that comes from having a very active and often anxious brain. Or from having a cup of caffeine at 4 in the afternoon, or that extra glass of wine with dinner. Or from staring at my computer screen right before I go to bed. All things I am aware of but have chosen not to take so seriously. Until now!

So I’ve begun to change some of these little things that will make a big difference in my sleep habits:

  • No computer 30 minutes or more before bed
  • No caffeine after noon
  • Less alcohol or none with dinner during the work week
  • Chamomile or other calming herbal tea 30 minutes before bed
  • Light, humorous reading or breathing & meditation in bed before lights out

I’ve noticed a difference! I am getting deeper and almost uninterrupted sleep. Getting more exercise during the week will help as well. One suggestion in the documentary that I haven’t tried yet is waking up at the same time every day regardless of when you go to sleep. This technique is often used for folks with insomnia but can be helpful for all of us to get us back in tune with our natural rhythms. Here’s to a good nights sleep!

Cheers! (with herbal tea!)

Fresh as a Daisy

Posted by: Debi Phillpotts

It’s the middle of winter here on the east coast and oh what a winter it has been so far. We’ve come to know new lingo such as “Arctic Vortex” and hearing forecasts of sub degree temperatures have become the norm. And the snow, well nothing short of plenty this year, for sure.

If you have ever had any bodywork from me, most likely I have mentioned the natural rhythms of the seasons and their corresponding energy characteristics. If not, no worries I’m here to remind you about the water element which corresponds with the season of winter. This is a yin season with some of the characteristics being passive, dark, and cold for example. Now, we all know the nights are longer during the winter season so it would make sense that we get more sleep and are less active. Right?

Sleep. How much do we need?  According to the National Sleep Foundation adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night, teens require 8-9 hours and younger children anywhere from 11-15 hours depending on their age. The key question to ask oneself to determine how much sleep is needed is how productive, happy and healthy are you during the day? Are you at health risk, have weight issues or depend on caffeine for your energy?  When we are feeling cranky, forgetful, or unhealthy chances are the last thing we think about is if we have incurred and unresolved sleep debt. While everyone’s needs are individual, short sleep duration is linked with:

  • Increased risk of drowsy driving and motor vehicle accidents
  • A greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information

The good news is that we can sleep off this debt with regular proper amounts of sleep. So why not take advantage of those long winter nights and get some proper rest?  Some tips for a good night sleep are:

  • Going to bed earlier at the same time each night (weekends included)
  • Refraining from tv/electronics and heavy meals at least two hours before going to bed (try reading or meditation)
  • Avoid napping
  • Get exercise during the day
  • Make your bedroom an oasis of tranquility ie: serene colors, natural light, comfortable bed and bedding and no TV in the bedroom.

Try a week with a regular, sufficient sleep regimen and you just may notice you are feeling “Fresh as a Daisy”!

For more information on sleep facts and its benefits go to:
Sleep Foundation
Healthy Sleep

Thank you and Good Night!

Massage Therapist Insider Series: Do People Ever Fall Asleep on Your Table?

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Posted by Alicia McCarthy

We’re happy to announce our first “series” on the blog. Alicia will be sharing common questions she receives as a Massage Therapist. Do you have questions? Enter your Q’s in the comments and we’ll address them over the next few weeks!

Do people ever fall asleep on your table?
This question is probably the most frequently asked question I encounter when giving a massage. It usually pops into the client’s head just as they were about to drift off to slumber land themselves.

The answer is yes; people often do fall asleep while getting a massage. I take it as one of the greatest compliments a massage therapist could receive, although the sleepy head in question can often feel self-conscious when I gently wake them at the end of our session together.

Everyone has different ways of relaxing, and that method of “letting go” can vary depending on each individual massage. As a frequent receiver of massage myself, I find it difficult to completely succumb to the drowsiness a massage can bring. I find myself jarring my senses back to reality right before I drift off to sleep. As a practitioner, I am often wondering how the massage therapist is achieving a particular “move”. However, there are clients that have the same curiosity and being awake and aware serves as a means to connect the mind to the body

If a state of sleepiness is your intention, you can try meditative visualization while the massage is in progress. Focusing your attention on the part of the body being worked on while picturing golden light shining on that area can help to quiet the mind. Setting an intention at the beginning of each session, and turning back to it can allow your senses to surrender to a relaxed state. Within some schools of thought, falling asleep is the ultimate sign of release that allows healing to occur

However you choose to spend your session, whether waking up with a little drool in the corner of your mouth or with joyous belly laughs, the goal is always the same: To heal.

Photo Credits // 1 Examiner // 2 Valley Massage Clinic