Did you know your body does it’s best healing when you sleep?
If you’re not getting a good restful nights sleep, your body won’t be able to repair at the same rate as when you are deeply sleeping.
How can you help influence your sleep patterns?
Routine - if you have a set routine, this can make it easier to plan what time you need to wake up and what time you should ideally sleep. 8 hours of solid rest is pretty ideal, but don’t forget to allow a little buffer room unless you can reliably fall asleep as soon as you get in bed!
This can be harder if your routine changes a lot, like shift workers or overnight workers, or if you have a baby to care for during the night.
Mattress - how old is your mattress? Mattresses should be replaced approximately every 8-10 years, or about every decade. Modern mattresses have a lot to offer, from varied springs and supports, to electronic adjustable mattresses, or cooling fabrics and fillers. Your mattress should give you comfortable support, particularly around your back, hips, shoulders and neck. If your mattress sags or has broken springs, it definitely sounds like time to upgrade! Hard or soft is really up to personal preference, but the ideal mattress for your unique body shouldn’t leave you feeling pain or strain caused by lack of support. Our friends Andrew and Karen at Mattresses Direct to Public in Kilsyth can help recommend a mattress that suits you.
Pillow - a good supportive pillow can make a big difference! Pillows are personal, some people prefer a soft squishy pillow, and some prefer a much firmer pillow. The way you sleep will also determine the best pillow for you, if you're a back sleeper you may only need one thin pillow to keep your neck in a nice neutral position, but if you're a side sleeper then you may need more support under your head to keep that neutral neck position. If your pillow is old and sagging, its time to replace it.
Temperature - can you keep the climate comfortable in your room? A fan or heater depending on the season can make it easier to get a better sleep. It can also improve air flow in your bedroom. Having bedding that is suitable for the season can also be useful in aiding your sleep - a heavy, warm cover for winter, and a light cover for hot summer nights.
Sounds - some will be out of your control, like outdoor noises (possums make the worst sounds at night!) Consider things like ticking clocks or sounds that can be heard from the rest of the house. A lot of people find sound can help them sleep, for example playing music that helps you relax, or even the white noise of a fan running in the background.
Environment - is your room clean? Has your bed been made? These factors might not seem important to sleep, but having a clean hygienic space for sleep can help improve your sleep.
Don’t eat before bed - make your last meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep, especially if it’s a heavy meal.
Screen time - phones, computers and TVs can be very mentally stimulating, so using these right up until you go to bed can make it harder to slip into sleep. Try to switch off the electronics for more than half an hour before you go to bed.
Stress management - stress and anxiety can keep you up at night. What ways would you find enjoyable to decrease stress and anxiety at the end of your day? Some great options are a gentle movement practice like yoga, a wind down relaxation practice like guided meditation or yoga Nidra, writing a brain dump or journal entry to clear your mind, or having a hot shower to relax right tired muscles.
Herbal supplements - while its outside of my scope to recommend specific herbal supplements, a Chinese Medicine practitioner can prescribe you some natural herbal remedies that can help you retrain your sleep cycle. Our good friend Amanda at Upwey Acupuncture can help you with herbal prescriptions specifically designed for you.
Sleep is one of the factors that we often talk about in treatments. Its so essential to your recovery process, especially if you have a long term pain condition. In fact, one of the most commonly reported effects of our treatments is that the person was able to sleep better afterwards!
Looking for an excuse to get a massage? We hear you! Massage can have a variety of benefits, especially when you are treated by a qualified remedial massage therapist. Here are our top 10 reasons you might want to get a massage this week.
You’re stressed out
Let’s face it – most of us live pretty hectic lives. Between family, work, social life, hobbies and more, there isn’t much time for stress-relieving activities.
Putting aside an hour for massage isn’t just about feeling good. Research has found that massage therapy can reduce the level of your stress hormone cortisol, as well as boosting up your feel-good brain chemicals. So it relieves stress physically as well as mentally.
You’ve been hitting the gym lately
Whether you’re doing a 12 week challenge at your gym or getting outside for a bootcamp, increasing your exercise can mean a lot of aches and pains.
Massage is a great option for after a workout to aid with recovery. But you can also book yourself in regularly to address any tightness or discomfort in the muscles that can limit your gym efforts.
You want to be more flexible
Our bodies are designed to be flexible. But our modern world has had a big impact on how flexible the average person is. Between office jobs, Netflix and cars, we spend a lot of time sitting on our muscles instead of stretching them out.
When a massage relieves tension in a ‘tight’ area, it can help your muscles, ligaments and tendons to be more flexible.
You have a new fitness goal or event in mind
Set a goal to run a marathon in 12 weeks? Signed up for Tough Mudder or a Spartan race? Want to be the next Ninja Warrior? Maybe you just want to get back to doing a proper push-up.
Whatever your fitness goal or event, a massage will relieve tension. A remedial massage therapist can also let you know if you have any significant areas of tension or muscle imbalances that may increase your risk of injury.
You’re sore or aching
There are many reasons for feeling sore. But one of the simplest solutions is to get a massage. Massage can soothe away the aches and pains.
If your pain is more chronic, massage can still help to relieve symptoms. In fact, research suggests that multiple massages may be more beneficial for relieving symptoms of pain for issues such as chronic neck pain. Sounds like a good reason to book in a few appointments!
You’ve got a headache
A nasty headache can really screw up your plans and leave you grumpy. So why not get a treatment that can relieve those symptoms?
Research has shown that massage can reduce the duration of a headache, as well as reducing frequency for those who experience chronic tension headaches.
Think it’s more of a migraine? Massage can still help. One study found massage can reduce migraine pain by up to 68%. Just make sure you’re safe to drive, or ask a friend to drive you to your appointment.
You haven’t been sleeping well
If you’re not sleeping soundly, your body and mind can suffer some nasty consequences. Poor sleep can have many factors involved – caffeine, food choices, technology use, lack of sun exposure, stress, family, work, the list goes on.
The good news is that massage can help address many of these factors as well as priming your body for sleep. There is plenty of research showing that massage can help with sleep. It can even help with sleep concerns for specific groups such as people with chronic pain or pain conditions, heart failure or post-menopausal insomnia.
Your mental health has been a little low lately
Whether you’re feeling blue or are getting anxious over little things, mental health is something to take seriously. When you’re not feeling ok, it can be hard to take steps to help yourself feel better. But one simple and enjoyable step is a massage!
A review of 37 massage therapy studies found that the greatest impact of massage is its ability to reduce anxious and depressive symptoms. In fact, they suggested that a course of several massage treatments showed similar benefits to psychotherapy!
It’s been a while since you’ve taken care of you
Most of us are great at taking care of others. But we’re not so good at taking care of ourselves – physically, mentally or emotionally.
Massage is a one-stop shop treatment for all of these aspects of self-care. Your body feels good, your stress levels drop and you are looking after your mental wellbeing.
Because you can
We think this is the best reason of all! If you’re looking for an excuse to get a massage, that in itself is a good enough reason for a massage.
To book a massage with our remedial massage therapist Helvi, head to our booking page and select ‘Helvi Topia’ as your practitioner.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.