Do you ever struggle with getting a good night’s sleep?
I never used to have this problem. I would lay my head on the pillow, and seconds later, I would be out cold until the alarm went off in the morning. Back then, I only averaged five to six hours of sleep per night and was chronically sleep-deprived. So, it was no wonder that I would fall asleep so quickly. My body was starving for rest.
Now, I prioritize sleep, which means I go to bed at about the same time as many kindergartners. And even though I’m allowing myself to get more sleep, there are nights when my brain keeps going with ideas or thoughts of things I need to do the next day.
So, since I value sleep, I’ve adopted a few habits to help get better quality sleep.
First and foremost, I have a pre-bedtime routine. I start with the basics, like brushing and flossing my teeth. And your bedtime routine might be pretty simple like that. A bedtime routine helps tell your brain that it’s time for bed. It’s the same principle as bathing your toddler and then reading them a story.
You can create the bedtime routine that works best for you. It doesn’t have to take a long time. Just a few minutes can set you up for rest and repair.
You can include activities like taking a warm shower or bath, doing light yoga or meditation, reading, or journaling.
One thing that has become non-negotiable is giving myself a foot massage with sesame oil. Rubbing your feet with oil is an excellent way to ground your energy and help you wind down from your day.
Yes, I know it can be nice to have someone else give you a foot rub (and I’m always up for one from my hubby). But massaging your skin is a beautiful act of self-care. It’s an opportunity to show yourself love and compassion. And since many people spend most of their day beating themselves up, it’s a nice change of pace.
Rub all the areas of your feet, including your toes, and between them. You might notice areas that are tight or achy. Give them a little extra attention.
You can use the oil on just your feet or whole body. If you want a full-body massage, I suggest you start at the top of your head and finish with your feet. The downward direction adds to the grounding effect. Use long strokes on the long bones (arms and legs) and circles on your joints (elbows and knees).
And you don’t have to stop there with the oil. You can put a light covering under your eyes and the rest of your face.
My top tip is to put a tiny bit of oil in each ear. I use my pinky, but you can use a cotton swab if you’d prefer. Then, add a small amount of cotton to keep it in your ears. This step has become something I won’t skip anymore. I stopped it for a short while and noticed that I was waking up a lot more at night. Then, when I started up again, I began sleeping more soundly again.
Friends describe it as feeling like they are being comforted in a cocoon.
You can use any oil you’d like, but I recommend getting one that is organic and unrefined because anything you put on your skin gets processed by your liver. A good rule of thumb is don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t want to eat.
My go-to oil for my skin is sesame. It has a warming effect. So, if you tend to be hot, you might prefer coconut oil, which is more cooling. Or you might alternate sesame for cooler months and coconut for the summer.
Both oils have benefits beyond moisturizing your skin:
- help fight free radicals because they contain antioxidants
- can help protect your skin from harmful microorganisms
- help reduce inflammation and may even help with pain
- improve circulation and the healing process
An important reminder: After applying the oil, wear old socks to keep your sheets from getting oily. You might want to wear old PJs if you do a full-body massage with your oil or put a towel on your pillow.
If you’re new to self-massage or don’t like the idea of oil, you can skip it and start with dry hands. You’ll still get many of the benefits.
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