4 ways to improve your sleep

A good night’s sleep is very beneficial, allowing your mind and body to relax and get the rest they both need.  It allows you to get your day off to a good start, with energy and enthusiasm instead of dragging yourself off to your activity pumped full of caffeine.  Unfortunately many people have occasional problems sleeping, and some have issues that are longer-term.

Sleep issues aren’t just a seasonal problem, such as changing clocks ahead or back, or how much light there is at beginning or end of the day. It’s estimated that over 60 million Americans suffer from short-term (a few days or weeks) or long-term (more than a month) insomnia.  Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem.

You have likely heard the standard tips to help you sleep, such as avoiding caffeine, using room-darkening shades, and going to bed at the same time every night.  Here are a few other helpful ideas that aren’t as well known.

Nap properly

Taking a nap during the day can be great for productivity and fabulous for health, but you’ve got to do it right.  Aim to nap for 20 to 25 minutes.  Nap longer than that and you’ll feel groggy when you wake up and you risk not being able to fall asleep when it’s bedtime.

Consider the temperature.

Take a warm (not hot) shower or bath about an hour before bedtime, and keep your room cool at night. The drop in body temperature signals your body to calm so you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Turn off the electronics.

This is probably the most important and the least followed piece of advice.

Get an old fashioned alarm clock so you don’t need to use your phone. Turn off your phone, tablet, laptop, or whatever you’ve got, and put the devices in another room. Yes, a whole other room. You may think that a phone on silent, hanging out on your nightstand, won’t disturb your rest, but it will.  Just knowing it’s there puts your body on alert.  It’s far too tempting to reach over and ‘just check a few emails’ if you do wake up in the middle of the night.  Save yourself and break this habit.

Get a massage

Oh, yeah!  Massage can help with sleep issues. There have been several studies demonstrating how effective massage is in people with sleep problems, especially when treating secondary issues that may impair sleep, like back pain, pregnancy and migraines.

Make an appointment and get ready for a better night’s sleep.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

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Lighten up on yourself

I know something about you.

You’re not perfect.

All around us we are shown images in advertising and media of how we should really be.  We are to be in fantastic shape, marvelous health, stunningly attractive, with no physical flaws from head to toe.  Great hair, white and straight teeth, never having bad breath, and on and on.  We are to be successful, making loads of money, and have all the latest in fashion, electronic and technological gear, and on the right track to realize all of our dreams.

How are you supposed to feel when you look in the mirror are don’t see this fictional ideal looking back?

The messages we get are mixed though.  How can we be in great shape and health if we are eating the all the donuts, fast food, snacks, and drinking soda and alcohol that are being advertised?  How can we be financially set while spending our money on all of this must-have stuff?

Nobody is perfect.  Think of the people you care about.  Are you surrounded by perfect friends and family?  No – but you love them anyway.  Think about a fictional character that you admire, maybe from a book or a movie.  The ones you can relate to the best have some flaw.  Some have multiple flaws, and some have big ones.  By seeing them overcome their flaw or just deal with it and still succeed can give you hope and motivation to keep on going with whatever you are struggling with.

If there is some imperfection of yours that is bothering you, consider a couple of things.  First, you have people who care about you anyway.  Second, there may be something you can do about it.  Some physical things you can change, others you can’t.  Almost all personality traits can be improved on – you are not stuck with being impatient because your parents were.  That is a learned skill that you can improve over time.  People have made amazing changes as they learn new skills and techniques to replace one way of thinking with a new way.  Remember that important changes take time and effort, and keep in mind how rewarded you will be when you achieve the change you desire.

Massage helps with body image.  It gives you a positive experience with the body you have now and can help remind you that you can feel good in your body.  It also helps give your mind a break and you can walk out with a different, better perspective of the issues you face.  Those issues may not seem quite so big and scary as they did before.  Are you facing an obstacle or is it a stepping stone to greater things?  A change in your outlook can affect your life in a wonderful way.

So I know you are not perfect.  Neither am I.  Give yourself a break and lighten up on yourself.  You may find much more joy, peace, and love in life when you feel better about yourself.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com