Not just the preserve of the day spa, massages are increasingly being touted as an aid to ease anxiety, headaches and digestive disorders, as well as regular aches and pains. And for insomniacs especially, it’s an easy and very pleasant way to settle down to sleep.
It’s not a surprising finding – after all, baby massage is one technique parents turn to when it comes to getting little ones to sleep.
Numerous studies have found that regular massage sessions can improve sleep in all ages, as well as those with psychiatric disorders and cancer patients. And research suggests a three-minute massage is all the time our body needs before it can start producing feelings of calm.
Here’s how you can try it at home:
Lie on the bed on your side or stomach. Have your partner use their fingers to make slow, circular movements starting at the base of your spine and working up to the base of your neck. Repeat for a few minutes and you’ll be all set to sleep … if you aren’t already.
If you’re waking up with neck or jaw pain, chances are you’re grinding your teeth while you sleep, which makes the masseter muscle in the jaw extremely tight. When jaw tension is consistent enough, it can travel along the neck too, creating pain, tension and general discomfort.
To loosen up, find the corner of your jawbone (directly under your earlobes) with the pad of your middle finger, then move your fingers in small, circular motions with as much pressure as possible. After 30 seconds, open the mouth as far as possible and then relax. Try this five times a day and before bed, and enjoy the restful sleep it brings.