If you are like me, you know the feeling of staring at the ceiling at night or flipping through Netflix documentaries at 3 am. Lack of sleep is one of the most uncomfortable and frustrating things that many of us deal with, and it can cause serious problems for your health and your overall quality of life. Regularly missing out on good sleep can affect your mood, health and relationships and cause you to spend your days feeling like a zombie.
On the other hand, a peaceful, restful night of sleep is one of the most wonderful things we have in life– particularly if it is something that has eluded you for a long time. A good night’s sleep can help you feel like a new person, as you are more rested and awake throughout the day. The sky is more beautiful, sounds are more meaningful and life is more enjoyable with healthy sleep.
Sleep is not only important for your mood and mental health, it is just as crucial for your body’s physical health as well. The body requires a certain amount of sleep to perform its normal functions properly. Any real insomniac knows the physical strain that comes of lying awake all night on a regular basis.
If that is you, you may have already turned to medicinal sleep aids to help get through the night. These can be helpful, but they are only intended to be a temporary solution and many of them are habit forming. To avoid this or as a supplement to it, you have probably scoured the internet looking for more natural ways to sleep like a normal person. I know that I have spent many a sleepless night reading through obscure websites about unusual methods that could help me get to bed and get some rest.
Of all the techniques I stumbled upon, only one actually made a marked difference and actually had a significant effect on my ability to fall asleep at night. That was the practice of reflexology. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of reflexology, that’s OK; I had never heard of it, and it seems like almost no one has. However, once you try it and see the actual results that come of this simple practice, you will want to tell all your friends about it and shout from the rooftops how much it has helped. And of course, you’ll be able to do so after getting a good night’s sleep the night before.
What is reflexology?
Certainly the first thing you will want to know before trying any type of new natural cure is, what is it? Reflexology is an alternative therapy that is designed to bring balance to your entire body and mind. This non-invasive technique consists of applying pressure to specific areas of your foot. By stimulating the correct regions, it can eliminate energy blockages that may produce pain, disease and– more important for our purposes– stress that causes insomnia.
Although it is just beginning to become more of a common practice in the United States, reflexology has been a regular health practice in many other cultures for centuries. No one is entirely sure where the concepts originated, but archeological evidence shows it being practiced in ancient China, Japan and Egypt. The ideas were originally introduced to Americans in 1913 and began to gain scientific interest in the 1940s.
Sounds too simple to be true, right? That’s what I thought too, but there have been studies done on the concepts behind reflexology, and there is science to back up the concepts. There are nearly 15,000 nerves in your foot alone, and it is by stimulating these and releasing energy to flow more freely throughout the body that the methods work. There are lots of more sciencey terms that explain it in more detail, but what is important now is the fact that it works.
How could I try reflexology?
While there are hundreds of practicing reflexologists around America, it is simple enough that you can try it out by yourself. Using the chart that we’ve provided above and the following simple steps, you can help yourself to a more restful, peaceful night that will lead to a more productive morning.
- First, relax your feet one at a time by using simple squeezing and releasing techniques. Finish the relaxation process by holding your thumb on the solar plexus point of each foot for five to ten seconds.
- Gently walk your thumb up from the base of the heel to the tip of each toe. Pretend your thumb is a tiny caterpillar crawling up your foot. Gross, I know, but it’s the best representation I can think of.
- Press each of the reflex points with your thumb for 10 to 15 seconds, focusing on any area with which you are especially having problems.
- Repeat the entire process, beginning with the relaxation techniques and finishing by pressing your thumb on the solar plexus area of both feet.
- End by lightly running your fingers up and down your entire foot– top, bottom and sides– in a feathery motion. You can repeat this for as long as necessary until you are feeling totally relaxed.