Self-massage is an easy way to relax your body before bed. You can use rolls, balls, and other tools to soothe your muscles, connective tissues, and nervous system so you can get to sleep more easily and sleep deeper.
Self-massage can help you sleep better by calming the sympathetic nervous system also known as the fight or flight response so you can sleep better and longer.
It’s tempting to watch movies or binge on episodes of your favorite show right before turning off the lights.
There is just so much to do and so much FOMO that it can be a challenge to give up even half an hour of viewing time to get ready for sleep.
But if you have trouble sleeping well or you wake up unrefreshed, you know there has to be a better way to prepare for sleep.
Sleep is so important to our wellbeing that missing out on a full night’s rest can make you vulnerable to disease by lowering your immune response even after just one night.
Imagine what is happening to your health if you are chronically short on sleep! Lack of sleep can affect relationships, moods, earning power, digestion, weight gain, and just about every area of your life.
Invest in your sleep and you will have more energy to live the life you are meant to live. Along with self-massage, our natural pillows can help.
When You scroll through your phone or watch movies right before bed it primes your nervous system for arousal and wakefulness.
So it is a good habit to turn off the screens, switch off the internet if you can, and dim the lights at least half an hour before bed so you can start to slow down.
Self-massage goes well with soothing music, aromatherapy, a warm bath, and of course the proper natural buckwheat pillow.
A simple five or ten-minute self-massage routine can help you prepare for bed and get a better quality of sleep.
Benefits of Massage
Massage is so beneficial that athletes often have a daily massage to repair the damage they endure training each day. It helps them recover faster and helps them warm up for events, so they are in less danger of injury. A relaxing massage before bed can help you to sleep better.
The benefits of massage for stress reduction have been studied extensively:
- Massage increases circulation of blood and lymph
- Massage reduces insomnia
- Massage reduces inflammation and promotes healing time and recovery time after exercise
- Massage relieves sinus pressure and reduces head and neck aches
- Massage can help reduce the symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety
But getting a professional massage is expensive. It isn’t easy to have someone come to your house and massage you right before they pop you into bed for the night.
And even if you do massage with your partner it can be physically tiring to massage someone right before bed and that is the last thing you need. That’s where self-massage techniques come in handy.
Self-massage techniques have been perfected over many years of research by physical therapists, traditional healing modalities, and other specialists to help you relax and release muscle tension and increase endorphins so you can sleep better.
Self-Massage Tools and Techniques
There are many innovative tools for self-massage, from massage balls and rolls like our physical therapy wooden neck pillow, to expensive massage chairs and contraptions that will vibrate your body and help you relax.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn techniques that can help get your chronic aches and pains to settle down and relax your muscles and nervous system for sleep.
But you need to know how to do the right type of massage that will relax you rather than energize you so much you want to go out and exercise!
Many self-massage tools come from yoga traditions as well as physical therapy for massaging the body, shoulders, neck, face, and scalp.
Foam rollers are great for rolling out tight upper back muscles by putting the roll horizontally under your shoulder blades. Foam rolls are great for gently rolling your back and legs. The foam roll is also for stretching and opening up your chest muscles when you lie on the roll lengthwise face up.
Rolling pins or rolling pin style wooden massagers come in smooth or textured finishes. You can use a rolling pin to soothe tight thigh and calf muscles.
Etsy is a great place to find beautiful handmade self-massage tools that are not expensive.
Massage canes, peanuts, and contraptions come in so many sizes and shapes. You can often find them at Whole Foods Markets or sports equipment stores.
Massage therapy balls work well for the face and body for lying on for opening your chest muscles and rolling out your legs, stomach, and back.
Tennis balls are useful to lie on or use in sets of two inside a sock for your neck or back muscles.
Best Programs for Self-Massage
There are many videos, courses, and books about how to do self-massage with your hands or with massage tools and methods.
The Miracle Ball Method is a great way to relax and lengthen your muscles before you go to sleep.
Gua Sha massage is done with carved stone or wooden scrapers and helps move the toxins out of your lymphatic system and relax the muscles and joints.
Another way to move your lymph and improve circulation is with Dry Skin Brushing. Using a natural plant bristle brush before bed and when you wake up in the morning you brush in gentle strokes toward the lymph nodes on your body and face.
Massage can be done with your hands pressing on points on your face, and body. Or you can roll your feet on a bumpy ball or water bottle or by rolling over your foot bottom with a kitchen whisk.
One way to relax the back muscles is by using an acupressure massage mat where you lie passively on the mat while you relax and release tension.
Abhyanga warm oil massage is an Ayurvedic technique that can be very soothing before going to sleep.