About an hour before bedtime, begin to dim the lights in the house to encourage your body to prepare for sleep.
Right before bedtime is a good time to do a gratitude meditation. You can do this lying down, by simply thinking about everything you are grateful for from the day as you drift, off to sleep. Or you can keep a daily gratitude journal and write down all the things you are grateful for.
I do the Heart Belly breathing meditation where I place one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly and I breath in and out through my nose until my thoughts slow down.
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Intentional movements prior to bed will help you release some of the toxins and stress you have collected from your day and help support a good night’s rest. See here for some specific suggestions.
This self-massage is meant to apply a warm, thick layer of oil to your skin, almost like a blanket, to help calm anxiety and worry. Try it three times per week. Warm V2 cup of massage oil (see here). Spread the oil evenly over your body, waiting a few minutes before you start massaging it in, to allow the oil to be absorbed into your skin.
Massage your body from bottom to top, using the same technique used for Morning Self-Massage (here) and also allowing it to evolve into intuitive touch over time. Use a firm, even pressure over all areas of your body, except for sensitive spots, such as your heart and abdomen, where you will use a lighter pressure. For such areas as the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands, and the base of your fingernails (in other words, those areas where the nerve endings are more concentrated), use more oil and spend more time massaging. Leave the oil on overnight to allow it to deeply penetrate the skin and connective tissues. I recommend keeping a robe or an old pair of pajamas on hand specifically for this occasion because the oil may stain.
Finish by massaging your scalp. Begin with a dry, circular massage around your hairline. Then disperse a tablespoon of oil onto your scalp and hair. Beginning at the front of your hairline and working your way toward the back, use your fingertips to massage the oil into your entire scalp, using deep, slow movements. Repeat this sequence three to four times, then end with a hair tug. Wrap your head in a towel for ten minutes or leave it on overnight.
In the morning, rinse off the oil in the shower and shampoo it out of your hair.
EVENING FOOT WASH AND MASSAGE
When my grandmother came to visit me when I was a child, she would always soak and wash my feet in the bathroom sink, then massage them before I went to bed. An evening foot wash and massage is so soothing especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet or wear high heels. My grandmother taught me this from a young age.
To begin, fill up your sink, bathtub, or a large bowl with warm water. Place 1 cup of magnesium salts into the water, plus 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix until the salts dissolve. Sit back and relax as you soak your feet in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove your feet from the water and towel them dry.
To massage, pour 1 teaspoon (per foot) of your seasonal oil (here) into your hands, then rub your hands together to warm the oil. Place each hand on either side of your foot and, beginning at the toes and moving toward the heel, rub the oil into your foot, being sure to rub it in between your toes. Pay special attention to rough, dry areas, such as your heels. End by rubbing the oil into your ankle in a circular motion.
Place your foot on your opposite thigh to access the bottom of the foot. We’re going to perform some reflexology, which is massaging pressure points to stimulate different areas of the central nervous system. All the toes are associated with the head and neck, so massaging this area is known to secrete melatonin, which aids in a better night’s sleep and releases tension in the neck and shoulders.
Using your thumb, inch up each toe, making sure to massage the top of each toe as well as the sides. Once you’ve reached the top of your toes, work your way back down again. Next, use your thumb to massage up and down the inner side of your foot. This area is associated with the spine. Now move your thumb to press the ball of your foot, which is associated with the chest. This will help calm and deepen your breath. Massage under the ball of your foot to promote feelings of deep relaxation, and then move to your heel. Press softly here a few times to foster a restful sleep. The bottom of the heel is associated with the sciatica nerve, and there is an insomnia point just at the top, center point of the heel. To finish, moisturize your foot, and then run another layer of oil over the foot. Put on a sock to lock in the moisture. Repeat these steps on the opposite foot.