The Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep…Naturally!

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By Laura Norman Special to The Pineapple What could be sweeter than a night of peaceful, restful sleep? Sleep is the time for your mind and body to restore and heal itself. A good night’s sleep can put worries into perspective. Through your dreams your subconscious mind makes sense of the events of your day. In dreams, your superconscious mind or “higher self” brings you guidance toward a better life. Soothing, peaceful sleep rejuvenates your body, mind and soul! “Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama But if you’re like me, there may have been times when you found peaceful, restorative slumber elusive. Have the stresses of the day sometimes kept you tossing and turning when you longed for sleep? Or if you’ve had chronic insomnia, has restful sleep itself come to seem like a only a dream? “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” – W.C. Fields Before reaching for chemical sleep aids that may cause side effects and create dependencies, try the natural relaxation effects of reflexology! You can easily give yourself and others a mini-reflexology session to help you shift gently into the sweet slumber you desire. By stimulating reflex points on your feet, hands, face and ears, reflexology subtly impacts the whole body, affecting organs, glands and each and every part of the body. A short, easy-to-learn reflexology routine working just on the feet can assist you—or a loved one—to drift off naturally. There are nearly 15,000 nerves in your feet alone, one of many reasons that foot reflexology is so calming, soothing and gently effective. Reflexologists use a map of the feet (see chart) where all the organs, glands, and parts of the body are laid out in the same arrangement as in the body. The toes reflect the head. The ridge beneath the toes on the top part of the ball of the foot is a natural shoulder or neck line. The ball of the foot reflects the chest. The arch mirrors the digestive organs and the heel and ankles contain reflexes for the reproductive system. Even the inside curve of each foot, where we find the important spinal reflex, corresponds to the actual curves of the spine. Using my chart, here’s a 15-minute routine you can easily incorporate into your bedtime ritual: 1. Relax the feet, one at a time, with simple relaxation techniques: pressing and squeezing, lightly slapping or gently kneading—whatever feels good. Finish by pressing and holding your thumb on the solar plexus point of each foot for five to ten seconds each (see chart.) 2. On the bottom of each foot, “walk” your thumb up from the base of the heel to each toe (imagine your thumb is a caterpillar inching its way up your foot), then press these reflex points with the outer edge of your thumb or tip of your forefinger: • Head/brain (top of each toe) promotes clarity and positive thinking • Pituitary or “master gland” (center of big toe) stimulates/balances hormone secretions of all other glands • Pineal gland (outer side of big toe) secretes melatonin which controls our circadian rhythm/ sleep cycle • Thyroid (base of big toe) balances metabolism • Neck/shoulders (ridge of toes) releases tension • Chest/lungs (ball of foot) calms breathing • Solar plexus/diaphragm (under ball of foot in the center) encourages profound relaxation and peacefulness. (If you have other particular areas of your body that are stressed and causing sleeplessness, you can press the corresponding reflex area or point. My book Feet First contains more extensive charts and routines for a wide variety of issues.) 3. Apply the relaxation techniques again and finish with another thumb press on the solar plexus point on both feet. 4. End with “breeze strokes”—lightly running your fingertips down the tops, bottoms and sides of each foot in a feathery motion, barely touching the skin. Repeat this several times. It is very soothing to the nerves. Reflexology transports you into a state of deep relaxation where you are open to suggestions you give yourself. This is a good time for a pre-sleep affirmation such as, “A kind and forgiving world sings me to a peaceful sleep.” Also count your blessings and appreciate all of the good times in your day. Embrace and embody your joy. Envision how you would like your next day to be. “Sleep is the real beauty secret.” – Chelsea Leyland Your bedtime ritual can include a nurturing exchange of reflexology mini-sessions with your partner. Use these same techniques to help your child go to sleep easily. (They are also very helpful for a child with bed-wetting issues, combined with a reassuring visualization—such as a glowing white dome surrounding the home, keeping your family safe and happy.) Sweet dreams! Laura Norman, M.S., LMT, worldrenowned Holistic Reflexologist and author of the bestselling book, Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, offers private Reflexology and Life Wellness Coaching sessions and Holistic Reflexology Training Programs in Delray Beach. Visit www.lauranorman.com • Call 561-272-1220