7 Steps to Better Sleep from the Body Whisperer
Lack of sleep causes everything from weight gain and sallow, wrinkled skin (never mind the under-eye circles and bags) to mental instability; it saps us of our glow, our mood, and our overall health. Structural integration and alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh (aka the body whisperer), who’s given us endless tricks for solving body woes from back pain, to cellulite, to stress. Now, she’s focusing on sleep. Whether you’re all too familiar with insomnia or just looking to maximize energy and attractiveness, Roxburgh’s foam rolling sequences, guided mediation clip, and other sleep-prep tricks are all blessedly effective. (P.S. If you don’t have a roller yet, check out Roxburgh’s very own miracle worker, which also comes in a compact travel size.)
The Eternal Quest for a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’ve ever lain wide awake at night, mind racing, wishing you could fall back to sleep, watching the clock, knowing tomorrow is going to be bru-tal—you know that insomnia is a cruel b*tch.
Way too many of us aren’t able to sleep soundly enough to feel rested and rejuvenated the next day: The CDC has estimated that 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems. Not getting enough quality sleep affects every aspect of our health and lives; and when you’re not well rested, the world has a way of seeming more stressful and overwhelming, which can further contribute to a self-perpetuating cycle of under-eye bags.
But there is relief. The below bedtime rituals help you to connect with your body, calm your nervous system, breathe out tension, and relax your mind—every night. Pick the ones that suit you best, and make them a part of your pre-bedtime routine. Follow the routine as closely as you can, every evening:
Your Good-Sleep Bedtime Routine
1. Turn Off the Tech
It’s tempting to check your Instagram once more before bed, but the blue light given off by phones, computers, and TVs affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength. Try to turn all devices off a couple of hours before bedtime—or as early as you can—to give your brain a rest from the blue light.
2. Magnesium is the Miracle Mineral
It’s estimated that somewhere around 45 percent of us (and maybe as much as 80 percent) don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, in part because of soil depletion, which causes food today to be less nutrient-dense. Magnesium deficiency can lead to fatigue, excess stress, low energy, muscle and fascia tension, spasms and cramps, anxiousness and nervousness and…the inability to sleep. Getting enough magnesium is key, especially if you’re stressed and having trouble sleeping and restoring your system. Natural Calm is my go-to for nourishing/restoring/calming my body, nervous system, and spirit (you can try a sample here). I put the powder, sourced from the ocean’s rich minerals, in a drink (hot or cold) before bed, and feel the effects right away, falling into a deep sleep. (Side note: Magnesium can help with constipation, too!)
3. Bonus: The Detoxifying Magnesium-Salt Bath
For a relaxing and detoxifying spa treatment in your own bathtub: Magnesium is nature’s anti-stress mineral and contributes to health in numerous ways, including fascia, muscle, and cellular relaxation. It’s a great bath addition at the end of the day to support optimal beautifying sleep, recovery, digestion, and overall vitality. I love the lavender Natural Calm Bath. Magnesium baths are good for post-workout recovery, too, and as part of a relaxing meditation to complement yoga practice. Soothing music and candlelight helps as well. [Also a plus, the goop candle is made with clean, nontoxic ingredients, including calm-inducing shiso leaf, vetiver, and rockrose.]
4. Journal + Guided Meditation
Another great trick for calming the mind is journaling before bed. Order your thoughts and get your problems in perspective by focusing on positive things in your life. It’s simple, but studies show it improves sleep. In a similar vein, doing a guided meditation before bed can really help—here’s a ten-minute clip to help you deeply relax:
5. Aromatherapy Magic
Smell is one of our most powerful senses. A simple smell can immediately trigger a powerful memory, place, or person, and can impact our bodies via the nervous system. Our olfactory nerve is connected directly to the brain. Essential oils—particularly lavender—are used to relieve stress, and studies suggest show they can be effective at reducing anxiety levels. Essential oils can be diluted in water and diffused into the air, or you can smooth a few drops into acupressure points on the body (like right below your belly button or between your thumb and forefinger). In addition to lavender, other oils that have been shown to help promote sleep include jasmine, yuzu, bergamot, and sage.
6. Sleep Positions—Best Practices
Of the three main sleep positions (on your side, back, and stomach), the insomnia specialists I know recommend your side, with your knees bent slightly up towards your chest. If you have a bad back, try putting a pillow in between your legs to alleviate pressure on your hips and lower back. If you prefer to sleep on your back, you can alter this position to help you sleep more soundly: Place a soft pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees to facilitate the natural curve of the spine. Many sleep experts don’t recommend sleeping on your stomach as it causes strain on your lower back and possible neck pain. If you sleep on your stomach, use an extremely soft pillow or none at all, so as not to put your neck at an awkward angle.
7. Foam Rolling to Bed
I suggest spending 10-15 minutes on the roller at the end of your bedtime routine. For starters, try the sleep-focused sequence below—the combination of movement and breath will help to regulate your entire system, reducing stress so that you can sleep better and wake up with a beautiful glow. If you’re really feeling stressed out, add in the second sequence. (If you want even more, check out my calming twenty-minute workout here.)
FOR BETTER SLEEP
FOR EXTRA STRESS RELIEF
Lauren Roxburgh is the author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique, and creator of the LoRox Aligned Rollers and the Aligned Life video series.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.