As part of my quest to unwind and get a better nights sleep, I stumbled across the idea of an acupressure mat. I was intrigued by the rave reviews and 80% 5 star rating so I decided to try it for myself.
I chose the orange Base Acupressure mat. I understood the idea behind it, rounded plastic spikes that apply gentle pressure and relax the muscles but I was a bit skeptical. I had 3 main concerns;
Would it hurt?
Would it really help me sleep better?
Would it live up to the hype of the Amazon reviews I had read?
The mat I purchased is linked below. Please note this is an affiliate link so any purchases made through that link will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Educating Hayley.
I was keen to try out my mat as soon as it arrived, so I took it upstairs, lay it on my bed and read the instructions. I put a thin pajama top on for my first attempt as it is suggested to build up to bare skin contact. Different people have varying levels of tolerance for sensation on the skin so its best to go slow and see what works for you. Apparently I must have a pretty high level of tolerance, as when I lay on it with the pajama top on, I couldn’t feel anything! So the top came off and I lay down again.
Its hard to describe the sensation of hundreds of rounded plastic tips pressing against your back. I wriggled and adjusted for a moment then set an alarm for 20 minutes and tried to relax into the mat. It is suggested to lie on the mat for 20-40 minutes several times a week for maximum benefit. I took a few deep breaths and could feel my muscles start to relax. The main thing going through my head was “Hey this doesn’t hurt!” I lay for the 20 minutes and then got up and carried on with my day. I didn’t get the warm tingly feeling that a lot of the reviews described but I still felt refreshed and happy with the result.
One month later
My mat arrived on the 11th of September, at time of writing I have been using it for just over a month. I have used the mat most days for at least 30 minutes. On day 3 I felt the warm tingly sensation and now I feel it almost every time. I would say that using it before bed does help me fall asleep faster as I’m more relaxed but I can’t definitively say that it has improved my sleep. Either way I enjoy my “mat time” and it is something that I will continue using. It has fit effortlessly into my before bed routine and I feel better for it. I now understand the rave reviews but ultimately its something that is hard to grasp until you have tried it for yourself.
Have you got an acupressure mat? Would you recommend it to others? Let me know in the comments below.
Now that we are firmly into autumn, I thought it would be a good time to make a self care plan. The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and cough and colds season is on its way. Self care is important any time of the year but personally I think it becomes more important over autumn and winter for 3 reasons:
Cough and colds season. Its that time of the year when everybody seems to be coming down with something.
Shorter days and longer nights. When the days are shorter and the weather is miserable we are more likely to feel down. Please note am I talking about winter blues in general and not seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which requires treatment and support.
Its cold! As the temperature drops, its time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.
What can we do about it?
Firstly we can make sure we are staying warm. Adjust the heating so that it comes on just before you wake up. Wrap up warm when going outside. Cosy socks are great when the temperature drops at night, especially as body heat is lost quickest from the head and feet.
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the smell of the air, the leaves changing colour and its the season of comfort food. Stews, casseroles, soup, I love them all! Its important to make sure we are getting enough nutrients and with a stew, soup or casserole you can throw pretty much any combination of protein, carbs and veg in and it will taste great. I recently bought a soup maker, so I’m experimenting with different recipes. I’ll post a few once I’ve got the hang of it!
Boost your immune system
This is something I discovered last year and it really worked for me. I work with children and used to be constantly picking up colds, coughs and flu, kids love to share… It used to start around this time of year and then I would be catching something on and off until the warmer weather arrived. Which in the UK is very unpredictable! Last year I was looking at ways to strengthen my immune system when I came across Sambucol black elderberry liquid. It helps support the immune system and it tastes really good too! I take two teaspoons a day for the first few days, then drop down to one teaspoon a day so that the bottle lasts longer. Apart from a couple of sniffles, I didn’t have any major colds, coughs or flu last year and I believe Sambucol was a part of that. I bought the pack of 3 below as that seemed to give the best value.
*Please note the link below is an affiliate link of a product I have purchased and use myself. Any purchases made through the link will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Educating Hayley.*
Those are the three major things I am doing to help myself stay well over the colder months. Do you have a self care plan or any tips and tricks to stay well? Let me know below.