Recently, Blackmores discovered that 65% of Aussies find stress negatively impacts their sleep. Last year, one in five Australians admitted to getting less sleep, because of COVID. We’ve come up with a lot of ways to combat this sleeplessness, including brown noise, stretching, sleeping naked, and — surprisingly — TikTok.
My sleeplessness? It predates COVID — I am a notoriously terrible sleeper. It may be due to my depression, it could be because I’m navigating multiple long-distance friendships and therefore am a bit addicted to my phone, but needless to say, I’m just not very good at it.
And yes, I’ve made attempts to get better sleep — just like two-thirds of Australian who have also invested in products to try and get better sleep, according to Blackmores. Weighted blankets, Headspace, sunrise (and sunset) clocks. I leave no pillow unturned in my quest for better sleep.
Recently, I stumbled across two things that have drastically changed my sleep. One that focused on my mind, the other on my body. These two things improved my sleep; here’s how to improve your sleep.
Soul Alive Meditation
Prior to a five-week session with Soul Alive, I always thought I was one of those people who just couldn’t undertake mindfulness — research says it’s a real thing. I’d find the voices frustrating, I’d get worked up about an obvious loop in the sounds, and my mind could just never stay on task.
I’m not sure what it was about Soul Alive that changed the game for me but change the game it did. Conducted over Instagram Live, the sessions were only 20 minutes in length and were held at 8:30 every night (excluding Friday’s which were at 6:45 am).
Being able to see and talk to the person — Luke McLeod — conducting the sessions helped me. There was someone on the other end who wanted me to meditate better, to improve my sleep, not just a faceless (often monotonous) pre-recorded voice. Also, his voice is just so soothing.
As for how it helped my sleep? Well, studies have shown that mindfulness meditation results in less insomnia, fatigue and depression. Dr Herbert Benson says “Mindfulness meditation is just one of a smorgasbord of techniques that evoke the relaxation response.”
As the weeks went on, my mind got quieter, my breathing got deeper. I found I was getting less stressed, and I knew how to check in with my body more. And, even more importantly, both myself and my dog started falling asleep during the sessions. It was just so relaxing.
Theragun Elite (RED)
You’ve definitely heard of a Theragun by now — it’s the tiptop of the massage gun world. And oh, is it worth it.
Favoured by people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Miranda Kerr, it also has a slew of high-profile investors like Russell Wilson, Rihanna, Daniel Craig, Karlie Kloss — yep, it’s big. Although it’s mainly known for its sporting assistance — training, recovery, injury prevention — it’s also used by medical professionals for pain, injury and ailments. Oh, and yes, it’s also used for sleep.
You might be wondering how a device that massages you out after a strenuous workout can also help you sleep. Well, Therabody decided to put it to the test. They conducted a study where people would use the Theragun before bed.
As for what they found? 87% of users fell asleep faster, 70% had fewer sleep awakenings, and more than half had an improved sleep score over five weeks.
The app, which connects to the gun via Bluetooth, took all the thought and work out for me — all I had to do was run it across various parts of my body. It may seem counterintuitive to use a massage gun only thirty minutes before bed, but it relaxed my body to match the state of my mind.
More than this, I woke up feeling relaxed, pliable, with none of the usual tight muscles and aches that usually accompany me (being in your mid-twenties is hard).
So if you’re wondering how to improve your sleep, look no further than Soul Alive or the Theragun — they honestly helped me and my sleep in a way I haven’t seen in years.