Did you know that you can use a foam roller like the TriggerPoint GRID to improve your sleep quality? No, it’s not by cuddling one at night, but actually by using it as a self-massage tool for self-myofascial release. Regular use of a GRID, especially close to bed time, helps you sleep better in two distinct yet complimentary manners.
Have you ever fallen asleep in the middle of a massage? If you have, then like me you know firsthand how relaxing a massage can be. Especially when you are stressed and not sleeping enough a massage can very quickly send you to sleep. It does this because the stimulation triggers a relaxation effect, not only in the muscles worked but globally through your whole body. This global effect means that it does not matter which muscles are worked, so much as the quantity and the length of time; the more muscles and the slower you go the better. Now as nice as getting massaged to sleep in your own bed each night may sound it is not really a practical idea, just the price would be prohibitive. Cue the GRID: a self-massage tool. While it won’t be exactly the same as when you are lying on a massage table, you can still aim to recreate that global-relaxation effect by using the GRID to do a short whole body SMFR routine right after brushing our teeth each night, stopping short of actually falling asleep so you can still get into bed.
The other way is through targeted release. I often have very tight calf muscles, when they are acting up it can be very difficult to get comfortable at night and delays my falling asleep; or when it is particularly bad it has even awoken me in the middle of the night, disrupting my sleep even more. Now while corrective exercises to remove the cause of the tightness would be a longer term solution; regularly using the GRID to target my calves has reduced the tension and pain I feel in my calves considerably. This year my resolution was to use the GRID every day, and my legs have never felt better, except for when I have slacked off and the tension has slowly returned. This has of course made it much easier to find a comfortable spot in bed, and to fall asleep sooner each night. This effect isn’t time sensitive though, the pain reduction was the same whether I did it before bed or early morning.
Now sometimes after a long day I just want to roll right into bed, and I don’t feel like spending 15 minutes on the GRID, even though I know it will improve my sleep. Rather than skip it completely I only target the worst offenders: for me that would be my calves and whatever else is achy that day. The global relaxation effect won’t be as great, but it will still help me feel more comfortable in bed. More importantly by still doing a pre-bed release it reinforces the habit, so on nights when I am not as tired and could use more help falling asleep I still do it.
The GRID is definitely a very cost effective alternative to get daily massages, and a great way to help improve your sleep with the side-effect of feeling more comfortable through the day as well.