But before you reach for the sleeping pills, you might want to give yourself – or get someone else to give you – a foot rub.

Reflexologist Michele Stevens tells Healthista that practising a little foot reflexology can help you get a better night's sleep.

Our feet contain 26 bones and over 7,000 nerve endings, called reflexes.

Those reflexes are linked to every organ in our bodies.

What is reflexology?

It's based on the theory that by applying gentle pressure to certain reflex points on the foot, you can stimulate the nervous system and open up energy pathways that may be blocked or congested.

Reflexology aims to restore the body's natural balance.

Our feet take a pounding every single day – often we just take them for granted. But that pressure is felt throughout the body and it's only when they start to ache that we bother seeing to them.

But actually, a lot of tension is held and felt in the feet.

How to massage your feet for better sleep

Michele recommends five self-massage techniques for tackling sleep problems:

1. Pineal Gland: using the finger and thumb, press and hold the top of your big toe for a few seconds. Make small circular moves with your index finger on the tip of the toe.

The pineal gland is a small gland located in the brain that helps to regulate hormones, one of which is called melatonin.

That's the hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns.
2. Head/Brain: using the thumb, press and rub up and down along the whole of the big toe at least three times.

Working this point will help calm the mind and clear the head.

3. Lung: using the thumb, press upwards along the middle top half of your sole, towards the toes.

Do that a few times.

This will help with relaxation and encourages deeper breathing, thereby increasing the oxygen distribution around the body.

4. Diaphragm: using the thumb, work across the middle of the foot three times – kneading it with your thumb.

Working this point helps to release tension held in the whole body.

5. Solar Plexus: using the thumb, press and circle in the middle of your foot.

Take deep breaths while working this point.

Taking deep breaths helps with relaxation and helps with settling the mind and body.

And if you don't like having your feet touched, you don't have to worry.

Michele has previously created a guide for encouraging sleep via hand massage.

So if you are struggling to get to sleep, or simply want to relax a little, then give yourself a little massage this weekend.

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