Recommendations for a Restful Night’s Sleep

Recommendations for a Restful Night’s Sleep

*No information on this site should be misconstrued as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or another medical professional before implementing changes to your diet or daily routine. All information is for use at your own risk. Alyson Schlobohm nor Alyson Schlobohm Massage LLC is responsible for any injuries or illness that arise due to your use of the information provided.* 

Getting a good night’s sleep is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. As a child, my family nicknamed me “wiggle worm” because I tossed and turned so much while I slept and, unfortunately, that is something I never grew out of.

As I got older, my sleep became more and more restless. I wake up constantly throughout the night and will occasionally have a hard time going back to sleep. I’m currently battling with headaches from clenching my jaw throughout the night (something that is commonly referred to as “TMJD” [temporomandibular joint disorder]). Mouthguards don’t help because I hate them, spit them out in the middle of the night, then accuse my cat of stealing them before I find it on the floor beside my bed.

In the past I’ve tried melatonin and valerian root to help me sleep better. Both helped a little but the more I used them the less effective they became. Plus, valerian root stinks to high heaven so keeping it on my nightstand was not ideal.

I’ve also tried many expensive, gimmicky items (I do love a good gimmick), but below is a comprehensive list of the best remedies I have found for a good, restful night’s sleep.
(And for all of you Type A folks like myself, don’t let this list overwhelm you!

Implement a few items at a time. Start with the ones that jump out to you the most. And who knows, maybe a few of the suggestions is all you that you need to get a good night’s sleep – lucky dog!)

Recommendations for a Restful Night’s Sleep

  1. Avoid exercising, eating late, or doing chores too close to your bedtime. Your body and your mind need time to wind down after a long day. Try to sit and relax about an hour before you head to bed.
  2. Head to your bed well before your desired “sleep time”. If your goal is to be asleep by 11pm in order to get your 8 hours (or whatever your desired sleep number is), plan on heading to bed by 10-10:30 at the latest!
    • Take a book or a magazine to help distract your brain from the day’s activities.
  3. Figure out what’s best for you to sleep in – even consider sleeping in the nude!
    • If you wake up tangled in heaps of clothing and comforter or suffer from night sweats, heavy flannel pajamas may not be the best option for you! But they might be for someone who gets super chilly at night.
  4. Set your thermostat to range from 65-68 degrees. Think I’m crazy? Read on.
  5. Use blackout curtains on all of your windows.
    • We even painted our bedroom in “Shadow”, Benjamin Moore’s 2017 Color of the Year. It’s a deep purple that almost looks black in some lighting, but it creates a heavenly, dark bedroom that I sometimes refer to as a cave. I wanted as little light or brightness as possible in our bedroom, as you’ll see in the following suggestions.
  6. Turn alarm clocks and electronics away from you to reduce unnecessary light.
  7. Avoid using electronic devices in the bedroom.
    • This includes phones, televisions, tablets, etc.
    • I totally cheat on this one. I do keep my phone on my nightstand because sometimes I get so bored when I wake up in the middle of the night. I also keep my Kindle there and will frequently read.
    • I HIGHLY recommend using any devices like this on the lowest light setting – exhausting your eyes will make your brain want to go back to sleep faster.
  8. Take a super warm bath right before bedtime.
    • And if you really want to indulge yourself, fill the tub with lavender-scented bubble bath and/or Epsom salts.
  9. Speaking of, fill your bedroom with lavender-scented everything! Lavender is said to be one of the best scents to promote sleep.
    • Don’t like lavender? Don’t worry, there are many other essential oils said to promote sleep, such as peppermint, chamomile, among many others. 
  10. Cover all lights from your electronics.
    • I have used towels and washcloths to cover lights, but these little things are brilliant! Who knew?! 
  11. Use white noise machines or really loud air purifiers to block out other noises.
    • This is my go-to for white noise machines, but there are a ton out there to choose from. 
    • I’m not suggesting an air purifier with 5,000 Google reviews talking about how quiet it is – I look for negative reviews stating that the machine is as loud as a train! (Okay, not quite that bad, but again, my goal is to use it to clean the air AND to cover up other general noises.)
  12. Sleep with a tri-core pillow
    1. Not only is it great for your cervical (neck) spine, but it really helps to prevent me from clenching and grinding throughout the night when I manage to stay lying on my back.
  13. Look into Procera Sleep and/or Quietude (I also like all of Procera’s and Quietude’s other products.)
    • Like I said, melatonin and valerian root used to help a little, but these two products really and truly quiet my brain. I was on the verge of begging for an Ambien prescription despite the concern that I would wake up feeling drugged or like I get hit by a bus. These two help me go to sleep and stay asleep and they keep my brain from waking me up in the middle of the night to think about completely unnecessary things.
  14. Make sure your bed is comfortable. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s really important.
    • Is your mattress comfortable and good for your body?
    • Do you have a good pillow?
  15. Do you have sheets that make you want to crawl into bed at night? (This does not have to be a huge investment – my favorite sheets are some of the cheapest on Amazon!) 
  16. Invest in a good comforter. Again, this may not have to be a huge investment. I did invest in a down comforter from The Company Store and this snuggable coverlet from Sunday Citizen, but to each their own.
    • I know for a fact I did not go for the top-of-the-line down comforter, but I did spend a decent amount of money for something I plan on having forever. 

Remedies For Sprains, Strains, Jams and Inflammation

Remedies For Sprains, Strains, Jams and Inflammation

*No information on this site should be misconstrued as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or another medical professional before implementing changes to your diet or daily routine. All information is for use at your own risk. Alyson Schlobohm nor Alyson Schlobohm Massage LLC is responsible for any injuries or illness that arise due to your use of the information provided.* 

A hand injury for a massage therapist is a terrible thing.

A hand injury on the index finger and joint of the dominant hand for a massage therapist during a big move and expansion is a really terrible thing!

For some reason yesterday, 3-4 days after the incident, was the worst of them all. Opening a door with my right hand was impossible, the resistance of a rubber band around my pointer was excruciating and any contact with it was unbearable. (Though I could pick up and move heavy boxes without flinching – it was odd!)

Thankfully, and thanks to the AMAZING guidance to use some magical ointments from Tan-A, cold laser therapy from my chiropractor and my usual go-tos, (see below) today is a MUCH better day! I didn’t wake up in pain all night long, I can open doors and I’m more optimistic that I will be able to take my appointments on Monday. Fingers crossed!

*Update: I was not able to return to work on Monday, as I’d hoped, but I was able to go back on Tuesday and for the rest of the week with a lessened workload. However, I was beyond thrilled with the rapidness at which this painful injury healed! I do also recommend continuing to use these products for a while – I still occasionally feel some residual issues if I move a certain way or use my hand without thinking.*

Items and instructions:


Tiger Balm:


Tieh Yao Gin:…/…/B001VMO6FQ…

For the last two items, “baste” area with Zheng, GENTLY massaging the wounded area, let it dry. Coat with Tieh Yao Gin (TYG), which is brown and sticky, and wrap in gauze. 3 hours later unwrap and baste Zheng again. Repeat as necessary. 

I really recommend buying the last two items locally, the price was $10 more in my Amazon cart than they were at Tan-A Market at the corner of Horsepen and Broad.

A Comprehensive List of My “Musts”

Recommended Items

*No information on this site should be misconstrued as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or another medical professional before implementing changes to your diet or daily routine. All information is for use at your own risk. Alyson Schlobohm nor Alyson Schlobohm Massage LLC is responsible for any injuries or illness that arise due to your use of the information provided.* 

Below is a list of various products, resources and methods that I find incredibly useful in my personal attempt to maintain optimal health.

Typically, massage alone does not relieve your life of pain. Focusing on good posture, correct ergonomics, stretching, a healthy diet, exercise and good mental health are only some of the other factors that determine how much tension each person holds within their body.

Not every treatment or resource is the best choice for each person. Consult with your health care provider before attempting anything listed below. Should you have any adverse reaction to any of the list methods contact your health care provider immediately. No information provided should be mistaken or substituted for professional medical advice.

Click on each item in red to go directly to its corresponding website.


Eat Right for Your Type – An interesting concept about how your blood type should dictate which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing – A great resource for healing and well-being via vitamins and supplements.

Stretching Anatomy – One of my favorite resources for simple, yet effective stretches with great illustrations to help pinpoint the muscles that are causing your pain!


Heather Mazeika Pilates and Active Isolated Stretching. Heather keeps me out of pain. I have always been a strong believer in the power of pilates and I must say that Heather is one of the best – PLUS, she TRULY LISTENS to her clients!


Biofreeze – A topical treatment that helps to soothe muscles and combat muscular tension. I use it on most of my deep-tissue clients to help prevent soreness from the massage as well.

Foam Rollers – Foam Rollers are a great way to practice “self massage” in between your regular sessions. They can be intense since you are using body weight to create pressure so use with caution. Here is a linkto some very thorough instructions on how to use a foam roller. Avoid using foam rollers on your abdominal area and the area in between your ribs and hips where you do not have bony protection for your organs.

*Heating Pad – Back – This heating pad is great for larger areas, such as your upper back.

*Heating Pad – Knee – Self-explanatory! Great for anyone with knee problems!

*Heating Pad – Low Back – This heating pad wraps directly around your lower back, targeting the muscles that are more difficult to target with larger, flat heating pads.

*Heating Pad – Neck – This great, targeted heating pad works on your neck and shoulders. Rotate occasionally to target all sides of your neck, as well as your pectoral and upper arm muscles as well.

**Nature’s Sunshine Products – I use Nature’s Sunshine products as my primary source for supplements, vitamins, herbal remedies, topical treatments and protein powders. Sign up to become a distributor with this multi-level marketing company and order everything at wholesale versus retail costs. It typically costs $40 for you to sign up, but then you get $40 worth of free, quality products. No commitment, no fees. If you do decide to sign up, please do so under my distributor number – 2818610.

Roleo – Great for anyone suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this contraption helps loosen the muscles in your hands and wrists that cause nerve compression.

Thera Cane – A product I recommend to just about everyone! It allows YOU to target those tight muscles in your neck and back with very little effort! Be careful not to overuse this thing, it’s easy to become overzealous and bruise your muscles. I’ve given a dozen out as gifts and typically have them for sale on-site; I’ve never known someone to regret this purchase!

Tri-Core Pillows – Tri-Core pillows “help relieve neck pain and correctly align the spine, while supporting the neck in its natural position.” I can say from personal experience that, while I do not LOVE sleeping with this pillow, it makes a tremendous difference in the amount of tension I feel in my neck and shoulders and it helps me to refrain from clenching my jaw throughout the night. I personally do not use it every single night, only when I am in pain or experiencing discomfort. Also available at

*Heat is great for increasing circulation and loosen tight muscles. However, heat can increaseinflammation; so do NOT use heat if your muscles are inflamed. If you apply heat to your muscles and it starts to feel “wrong” (tightening of your skin, achy, swollen, etc.) remove the heat immediately and apply an ice pack. Ice is a great way to slow or reduce swelling.*

**Consult your nutritionist, dietician or primary health care provider before consuming additional vitamins, supplements or products purchased from Nature’s Sunshine.**


Do Yoga With Me – A wonderful compliment to your daily exercise routine, this website lets you do full yoga classes from the comfort of your own home! You can choose “classes” by length, style, instructor, level, etc. My personal favorites are the classes that focus specifically on the neck and shoulders!– Yet another FREE workout website; Daniel and Kelly truly combine a multitude of exercise types  (Hiit [High Intensity Interval Training], cardio, yoga, pilates, strengthening and conditioning, etc.) to create unique, effective routines. They also work hard to show you low impact, beginner and even more advanced ways to do many of their suggested exercises. – Yet another medical doctor speaking out against big pharmaceuticals and traditional American diet and epidemics. I highly recommend signing up for his daily emails. Backed with research, evidence and opinions from other medical advisors, it’s impossible to get bored with his emails.

World’s Healthiest Foods – A wonderful daily email! The recipes are simple and absolutely wonderful! A lot of times I will browse the daily email and may not follow the recipe exactly but use it as “inspiration” for a creation!

Info for TMJD and Headache Sufferers

Info for TMJD and Headache Sufferers

*No information on this site should be misconstrued as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or another medical professional before implementing changes to your diet or daily routine. All information is for use at your own risk. Alyson Schlobohm nor Alyson Schlobohm Massage LLC is responsible for any injuries or illness that arise due to your use of the information provided.* 

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMJD or TMJ syndrome) is an affliction of the jaw normally caused by clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. TMJD pain is not isolated to the jaw, however. Those who do experience this affliction can end up suffering from overly tight muscles of the neck, back, pectoral muscles and shoulders, they can experience pain in the face and ear and can also begin to suffer from headaches due to the muscular tension.

It’s easy to assume that the head and face work during massage sessions is all about relaxation. However, the reality is that you can hold a tremendous amount of stress in the muscles of the head and the face. Those who clench or grind their teeth can find work around the TMJ to be incredibly intense, but the relief felt afterwards makes it worth it to many.

In addition to mouth guards (normally recommended by your dentist when the TMJD is severe), here are some things that you can do to help alleviate the pain and tension generated by excess usage of the muscles in the TMJ area:

The Real Cause of Your Lower Back Pain and How To Remedy It

The Real Cause of Your Lower Back Pain and How To Remedy It

*No information on this site should be misconstrued as medical advice. Always check with your doctor or another medical professional before implementing changes to your diet or daily routine. All information is for use at your own risk. Alyson Schlobohm nor Alyson Schlobohm Massage LLC is responsible for any injuries or illness that arise due to your use of the information provided.* 

Let’s not beat around the bush: lower back pain SUCKS. Granted, no pain is fun, but when the epicenter of our bodies is in crisis it can be debilitating. It can also refer pain to our neck and shoulders, our glutes, hips, legs and feet; it is, after all, the epicenter of our bodies.

The interesting thing about lower back pain is that, in many cases, your lower back is not the actual source of your problem. So what in the world IS the issue? In the majority of cases that I’ve seen, it’s your GLUTES (more officially: your gluteal muscles).

Any time a new client comes in and tells me they have lower back pain, the first thing I suggest is glute work. Glute work can be incredibly intense but is extremely effective in alleviating lower back pain; people that have walked in, barely unable to stand up straight, will frequently leave feeling like a completely different person after some intense, focused glute work!  

How in the world is our BUTT responsible for so much pain?!

Yes. Put in plain and simple terms, our gluteal muscles are our “butt muscles”. There are actually three gluteus muscles, which are commonly referred to as “glutes”: your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

Beneath these large muscles that make up most of our “butt muscles” are some smaller, yet extremely important and frequently troublesome, external rotators of the hip. The most frequently recognized of these external rotators is the piriformis muscle, which is the cause of piriformis syndrome.

The piriformis muscle can even be a contributor to sciatica, which is very often caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can lead to pain, tingling and numbness down your legs all the way to your feet.

On top of all of this, it is my opinion that the majority of us are not properly taught how to stretch these large, frequently used muscles. If I asked you right now how to stretch your glutes, what would you do? Bend over and touch your toes?

Take a look at the image to your left (or below, if you’re on a mobile device). The large muscles of your legs run parallel to your spine. Your glute muscles, however, run almost completely perpendicular to it; as do those deeper external rotators like your piriformis. So bending over and touching your toes is great for your hamstrings but really does not effectively stretch your glute muscles! (Don’t worry, we’ll address this below.) 

What if my issue is a herniated disc?

While most of us do not want to hear the news that we’re dealing with a herniated or bulging disc in ANY area of our spine (cervical = neck area, thoracic = mid-back, lumbar = low back, sacral or sacrum = gluteal [butt] area), the good news is that the remedies we’re going to discuss can absolutely help pain due to a herniated or bulging disc as well!

Click to download.
Click to download.


  1. Use Heat and Ice. A combination of heat and ice has kept this girl out of the emergency room (long story but the moral is: it works!). I recommend starting with ice to help reduce any swelling or inflammation, then switching to heat to help improve circulation. A simple baggie full of ice and a good, old-fashioned heating pad will suffice!
  2. Use a Foam Roller. Foam rollers are, quite literally, round pieces of foam that you can use to “steamroll” your muscles (mostly the larger muscles). I recommend the traditional 4×12 inch WHITE foam roller. Typically white is low density (but by no means “soft”) and black is high density and hard as a rock. Click here for some simple, but very effective ways to use your foam roller! 
  3. Practice Yoga Stretches and Physical Therapy Exercises DAILY. While I firmly believe that you will get the best experience out of a live session with a GOOD physical therapist or yoga instructor, here are a few excellent yoga and PT-based exercises and stretches that can help tremendously with lower back pain:
  4. Avoid “Repetitive Motions”. Much of our pain is caused by repetitive motion. However, some repetitive motion does not involve movement. Take, for example, sitting at a desk that is not ergonomic to YOUR body for hours upon hours a day – with your hands on the mouse or keyboard. Guess what part of your body that can affect? That’s right, your lower back. Your latissimus dorsi is a large muscle in the lower body that has a lot to do with movement of your shoulder; so sitting with it in a “repetitive” state all day can exacerbate your lower back pain!
  5. Check Your Ergonomics.  Most of us are aware of the fact that our posture is not perfect; but are you aware of how damaging it can be? (Hint: the answer is horribly damaging to your body.) 
  6. MOVE. Humans were not physically designed for the sedentary lifestyle that so many of us lead, whether it’s at work or at home. Prolonged sitting at the aforementioned desks is terrible for us. Going to the gym at the end of the day does NOT undo this; the best thing that you can do for your body is to take frequent breaks throughout your day. Stand up. MOVE. Walk around. A MINIMUM of 5-10 minutes every couple of hours. (I often recommend that folks who can get lost in their work set alarms on their cell phones or computers.)
  7. Consider a Standing Desk. Personally, I think that jumping from sitting all day to standing all day is ineffective. In addition to frequent movement, an ideal situation would be one where you could switch from a sitting to a standing position throughout your workday to avoid repetitive “movement”. 
  8. Try to Get on an Inversion Table. I realize this is a little more unrealistic for the average person, but if you have chronic pain due to spinal stenosis or herniated discs, I cannot encourage you enough to consider an inversion table. There are many other health benefits to inversions, in general! 
  9. Check Your Mattress and/or Your Car. I am SURE that no one wants to hear this one but it is oh, so important… 
  10. Consider “Chemical” Deficiencies. Dehydration, a lack of calcium, magnesium or potassium and other internal factors can also affect our spinal and muscular health. For me, vitamins B6 and B Complex (as much as I hate the smell, taste and, ahem, after effects of the latter) are instrumental in maintaining physical health. Another of my favorite go-to’s is Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Make sure to consult with a medical professional (which I am NOT) before making changes to your diet or daily routine. 

Other Considerations

The last thing that I want to mention concerning lower back is to check your quads (quadricep muscles) and hip flexors.

There is a muscle called the psoas that can wreak havoc on your lower back if it’s out of whack. Psoas stretches are similar to quadriceps stretches, but aren’t exactly the same. This one, for example, is super easy and super effective but does not frequently come up in quad or hip flexor stretch searches. 

Weak abdominal muscles can also play a huge part in lower back pain.

Good luck, I hope this helps!