Massage & Sleep
As we know, sleep is essential for anyone’s well being. Without sleep, patience wears thin quickly, a fog settles in, and decision making and simple chores can feel impossible. I can personally attest to this, as this past winter, Ethan (my now 10mo old) was a terrible sleeper. I had never felt that kind of fatigue, and I think that is what caused Baby Blues, I could hardly think straight some mornings. No sleep is rough, but what happens when you can’t fall asleep? Or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep? Or you toss and turn all night? That is also harmful, and will contribute to fatigue and overall not performing at your best.
“An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health, often leading to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, higher risk of long-term disease, and substance abuse.”
That is a lot of people! I have had many clients recently that have stated they have some sort of sleep problems. And many of them want to know what can help. And guess what?! Massage helps.
After a one hour massage, a large percentage of clients state that they sleep better than they have in weeks, or months. It never is the primary concern for why they came in for the massage, but helps the condition to get great rest, and is an awesome bonus! In the beginning of my career, I just thought it was a coincidence, but now it happens too regularly for it to be a coincidence.
The National Institutes of Health has advised that massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve sleep and, based on research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association, massage has been shown to improve sleep in infants, children, adults, and the elderly alike, as well as individuals with psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, lower back pain, cerebral palsy, and breast disease.
Anne Williams, director of education, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and author of Spa Bodywork and Teaching Massage, says, “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain.” The chemistry of sleep is relevant in relation to massage because it directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin. A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels.
All of that research alone is great to help you understand why massage can be so powerful for sleep. And check out the next statement about insomnia!
“Massage is a smart, healthy, and drug-free option that has helped many people overcome insomnia. Because melatonin influences the sleep stage of an individual’s circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a positive sleep-inducing option. This connection calls for further research showing the direct effects massage therapy has on serotonin and sleep. In the meantime, the existing evidence is enough to recommend regular massages for sleepless patients.”
So, whether you aren’t getting great deep sleep, or you can’t fall asleep, massage is a super beneficial option.
Beyond massage, I also recommend a couple things to help you fall asleep, and that will help you get a great night’s sleep. These things will help you at home, in between massages.
Magnesium and more specifically Natural Calm. Magnesium is great for muscle health, and also for stress. When I’ve taken Natural Calm, I’ve slept so well, and very deeply. You can find this on Amazon, or if you’re local, my favorite wellness store, Amora Wellness & Gifts also carries this!
Essential Oils, more specifically, Cedarwood and Lavender. Both of these are great for sleep. When I had insomnia while pregnant, Lavender was my best friend for falling asleep. I would put it on my wrists, inhale it deeply, and would fall asleep much more quickly. If you don’t have these essential oils, I have made a sleep spray for you! You can spritz it onto your pillow before going to sleep, and enjoy the benefits! Email me to claim your bottle, they are $10.
Stretching helps to lengthen your muscles, and get them relaxing. Light yoga before bed will help you feel great and get your muscles into a relaxation state.
Meditation is amazing! The first time I tried meditation, I slept more deeply than I had in a long time. And, I’m a great sleeper! If you have trouble falling asleep, I use one of two apps: Calm or Insight Timer. Then I just go on and look for a sleep mediation, press play and fall asleep. Don’t worry about falling asleep during the meditation, I’ve learned that falling asleep during meditation can actually be super beneficial.
There you have it. Imagine if you got a massage and then did these four things, how well you’d sleep?! If you’re a terrible sleeper, you’ve got nothing to lose and energy, patience, a clear brain and less anxiety to gain!
We’re here for you.
Kibler, Kray. “Massage Therapy for a Better Night's Sleep.” Sleep Review, 23 May 2014, www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/05/massage-therapy-sleep/.