We need adequate amounts of deep, restful sleep for our health, wellness and healing. There are numerous studies on how lack of adequate sleep detrimentally affects our health from our immune system, to our cardiovascular system, to our brain functions and more.
Many of us are on the go all the time and we do not take the time or make the time for relaxation. This is why so many have a hard time sleeping well.
I think most of us know how much better we feel after a good nights sleep. We have more energy, our brain feels more clear, we get sick less often, we are calmer and happier.
Why Massage For Improved Sleep
- Pain relief-When muscles are sore and tight it or fascia is contracted it makes it harder to sleep. Massage and body work help with muscular and fascial relaxation.
- Stress Reduction-Chronic pain can cause stress so decreasing chronic pain with regular massage/bodywork, myofascial release can help decrease stress.
- Decreased Inflammation-Pain and stress can increase inflammation which affects sleeping. Massage/bodywork helps to reduce inflammation by decreasing pain, stress and helping with injury recovery.
- Injury recovery-If there is an injury, massage can help with that healing process and thus help decrease pain and stress which can often times help with better sleep.
- Relaxation- With less pain, injury and stress it makes it much easier to relax and sleep better.
Massage therapy can help decrease chronic pain causing chemicals that are in the body when we sleep to due to injury, inflammation, stress and even anxiety and/or depression.
All the above factors can affect sleep.
Massage therapy counters the pain causing chemicals with the release of a natural pain reliever, serotonin.
Massage/bodywork can also have a calming soothing affect on the body which helps activate our parasympathetic nervous system which is the rest and digest part of our nervous system. When this nervous system is activated our heart rate beats slower, our digestion improves, muscles relax and blood vessels dilate.
Because so many people are stressed out, having a deep restful sleep requires more than just massage. Massage helps the body remember to rest and to relax but it's also important to include other ways at home to decrease stress and increase self relaxation for help in sleeping better.
Others Ways Besides Massage That Can Help With Getting Deep, Restful Sleep.
- If you drink caffeine, stop drinking it or limit the amount of caffeine intake especially at night
- Self massage
- At night, turn off your phone, your computer to decompress
- Self relaxation techniques like meditation or meditative yoga
- Listening to relaxing music
However, it's also very important to allow yourself down time, to relax and let go of stress in others ways as well so that you can be even healthier.
- www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8621064Cohen S, et al. Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, Arch of Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12; 169 (1):62-67.
- Meier-Ewert HK, et al. Effect of Sleep Loss on C-reactive Protein, an Inflammatory Marker of Cardiovascular Risk, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Feb 18; 43(4): 678-8
- Gottlieb DJ, et al. Association of Sleep Time with Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Archives of Internal Medicine. 2005 Apr 25; 165(8): 863.
- Adverse effects of modest sleep restriction on sleepiness, performance, and inflammatory cytokines. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 May;89(5):2119-26
- Partial night sleep deprivation reduces natural killer and cellular immune responses in humans. FASEB J. 1996 Apr;10(5):643-53