How Massage Therapy Promotes Better Sleep

sleepy-catWhen’s the last time you can recall getting a good night’s sleep? More often than not, we find that it is harder to achieve (and if you have recently, good for you!).

A lack of sleep can cause a lot more damage than a few yawns the next day. When we don’t sleep we become less alert, with lower reaction times. We have a tendency to eat more. Long-term affects include increased blood pressure and risk for obesity and diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome.”

A study published in the August 2010 issue of the Sleep journal showed participants who slept less than five hours a day (including naps) were two times higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those who slept seven hours per day.

Massage Therapy and Sleep

Sleep helps maintain a healthy body. It is when our mind gets to clean out the clutter and organize our memories. It reduces stress, improves memory, prevents depression, promotes weight loss, and reduces inflammation. It is common that massage therapy and bodywork has been associated to promote relaxation, but there have also been several studies to show the correlation between regular massage therapy and sleep.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, one study focused on how massage therapy benefits those with lower back pain and sleep disturbances. The study was comprised of 30 adults with low back pain and sleep deprivation with a duration of at least six months. They were all randomly assigned to massage or relaxation therapy for 30-minute sessions, twice a week for five weeks. The study found the massage therapy group experienced less pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance.

Ways to Get a Good Night’s Rest

Some tips to help you wind down at night:

  • Take a bath before going to bed – the temperature change can lower blood temperature and relax your mind
  • If you’ve got a lot on your mind, write about it in a journal to unwind
  • Don’t watch TV or check your email one hour before going to bed
  • Don’t sleep with electronics – they can distract you and rob you of sleep
  • Have warm herbal (or caffeine-free) tea before going to bed
  • Skip the heavy carbs and sugar as a midnight snack

In addition to these tips above, receiving massage therapy and bodywork more frequently can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve relaxation and circulation. All of which can help you get the sleep you deserve. If you have any more questions about how massage therapy can help or to make an appointment, give me a call.

Photo credit: visualpanic / / CC BY

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