Sleep and Massage
We have all experienced nights where we find ourselves lying awake for what seems like hours, trying and trying to relax so that we can drift off into a peaceful sleep to ready ourselves for the next day, without any luck. Sleep disruptions can be caused by several factors including stress, pain, schedule changes and hormonal imbalances. Waiting, unable to sleep knowing how tired and miserable you are going to be in the morning is not only incredibly annoying, but research has also shown insomnia to affect your brain, compromising cognitive function and causing an increase in the probability of anxiety, depression and memory issues to increase.
Sleep provides a vital function in the grow and repair actions of the body. It is essential for good health, recovery from illness and promoting normal metabolism. When people are chronically sleep-deprived, cognitive tasks are unable to be performed to a high standard and the risk of accidents occurring is higher (sleep insufficiency has been linked to increase prevalence of motor accidents and occupational errors). Research has also shown that sleep deprivation may lead to significant health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Whilst nutrition and exercise are often recommended as the foundation of good health, research shows that sleep quality should also be part of holistic treatment, with those getting less than 8 hours sleep per night, experiencing “sleep debt” which cannot be caught up by simply sleeping more another night.
Aside from a one-off bad night sleep, sleep disorders affect many individuals, whether it be insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or narcolepsy; these disorders can vastly affect quality of life, causing loss of concentration and decision-making abilities, emotional instability, irritability, and mood swings for example.
It’s no wonder that individuals who struggle to sleep or suffer from sleep disorders, seek out remedies to counter these effects, but prescription medication is not the only way forward, with massage therapy providing numerous benefits which can really help to improve sleep quality and de-stress. Cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, has been shown to be approximately 50% higher in people who only get 6 hours of sleep per night, so a de-stressing treatment would provide wonderful benefits.
How a Santi massage can help
Whilst there are plenty of medications that can help with sleep problems or disorders, there is always risk involved; both prescription and over the counter medications can have side effects. Massage is an effective, healthy alternative to those wishing to help with sleeping problems and has been shown to be particularly helpful for those who struggle with insomnia.
Sensitivity increasing chemicals are released by the body when there is insufficient sleep. Insomnia is associated with a lack of serotonin, a hormone which plays a role in mood, behaviour, body temperature, coordination, appetite and sleep. Massage can help to increase serotonin levels and therefore reduce feelings of stress and anxiety which can act as precursors to sleep deprivation. These increased levels will also increase the production of anti-pain chemicals to foster a sense of deep well-being. The release of endorphins and serotonin promoted through massage creates a whole-body state of relaxation, which can help you to fall asleep and find a normal sleeping pattern.
Serotonin is also needed for our bodies to produce melatonin. Melatonin influences the sleep stage of our circadian rhythm. Circadian cycles are the internal period rhythms that affect sleep and wakefulness. Over a 24-hour period, these rhythms carry us through the day and allow us to rest at night, so when these are broken or interrupted, feelings of stress and anxiety can ensue. Massage can help to restore balance so the rhythms flow in a more natural pattern.
The National Institutes of Health USA have noted that massage can help to relieve feelings of fatigue, and improve sleep quality, with massage helping to improve sleep in infants, children, adults and elderly as well as individuals who suffer with psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, heart disease, lower back pain and cerebral palsy.
With regular high-quality sleep, the body and mind receive the restorative time and biochemicals needed to strive. The benefits of massage however, do not stop there.
Along with promoting deep sleep, which is where restorative processes occur, therapeutic massage can also help with numerous other areas. Massage has a generalised effect on the autonomic nervous system which can cause changes in mood and induce relaxation. During massage the parasympathetic system is activated which allows your body to relax. This can lead to many health benefits including improved posture, lower blood pressure, muscle relaxation, strengthened immune system and headache relief. Needless to say, this natural insomnia treatment provides you with a tonne of added extras to help make everyday life easier.
Massage is becoming more and more popular and increasingly known for its wonderful healing benefits. It is a brilliant natural remedy for the stresses of everyday life to help promote balance, acting as a healthy and drug-free option to help overcome sleep problems alongside various other health issues. Make massage part of your healthcare routine, alongside the gym and your healthy diet, why not give it a try and enjoy all the benefits at once.
If you are interested in booking a massage or finding out more about how massage can be beneficial to your sleeping pattern, book in with one of our specialist massage therapists here at Santi and begin your journey to a sounder sleep.