We often think of sleep as the foundation of good health. A poor night’s sleep can have a knock-on effect for days to come – impacting your mood, energy levels, and ability to focus. So when the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends we get at least seven hours of sleep, we take note. But what happens when you’re dealing with persistent insomnia? And can massage for insomnia help?
Today, around 50 to 70 million Americans have difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poor quality sleep is linked to a range of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. It’s safe to say we all need to work on our sleep situation, and fast!
It’s easy to believe that you only have insomnia if you’re completely unable to sleep or you lay away for hours on end at night – but that’s not strictly true. In fact, insomnia is declared as a sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, or a blend of both. And we all know just how grouchy and zombie-like we can be after a bad night’s sleep.
Yet, however inconvenient we might find drowsiness, it’s not the lack of vitality that we should all be worried about – it’s the impact on our health. If you do have a chronic illness, working to improve your sleep health and eliminating insomnia entirely could vastly improve your quality of life.
We tend to think of massage as a relaxation-based luxury. But there’s more to massage than meets the eye. It’s a treatment that can heal the body holistically and can work wonders in all areas of your health, from stress relief to pain improvement. And yes, that includes working to improve insomnia too.
It’s thought that massage can aid in reducing pain and anxiety, boost circulation, aid in recovery, and improve your mood. It’s also proven to improve sleep in adults, children, and those with a range of chronic illnesses too. Here are the four ways it can do that.
To start with, massage encourages us to relax. And when we’re relaxed, we have a much higher chance of fighting stress and anxiety. Our breathing slows, our minds quieten, and we can bring ourselves into the present moment. The calmer we are, the more likely we are to switch off at night.
As much as the idea of relaxing can seem like a mindfulness thing, a lot of chemistry can happen in the brain here too. Massage releases a range of neurotransmitters – one of the most important being serotonin, a chemical that communicates with your nerve cells and can stimulate sleep. It also awakens the parasympathetic nervous system (which encourages relaxation in the body) and melatonin, mostly known as the sleep hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
When you think about it, how likely are you to slip into a slumber if you’re dealing with discomfort? Whether that’s Restless Legs Syndrome, a sporting injury, or something else entirely, using massage to elevate your pain and make you more comfortable in the evenings will always be a winning factor when it comes to falling asleep.
Finally, it’s important to recognize that massage can improve your circulation. Massage promotes blood flow, which then delivers fresh nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and tissues. Ultimately, this promotes healing, reduces pain, and promotes relaxation in the body. And what could be a better cocktail to induce sleep?
With the proven benefits of massage for insomnia, welcoming it into your evening routine might just work for you. Whether you opt for self-massage or go for trigger-point acupressure with our FDA-approved CERAGEM V6, sending yourself into a sound slumber with massage could be exactly what your wellness routine is missing.
Grace Olivia Parry is a London-based writer with a penchant for Paris, good food, and fitness. When she’s not writing about the finer things in life, she’s cooking, practicing pilates, or planning her next trip.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine Sleep Education – Sleep FAQs
American Massage Therapy Association – Massage Therapy Can Help Improve Sleep
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Sleep and Sleep Disorders
Mayo Clinic – Insomnia
Sleep.com – Why Does A Massage Make You Sleepy?
Live Science – Does Massage Help Circulation?