The Importance of Sleep
A good night’s sleep is the first step to having a productive day. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, clumsiness, and difficulty in learning new concepts. It can also cause you to crave fatty and sugary foods, as your brain tries to substitute the energy it was supposed to get from sleep with unhealthy calories.
The National Sleep Foundation explains, "On average, adults should optimally receive between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but those needs vary individually. For example, some people feel best with eight consecutive hours of sleep, while others do well with six to seven hours at night and daytime napping. Some people feel okay when their sleep schedule changes, while others feel very affected by a new schedule or even one night of insufficient sleep.
Here are some statements about your sleep. If these apply to you, it’s a good sign that your sleep is on track. If you’re a shift worker and you don’t agree with many of these, it could mean that you need to make changes in your behaviors and routines to improve your sleep.
- You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down to sleep.
- You regularly sleep a total of seven to nine hours in a 24-hour period.
- While in your bed, your sleep is continuous—you don’t have long periods of lying awake when you wish to be sleeping.
- You wake up feeling refreshed, as if you’ve “filled the tank.”
- You feel alert and are able to be fully productive throughout the waking hours (note, it’s natural for people to feel a dip in alertness during waking hours, but with healthy sleep, alertness returns).
- Your partner or family members do not notice any disturbing or out of the ordinary behavior from you while you sleep, such as snoring, pauses in breathing, restlessness, or otherwise nighttime behaviors."
Sleep deprivation can be the result of many different factors including stress, physical soreness, and hormonal imbalances. There are many prescription and over-the-counter treatment options available to help those suffering from sleep deprivation, but an ancient, more natural remedy can also help; Massage therapy.
Massage and Sleep
Studies have shown that Massage therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety to improve sleep. Massage Therapy can help stimulate the production of oxytocin in the body, a crucial hormone to mental health, as well as the body’s main sleep hormones, melatonin, and serotonin. Massage therapy is shown to potentially decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety to improve sleep quality, likely because of the release of serotonin. If your mind races at bedtime, worrying about everything from your finances to your family, then a massage might be just what you need to calm your thoughts.
Massage Therapy can also increase blood flow to sore muscles and stiff joints, relaxing them to increase flexibility and range of motion. The increased circulation enhances the flow of oxygen throughout the body to help combat pains associated with joint and muscle swelling that can keep you up at night. Additionally, massage therapy can help improve sleeping posture, lower blood pressure, and enhance the immune system.
All too often, those struggling with sleep issues will turn to chemical sleep enhancers like nighttime cold and flu medicine or sleeping pills before considering natural remedies. Massage therapy is a healthy, natural way to enhance sleep quality.
Massage Therapy can help keep you well rested, productive, and happy. Plus it feels great! The only issue...regular massage appointments are EXPENSIVE! If you have trouble sleeping, consider investing in a truMedic personal massager or massage chair to help you save money and relax before bed. Check them out here!
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