Treatment Tuesday

Why Massage can help improve your sleep

Sleeping pills seem to be given out like candy in our society these days. Pharmacists in Canada can fill as many as 5.6 million prescriptions for sleeping pills in a year. WHOA! Now, this article isn’t suppose to draw emphasis to pharmaceuticals. I threw that number in there just to show how large of a sleeping epidemic were experiencing.

Technology is a large blame as to why we can’t seem to fall asleep. Along with that our society is crippling with anxiety, stress and depression among other mental health issues. Throw in some physical symptoms low back pain, hip pain, headaches, carpal tunnel, neck injuries and BAM, you don’t sleep.

So why Massage? I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “well it feels good during but can it really help me sleep later”? As therapists, we’re trying to do more than just help you in that 60 minute treatment. We’re hoping to increase the long term affects of massage and what they can do for your body.

  1. It helps you relax

Based off of the “flow” (how quickly or slowly your therapist moves over your body) will determine the reaction of your body. If you’re looking to really relax, a slower “flow” is what you’re looking for. This helps calm the CNS (Central Nervous System) and PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) which gives your brain that escape that it needs. A lot of the time, if the flow is slow enough and the pressure is comfortable, you will nod off for a little which is ideal. Increased serotonin levels are also responsible for why a massage feels so good.

2. It helps decrease your pain

This one doesn’t need a lot of explanation as those who get regular massage know how their body feels looser, lengthened and lighter after a massage. Not only will your body feel better but you will be able to have more range of motion and a sense of “calm”, keeping you zen and at ease.
3) A proper pillow is key

When is the last time you changed your pillow? Really though, think about it. If it’s longer than 3-6 months than it’s time to work a new pillow into your budget. If our big ol’ noggin’s are not getting enough support, how can we get comfortable? If your pillow isn’t supporting your head properly we tend to prop our pillow up onto another one, use our arm for support and sometimes not even use a pillow. On Thursday, we will talk about what happens when you don’t have a good, supportive pillow and what happens to your body.

4) Book an Indie Head Massage

What the heck is an Indie Head Massage you say. Only the best way to relax and increase your sleep. We spend 45 minutes working on your face, neck and scalp. This helps release tension in our facial muscles, neck, shoulders, scalp and head. Traditional Indie Head Massage techniques are used during this treatment. Other benefits are that it helps with jaw pain, headaches, hair growth, lymphatic drainage, increase range of motion and an overall relaxation of the nervous system.

5) Helps you be more aware of your breathing

When we take a second to breath through those painful or uncomfortable knots our therapist works on, it’s usually easier to relax so why not apply this technique to sleeping?

Other way’s to help you sleep better

1) What temperature is your thermostat?

The perfect temperature for sleeping is 18.5C. If this sounds too cold, wear warmer PJ’s to bed and throw an extra blanket on.

2) Proper Pillow

You don’t need to spend $200.00 on a new pillow. If you’ve got a spare room or guest room start with switching out your pillow for one of the pillows that isn’t being used regularly. It can save you a could bucks until you need another new pillow. If that isn’t an option, you can really go anywhere and search for the perfect pillow. Keep in mind you don’t want it to be too thin or else it won’t be enough support but you also don’t want it to be too fluffy that your neck is on an incline. Your neck should be in alignment with the pillow.
2) Setting up your environment

What is going on in your bedroom. Is it chaotic with clothes everywhere, things unorganized, closet doors open, a TV on your dresser? Firstly, get rid of that TV they don’t belong in the bedroom. Second, 90 minutes before bed you need to stop using technology. Thirdly, clean your bedroom! A cluttered space is a cluttered mind and this will only become stress inducing every time you walk into your room. Do you also tend to do work in your bedroom or things other than sleeping? Re-wire yourself to only have the bedroom as somewhere you sleep and be intimate with your partner. This allows your brain to recognize that it’s a room only those two things. If we tend to do more than just that in our bed, our bodies can’t recognize that this space is meant for sleeping.

3) Epsom salt bath

Having a 20 minute epsom salt bath can help decrease the tightness throughout your body. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulphate which is a natural muscle relaxant. If you like essential oils you can put in a few drops. Lavender is a common go to but you can also try bergamot, ylang-ylang or sandalwood.

4) Journaling

Take this time to reflect on your day and get your thoughts on paper. After you’ve purged yourself of the day, write 3 things you were grateful for.

5) Meditation, Yoga or Stretching

Either of these methods allows you to get in touch with how your body is feeling and highlights any areas that are tight physically while lengthening them. Meditation highlights a lot of mental strain so allow your thoughts to come and go freely.

6) Breathing Techniques
Place one hand on your belly and one on you chest. Now take a deep breath through your nose, fill up your stomach like a balloon, hold for a moment than let it all out your mouth. While breathing in count to 1 and while breathing out count to 2. Do this all the way until the number 10 and start over. Do this 3 times.

7) Body Exercise

Lay in bed and squeeze your toes relax, than your calves, relax. Do this to all of your major muscle groups and than take a second to be mindful of how your body feels. Repeat this a few more times.

Now get some sleep!