There are not many things in life that can refresh and rejuvenate your body like a good night’s sleep. But if that’s the thing you aren’t getting – even when you know it’s what you need – it can start to be a real drag…and not just at night time. You may start to feel that drag all through the day interfering with your life, your work, family and friends.
Everybody deserves a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a basic human need.
I think of insomnia like driving your car every day without ever changing the oil, putting air in your tires, or getting any other maintenance done. Sooner or later, you’re going to break down.
One of the things I have noticed as a massage therapist is, clients often sleep better and longer after a massage, than without one. This is due to the many benefit a massage can have on the body besides simple relaxation. Massage can help improve muscle tension, reduce anxiety and depression, improve circulation of blood and lymph, and reduce stress hormones. When designing a massage that will work best for you, I focus on all these benefits to improve your quality of sleep.
At the beginning of my studies, I met a woman who had suffered with an aggressive form of insomnia. On average she would sleep for 90 minutes a night. She felt she had tried everything, from changing her diet to seeing many health professionals. But nothing really changed. I sat down with her and let her talk about what she was experiencing, and this helped me to create a treatment that could possibly work for her.
I spent the next 60 minutes, working on her traps and neck muscles. I worked on reducing the tightness in all the muscles, creating improved blood flow to the brain. Next, I worked with facial massage, releasing the temples and the jaw muscles. Releasing tension in these muscles can work wonders for better sleep. Grinding or clenching your jaw will cause stress to build up on the neck and facial muscles, making sleep harder to achieve.
Finally, I firmly massaged her scalp, this not only feels amazing but has a huge benefit on blood flow, and helps prevent migraines, headaches and back pain. Relieving tension in the upper back, neck and head detoxifies the body and can help improve lymphatic drainage and blood flow to the neck which helps the body get rid of waste products.
A few days later she called me because she not only felt amazing after her massage, but she had gained an extra few hours of sleep on top of her regular 90 minutes. Which is awesome! So, after that initial massage, I saw her at least once a week, to continue with her treatment and improve her sleep quality. After a month of massage, she had gained over six extra hours of sleep on top of her first 90 minutes of sleep.
To be able to help someone who suffered from such an aggressive form of insomnia regain hours of shut eye at night was an incredible feeling and like they say, a night without sleep is like a cupcake without frosting, gross!
It’s safe to say without a good night sleep, even the best of us turn into grumpy two-year-old’s, am I right?