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An Ultimate Guide to Massage and Sleep — How Does Massage Improve Sleep Quality?

An Ultimate Guide to Massage and Sleep — How Does Massage Improve Sleep Quality?

Have you ever drifted to your dreamland while getting a massage from a professional? Yes, of course, most of us have experienced this soothing feeling. Also, kneading of shoulders and rubbing of feet brings a comfy sleep. Most of us find such activities quite relaxing and tend to sleep. 

When our muscles receive a massage, it alleviates their stress and tension, leaving them feeling looser and more at ease. Massage therapy has been used for a very long time to soothe the muscles and relieve stress.

But the question is, how does massage affect sleep quality? If you’re one of those who has experienced that relaxing feeling and are curious to know the science behind it, we are here to soothe your curiosity. This guide will explain how massage improves sleep quality and unravel the top 6 sleep massages. 

So, let’s get started! 

How Does Massage Affect Sleep Quality?

Quality sleep is necessary to live healthily. Insufficient sleep patterns affect mental stability and concentration levels. According to Hopkins Medicine, constant sleep deprivation may raise the risk of dementia, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Massage therapy is a comprehensive approach to health and wellness that can significantly improve sleep quality. It provides relief from pain and stress, improves blood circulation levels, recovers injuries, and uplifts moods.

Massage can significantly improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and physical discomfort, according to studies. It helps combat insomnia (staying asleep or difficulty falling asleep) and other chronic states that impact sleep quality. 

When we receive a massage, our body releases several "feel-good" chemicals, which enhance the quality of our sleep. As per the report, sleeping massage therapy reduces stress levels because it decreases the production of cortisol. 

Also, serotonin and dopamine levels rise; both are neurotransmitters that communicate with the brain to "slow down," and thus, the body enters into a relaxing mode. They also help regulate sleep-wake cycles, leading to better sleep patterns. 

Massage for Insomnia

It is a sleep disorder in which individuals find it difficult to fall asleep or get their sleep after undesired waking. Sleeping massage therapy helps a lot in such a situation. Relaxation techniques force the individual body to relax, fall asleep, and enjoy more comfy sleep.

Massage for Anxiety 

Massage and sleep therapy is effective for individuals who deal with anxiety disorders. Experts say that if anyone is facing high anxiety levels and their brain is not listening to them, then gentle stimulation of the soft muscle tissues will be best for them. Also, massaging on triggering points offers much relaxation and allows individuals to sleep peacefully. 

Massage for Aches and Pains

We all know the effectiveness of massage in getting relief from pain. A massage can lower blood pressure and relieve body aches and pains, such as headaches, low back pain, and chronic muscle tension. This makes a person feel relaxed and allows them to easily fall asleep.  

Massage for Perimenopause

Perimenopause also affects the sleep pattern. The estrogen level during this time keeps fluctuating and makes it hard for people to sleep. Also, many women feel anxiety and depression due to this change and do not sleep well. A sleeping massage can be particularly beneficial in such situations, as it elevates serotonin and dopamine levels, promotes relaxation, and eases sleep. 

Massage for Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are different types of problems that make it hard for people to sleep well. The natural sleep cycle gets disturbed by this and negatively impacts the circadian rhythm, resulting in difficulty falling or staying asleep. 

Massage therapy offers a positive effect as it relieves stress and increases the level of serotonin in the brain. This chemical helps in the production of a sleep hormone named melatonin, which controls the sleep and wake cycles. 

Science Behind Massage and Sleep

Higher Levels of Serotonin

Serotonin has an important role in sound sleep, even though researchers have not published what it does to make people feel asleep or stay asleep. If any medication halts serotonin production in a person, they cannot sleep easily.

The raphe nuclei, part of our brain, use serotonin to send messages about sleepiness. It also helps in the generation of a chemical called melatonin, which is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycles of the body. 

When your body feels sleepy, it starts producing melatonin, and its production decreases when you wake up. Serotonin helps produce sleeping hormones that make us sleep at the right time. 

Stimulation of Vagus Nerve

Along with the serotonin-melatonin connection, sleep massage also helps stimulate the vagus nerve. This vital nerve tells the entire body to relax, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Gut functioning also increases, and facial muscles relax. 

Also, cortisol levels decrease due to stimulation of the vagus nerve. Stress in our body is released due to this hormone. The body becomes stressed when released in high quantities, which can lead to fatigue. 

The body cannot properly rest unless and until its cortisol level is high. Thus, stimulation of the vagus nerves brings cortisol levels down so that the body can rest properly. 

Hyperarousal Intervention

Hyperarousal is a phenomenon in which someone remains "always on." For example, in such a situation, while lying in bed, you will not relax. You will start thinking about all the things that went wrong today and what others will happen tomorrow. 

You're always tense and have trouble relaxing, particularly before bed; this could be a serious issue. It seems as if the mind is constantly buzzing with concerns, which makes it challenging to get to sleep. 

Also, when you cannot relax properly, it results in pain, and the cycle of arousal keeps moving, which generates more stress. So, to break this cycle, sleeping massage comes into play. Massage will keep the body in relaxed mode, increase blood circulation, and send signals to the brain to relax. Regular massage will end the arousal cycle and enhance sleep quality. 

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