Find out more about how regular massage can improve sleep patterns…

A massage is one time in your life when snoring is taken as a compliment! If my client is zzzzzzzing away, then I am doing my job well.

Our bodies have an autonomic system that is made of two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. The parasympathetic system keeps the sympathetic system balanced. When you are stressed the sympathetic system is triggered and you will feel the sensation of fight or flight. The parasympathetic system is activated during a massage and allows your body to slow down and relax. If stress or tension are causes for your sleeplessness you will be relieved to know that one of the benefits of massage is better sleep patterns – hence the zzzzzzzzzzz’s

Sleep is required for the immune system to work at its optimum level. Forget all this macho guff about only needing 4 hours a night, al la Thatcher, most people need 8-9 hours. If the immune system is compromised, the ability of our body to heal itself is also compromised. If we are stressed or sleep deprived, our health is seriously compromised. For those suffering from insomnia, this seemingly endless cycle can cause extreme fatigue, problems with concentration and can adversely affect a your mood and well-being.

Unfortuanlty, most people experience problems sleeping at some point in their life. It’s estimated that a third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia – it tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age.

It’s difficult to define what normal sleep is because everyone is different. Your age, lifestyle, environment and diet all play a part in influencing the amount of sleep you need. But regardless of all of that, a good night sleep is nature’s route to rest and repair.

Top tips to improve your sleep

1. In the hour before bed, turn off those pesky devices and leave them in another room. 

2. If you must have your iPad in bed with you, turn the brightness down. Scientists have found that exposure to the light from self-luminous displays, such as iPads, could be “linked to increased risk for sleep disorders because these devices emit optical radiation at short wavelengths, close to the peak sensitivity of melatonin suppression”. Melatonin is a hormone used by the body as a biological indicator of how dark it is outside. Mess with it, and your body goes haywire.

3. Lack of melanin also comes from a lack of serotonin, our happy hormone. Serotonin plays a role in mood, behavior, body temperature, physical coordination, appetite and sleep. Massage can help improve levels of serotonin, which in turn improves levels of melatonin.

4. Could lack of sleep affect your weight? Getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night is linked with increases in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, decreases in insulin sensitivity (a risk factor for diabetes) and decreases in the hormone leptin (which is key for energy balance and food intake).

5. Calm down… before going to bed try to relax by listening to soothing music such as the one, which transforms your brainwaves from the stressful beta brainwave state to a calm alpha state.

6. Start thinking positively and avoid thinking about the next day activities such as work responsibilities. Keep a ‘three good things’ diary where your last thoughts recognise three good things in your day. We do this as a family so we always end our day, recognising three good things each and it has become a positive habit.

7. Keep away from caffeine products, especially a few hours before you go to

sleep. Hot drinks should be either herbal or oat based.

8. Make sure you have the cosiest clean comfortable bed and pillows in a dark room, which is not too warm. Is you mattress the right one for you? Investment in a decent bed can prove to be the best sleep aid out there!

9. Regular therapeutic massage can aid with relaxing mind and body allowing you to enjoy a calmer state of mind. To get the most benefit from your massage with regards to sleep, it’s best book your appointment as late as possible and to go to bed as soon as you get home.

Email to ask about the evening slots I have available.

Sources

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/reality-check/2012/sep/11/can-tablet-screens-disrupt-sleep

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/sleep-deprivation-obesity-leptin-ghrelin-insulin_n_2007043.html

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