02/09/2021 by Michael Fink, CMT
Can Massage Therapy Help Me Sleep Better?
A good night’s sleep is crucial to our wellbeing and our health. If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, then you know that being tired or craving sleep can impact your entire day. You feel drowsy or irritable, your thoughts may be foggy, and you may start to notice a difference in your body as well.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night maybe it’s time you consider massage therapy to help you sleep better.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is such an important part of our wellbeing. While some people need more sleep than others, getting too little sleep is associated with a host of medical issues, and a habit of poor sleep can lead to a decline in your overall health.
The Center for Disease Control has reported that a lack of sleep is associated with a host of medical issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
An ongoing issue with sleep can really start to affect how you feel physically and emotionally, and grow into a larger health issue.
Massage for Better Sleep
Some research is illuminating how massage therapy can benefit people who are having difficulty sleeping. For example, one study followed several people with lower back pain and sleep disturbances. The group that received massages reported feeling less pain, with fewer depression symptoms and improved anxiety and sleep.
This study followed these adults with lower back pain and sleep disturbances for five weeks. Each of the adults chosen for the study had been experiencing lower back pain and related sleep issues for at least six months.
One group received 30-minute massages, two times per week, and the other group received relaxation therapy sessions twice a week for 30 minutes. Each participant filled out a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the trial, and those in the massage group reported benefits in anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. They even showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance.
Slow-Stroke Back Massages for Leukemia Patients
Massage may even help those who are undergoing treatment for leukemia to ease the symptoms they are experiencing --including fatigue and sleep disorders-- when paired with their treatment regimen.
A study published in 2017 followed 60 adult acute leukemia patients and their nurses for four weeks. The patients were broken up into two groups: the control group and the intervention group. The intervention group of patients received slow-stroke back massages 3 times per week for 10 minutes at a time. Both the control group and the intervention group reported their pain, fatigue, and sleep disorder symptoms on a numeric rating scale.
Patients who received slow-stroke back massages three times per week reported feeling less pain and fatigue, and improved sleep quality over time, and even a reduction in the effects of their progressive sleep disorders.
If you are currently in treatment for leukemia or another similar medical condition, regular massages as part of your care plan may leave you feeling less exhausted, and help you get to sleep at night.
Sleep issues will lead you to feel fatigued. Another study followed the effects of massage therapy for patients with poor sleep quality who had also received a coronary artery bypass graft surgery. This study looked at whether massage therapy was an effective way to improve sleep quality for these patients.
The 40 participants in the study were randomly assigned either to a control group or a massage therapy group after they had been released from the ICU. For three nights following their release from intensive care, the participants in the massage therapy group received massage therapy sessions.
Every participant in both the control group and massage therapy group were evaluated the following morning for pain in their back, chest, and shoulders, and also on fatigue and sleep. While both groups reported feeling an improvement in their back, shoulder, and chest pain over the course of the three days, the participants in the massage therapy group also reported fewer complaints of fatigue on the first two days, and more effective sleep throughout the entire study.
I know how much sleep matters, and I’m a firm believer in the benefits of massage therapy for sleep disturbances, sleep disorders, and fatigue. Let’s work together to help you experience the benefits of massage therapy, so you can sleep better at night, and wake up feeling rested, happy, and well the next morning. Contact me today, and let’s set up an appointment.