At Loosen Up we often receive questions regarding ideal sleep recommendations; best positions, pillows, mattresses, etc. These are tougher questions to answer than you would think. There are many contributing factors to preferred sleeping position, pillows, and mattresses; previous injuries, room orientation, or sleeping companions. How we sleep is a personal topic and effective tips and tricks vary for each person.
There are several ways that the topic of sleep comes up with our clients here at Loosen Up. Most people are able to experience initial benefits of massage that relieve stress as soon as they’re on our table. Others feel the benefit of a nice nap once they’re on the massage table. And some experience pain relief that allows them to get a better night’s sleep once they leave our table. While massage does not necessarily affect sleep directly, what is keeping us from dozing off can be profoundly influenced by massage.
Research on the subject of how massage therapy may affect our sleep is centered around the idea that a reduction in pain will have a positive effect on our quality of sleep. This concept is one I often review with clients when they inquire about stretching and foam rolling. Like most of our clients, you may have had the experience of laying your head down to fall sleep only to feel aches and pains that you hadn’t noticed earlier in your day. This leads to tossing and turning and having difficulty finding a comfortable position to drift off. But by taking the time to stretch or foam roll before bed, you can create length in soft tissues that may have been tugging at your structure when you initially laid down. And a comfortable sleeping position may be a little easier to find.
Another one of the things I review with every client that comes in with chronic pain issues is the pattern of their sleep hygiene. We may not always think of our sleep as pattern forming, but improper sleeping positions may reinforce some structural tensions, positions such as a pillow being too large or small for the neck, or the lumbar spine being twisted in a side sleeping posture. Many persistent pain issues can actually be resolved by simply introducing a prop to the arms or legs. Setting the intention of resting your body in a supported, safe position can make a big difference on your night’s sleep.
Finally, massage, stretching, and foam rolling (and upper cervical chiropractic work) all have the effect of activating your sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as your “rest and digest” state. The activation of this part of your nervous system stimulates the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that then cause us to go into a calm and relaxed state.
If you struggle with sleep due to aches and pains, you can request a consultation with one of our therapists or schedule an appointment to come in Click Here to make an appointment or Call: (925) 289-9750. Sleep well and we look forward to hearing from you.