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Not sleeping well? Massage might be just the cure.

Massage helps to relax the body and relieve stress. When you get a massage your body releases serotonin which activates your parasympathetic nervous system (this is the feeling of rest and digest) which can promote drowsiness. This is why some people like to have a relaxing massage with slow comforting strokes later in the day so that they can go straight to bed to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.

We all know that sleep is important to function properly. If you are too tired it can be dangerous for you and those around you. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body starts to build up what is called “sleep debt”. Racking up sleep debt is the same as owing your body rest. It can be detrimental to your health to not get enough sleep and it varies from person to person. You can have uncontrolled outbursts, be overemotional, and experience burnout, amongst other health issues. When you sleep your body repairs itself and processes what you have experienced throughout the day while rejuvenating yourself for the next day. Some people need less sleep than others and some people need more, depending on the individual, but a minimum of seven hours is generally recommended.

In 1964, two high school boys decided to do a science fair project on sleep deprivation and its effect on cognitive abilities over their winter break, in the meantime breaking the world record for staying awake. They wound up getting the attention of a sleep researcher by the name of William Dement. At first Randy (the boy staying wake) was fine but then he began to become sensitive to smell and keeping him awake was challenging. They found that keeping him active did help but nig

httime sleeping was difficult. After Randy had broken the record for staying awake, he was sent to a Navy hospital to have his brain waves monitored while he slept to see how his REM (“rapid eye movement”, the part of sleep where you dream) would react to being sleep deprived. He slept for 14 hours and his results were sent to a lab to be studied. It didn’t seem like Randy being awake for 11 days affected him, but he did state later that he started to suffer from unbearable insomnia after the experiment. I DO NOT recommend repeating this experiment. While it did help researchers at the time learn more about the brain, it is not worth the effort and is frowned upon, as a lack of sleep has been shown to have negative effects on recovery and overall health and well-being.

Difficulty sleeping is called “insomnia”. Insomnia is a sleep disorder cause by anxiety, poor sleeping habits, and depression. It can cause you to have a hard time falling asleep, lead you to wake up too early, and may affect your ability to go back to sleep after you have woken up. Massage therapy can help with insomnia by calming your nerves and relaxing your body for sleep. To help you sleep better, it is recommended to get a massage later in the day and then going straight to bed.

Fun fact: Dreams often reveal feelings that we’ve hidden or repressed, because dreams are a reflection of our unconscious mind, our emotional truth.


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