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How can massage help with sleep?

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Catch some zzzz with the help of a good massage.

Can’t sleep? It’s one of the universal bugbears of modern life. We’re all so busy (and, it seems, permanently hooked up to some form of electronic device!) that switching off at the end of the day can be quite a mission.

A good old-fashioned massage, however, is one tried and tested method that helps promote healthy, restful sleep – and it’s to do with a lot more than simply chilling you out a bit.

We all need sleep to keep our immune system at the top of its game. So when you’re sleep-deprived (City workers, new mums, hello there!), your health truly suffers.

Those of us struggling to get some shut-eye and sleeping six hours or less a night have up to 50% more cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies than those who sleep blissfully for seven hours or more.

Those raised cortisol levels are the bad guys. They lead to increased hunger, blood sugar highs, greater abdominal fat, tiredness and depression – but massage has been shown to bring the level of cortisol hormone exposure down.

Massage therapist Barbara Scott explains just how it can help: ‘Essentially, as well as promoting a deep state of relaxation (which in turn helps the body become more ‘open’ to sleep), massage increases your level of serotonin.

‘Serotonin in turn promotes the production of melatonin in our system – a known, natural sleep aid – and helps us reset our important circadian rhythms. If these are off-balance, sleep is going to be hard to come by! It’s a delicate balance, and if it’s slightly off, you can expect many more sleepless nights.’

Barbara adds: ‘I have patients who were taking sleeping pills and couldn’t sleep. After making massage a regular thing, they were almost falling asleep during a session! Literally one or two squeezed into your schedule every month can have a very positive outcome.’

So there you have it. Make massage a regular part of your life, and the zzzzs should follow…

 

 

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