People who don’t get enough high-quality rest understand these things about inadequate sleep:
- Lack of sleep is debilitating.
- It has major negative implications for mood and day-to-day happiness.
- There is no quick fix.
Lack of sleep can have devastating effects.
The notion of a “sleep debt” or “sleep deficit” accumulating and impacting physical and mental health is well documented and understood by those who have studied sleep. Sleep debt is particularly dangerous and risky for people who go long stretches without a good night’s sleep.
Perhaps you recognize some of these common signs of sleep debt in your own life:
- Daytime fatigue
- An inability to focus and trouble processing and storing new information
- Fighting to stay awake while driving
- Frequent illnesses
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Decreased physical coordination
- Problems with relationships
- Inability to stay awake during activities that are normally interesting to you
- Weight gain
The combination of these and other issues caused by lack of sleep can adversely affect your quality of life. If you’re like many others, you will go to great lengths to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Sleep affects mood, happiness, and life’s pleasures.
As the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School states, “You probably know firsthand that sleep affects mood. After a sleepless night, you may be more irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to stress. Once you sleep well, your mood often returns to normal.” And that statement applies to just one sleepless night. Being deficient in sleep quantity or quality regularly puts your overall happiness and joy in life at risk.
Improving poor sleep quality is challenging.
People with insomnia know there is no quick fix for sleep difficulties. Good “sleep hygiene” is crucial, but it doesn’t necessarily provide a complete solution to this complex problem. Medications may help you fall asleep, but they can’t induce the kind of natural, deep, restful sleep your body needs. It takes a comprehensive strategy to achieve better sleep, and massage chairs can be an essential element of that plan.
The Science of Sleep and Massage Therapy
Authorities—from medical websites like HealthCentral to the American Massage Therapy Association—report that massage therapy can help people sleep better. That comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever gone to bed physically and mentally stressed and then contrasted that experience with laying down at night with their body and mind calmed and relaxed.
Clearly, there is a link between getting massages and sleeping better. As healthcare professionals explain, massages are an excellent way to trigger the body’s natural relaxation response. This calming effect includes reducing the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, slowing breathing, and reducing heart rate. In other words, relaxation is more than just a state of mind. Massage results in physiological changes that, in turn, may deliver better, more restorative, and healthier sleep.
Consistent use of a high-quality massage chair may be one way to help YOU improve your sleep. If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling to get the sleep you need, the science shared above offers hope.
Massage Chairs and Sleep: How To Get Better Rest
With regular use of a massage chair, sleep quantity and quality can improve significantly. Here’s how a massage chair might help you:
- Increase Relaxation. Relaxing helps you sleep, and few experiences can match the relaxation a massage chair delivers—especially one placed in a bedroom or other calm room in your home.
- Provide Relief from Aches and Pain. It is hard to sleep when you are hurting. Massage chairs can reduce aches and pains, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Reduce Stiffness. Even if you are not experiencing pain in your muscles, tightness and stiffness (from sitting at a desk all day, for example) can inhibit sleep. An evening massage can loosen your muscles for better rest.
- Create a Routine. Sleep experts recommend that people with insomnia develop a bedtime routine and follow it each night. This helps the body recognize that it is time to “power down.” A gentle nightly massage can be the cornerstone of your ritual.
Not surprisingly, pre-bedtime massages are most effective when enjoyed consistently. That is why having a massage chair in your home is essential. Scheduling the occasional late-day visit to a massage therapist will not deliver the benefits of nightly sessions in your massage chair.
Plus, a certain amount of stress is associated with making the trek home after a massage therapy session. When you own a massage chair, you can complete a session and climb into bed immediately.
Massages To Help You Sleep Soundly in Bed
It is important to note that sleeping in a massage chair is not the goal or the way to achieve the best results. As we explain in Can You Sleep in a Massage Chair?, it isn’t harmful to doze off during a massage, but massage chairs are not designed for a full night’s sleep. You will get the most benefit from a massage chair by enjoying some gentle bodywork and then laying down in your bed.
One reason is the concept of sleep pressure. It is a drive for sleep that gets stronger the longer we are awake and then declines as we sleep. In many cases, people who fall asleep on the couch and then move to their bed later in the night and can’t get back to sleep are experiencing the consequences of decreased sleep pressure. The same thing can occur if you allow yourself to spend part of your night in your massage chair.
Another consideration is the “portability” of any sleep improvements you get from your massage chair. If it becomes your habit to spend some or all of your night in your chair, you may struggle to sleep in settings where no chair is available, such as on vacation or when visiting friends or family.
So, it is recommended that you use your massage chair to prepare yourself for slumber and then spend a restful night in your bed.
Other Proven Tactics for Better Sleep
As beneficial as massage chairs are for getting more and deeper sleep, using yours regularly should be part of a comprehensive strategy. Other actions you should take include:
- Learn about and practice good sleep hygiene. This includes sleeping in a dark, quiet, comfortably cool room equipped with good pillows, a supportive mattress, etc.
- Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day helps your body establish a strong sleep rhythm. Note that this includes weekends. Staying up later and sleeping later on weekends, as many people like to do, will adversely affect your sleep throughout the week.
- Get exercise during the day. Expending energy during the day can help you sleep better at night. Just be sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, as that can make it hard to fall asleep.
- Minimize (or eliminate) daytime napping. If you struggle to sleep, you may feel like you need to nap just to have the energy required to make it through the day. However, the more you sleep during the daylight hours, the harder it will be to sleep at night. Ideally, you should phase out napping.
- Take action to address your stressors. As much as possible, address and get closure on the things that cause you stress. This might be having difficult conversations, prioritizing tasks, tidying your bedroom or home, etc. You might also jot down stressful thoughts before getting into bed to “offload” them until you can deal with them the next day.
- Use relaxation techniques. Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, and other practices can help you wind down at the end of a busy day.
- Use your bed for sleep and intimacy only. Other activities (reading, watching TV, using a computer, etc.) can confuse your body and mind about what takes place in bed.
- Avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine before bed. Some people find that a full stomach and a little alcohol make them feel drowsy, but that effect is temporary and not conducive to a good night’s sleep. And caffeine is a no-no for obvious reasons.
Learn About Massage Chairs in a Stress-Free Environment
If you want better sleep and a massage chair will be part of your strategy, we can help you understand your options. Furniture For Life showrooms are relaxed environments where you can get patient, no-pressure assistance from knowledgeable and helpful Comfort Consultants as you “test drive” our exceptional collection of The World’s Best Massage Chairs®.
Find the Furniture For Life location nearest you and stop by today.