Sleep is essential for our well-being. The importance of sleep can often be overlooked. It is when we rest our bodies and recharge. It could be said that it is as important as nutrition and exercise. Sleep deprivation can impede our ability to function fully and have a negative effect on our overall health. Research indicates that sleep loss impairs your response time, motor ability, visual acuity, memory and attention.
Is Napping a Good Idea?
Naps are generally only acceptable for people who have no difficulty falling asleep or
staying asleep at night. Otherwise, the time you spend napping during the day may take away from your total sleep time at night. The optimal duration for a nap is 10-20 minutes. This is sufficient to feel rested but shouldn’t interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Tips for a Good Night Sleep
• Make sleep a priority. Are you allowing yourself enough time in bed to get the sleep you need?
• Try and keep a regular sleep/wake schedule.
• Establish a good sleep environment with limited distractions (noise, light, temperature).
• Avoid alcohol and nicotine before going to sleep. Consume less or no caffeine.
• Exercise regularly, but do so around midday or early afternoon, not close to your bed-time.
• Avoid heavy meals right before your bedtime. Avoid fluids before going to sleep.
• Establish a regular wake time schedule.
Massage & Sleep
Research is showing that Massage Therapy not only help people get to sleep but also helps them sleep longer. Massage therapy can create a sense of relaxation and induce a parasympathetic response. This allows most clients to sleep well after a treatment.
Massage therapy seems to be remarkably effective in promoting restorative sleep even in difficult circumstances. There are numerous in-hospital studies that show massage therapy has major measurable effects, usually on pain and anxiety, following the promotion of a restorative sleep.
Don’t hesitate to seek medical advice regarding your sleep, including being evaluated for a sleep disorder.
Links to further interesting information about sleep research:
A wake-up call to better sleep - Massage Therapy Canada
A Wake-up Call to Better Sleep, Part 2 - Massage Therapy Canada
Wes Bowers BSc. RMT