Tips For Better Sleep

What is Relaxation Massage & How Can It Help You Sleep Better?

December 22, 2023   By JM Carpiso
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A relaxation massage is a relaxation technique that has aided humans to sleep for centuries now. This type of massage uses flowing movements and eases stress and pain. By getting a relaxation massage, our bodies go into a state of relaxation and thus we tend to doze off. 

We generally fall asleep while getting a therapeutic massage because we get into a zone of being highly relaxed. This decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Our breathing slows as well as our heart rates because of this hormone reduction. 

On the other hand, our dopamine and serotonin levels increase because of getting a massage. Dopamine helps with relaxation, mood regulation and giving you pleasure. Serotonin on the other hand regulates sleep and mood and also is a precursor for Melatonin. Together, these hormones put us in a state of tranquillity 

A relaxing massage for sleep also regulates heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels by stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system. This switching from our sympathetic nervous system’s heightened alertness to a slower phase can calm our bodies. 

The Calming Power of Touch: Why Do Massages Put You to Sleep?

A woman lying down on her bed.

Getting a good night’s sleep is pretty difficult with the hustle and bustle of modern life. Surprisingly, the solution for improved sleep may lie in getting a massage. A relaxation massage may be the answer to getting your deep and restful sleep.

Here are some points on how a relaxing body massage for sleep can help you get more well-rested.

1. Your Body Simply Relaxes: Your Parasympathetic Nervous System Kicks In

Massage’s gentle strokes and repetitive motions help the parasympathetic nerve system. This leads to a phase that puts the body into a “rest and digest” state. This change reverses the sympathetic nervous system’s activation caused by stress. And because of that a relaxing impact happens which prepares the body for sleep.

2. You Feel Less Stressed Because of The Stress Hormone Reduction

Massage therapy has been demonstrated to lower stress hormone levels such as cortisol. The body becomes more at ease as the stress response decreases. This paves the path for a peaceful sleep.

3. Getting Feel-Good Neurotransmitters

A massage’s healing touch promotes the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These “feel-good” chemicals not only improve your mood but also your health.

You generally feel at ease and calm after a rejuvenating massage.

4. Your Blood Flows Better and Gets More Oxygen

Massage increases blood circulation, supplying oxygen and nutrients to tissues. This also moves waste disposal. This increased circulation helps physical relaxation by lowering tension and making it easier to fall asleep.

5. You Get More of The Sleep Hormone Melatonin via The Relaxing Serotonin Pathway

While not a direct cause, a rise in serotonin during a massage can promote melatonin generation. Serotonin, a precursor to melatonin, regulates the sleep-wake cycle, making your journey into slumber more comfortable.

What to Massage to Sleep?

A woman lying in bed with her head covered with a quilt smiling.

So what part of your body needs pressing and pressure in order for you to have a good night’s rest? Generally, the neck, shoulders, back, specially the lumbar area, the calves and the wrists are good areas to soothe in order to doze off easily.

Here are the best areas to give a massage to sleep well.

1. Your Neck and Shoulders

  • To relieve stress, use soft circular strokes and kneading.
  • Relieving tension in the neck and shoulders can help to relieve stress from daily tasks and encourage relaxation.
  • You basically feel tight in these areas because of a hard day’s work and massaging here can really make you sleep well.

2. Your Forehead and Temples

  • Apply mild pressure in a circular motion with your fingertips.
  • Use a sliding motion on your from the middle of your forehead to your temples.
  • Massaging the forehead and temples can help relieve tension headaches and stress, allowing for a calmer mind.

3. Your Scalp

  • Massage in small circular strokes across your scalp with your fingertips.
  • Scalp massage promotes relaxation by improving blood flow and relieving mental stress.

4. Your Feet

  • Roll a tennis ball under your feet or massage the soles with your hands.
  • You may use your thumb to press on the pressure points of your feet.
  • Because the feet have many pressure points, massaging them can generate relaxation throughout the body, preparing you for sleep.

5. Lower Back

  • Apply mild pressure in a circular motion with your palms.
  • Use your thumbs to press on the bones on your waist.
  • Massaging the lower back relieves lumbar tension, promoting comfort and relaxation.

6. Your Calves

  • Knead and massage your calves with your hands.
  • Releasing calves’ tightness can help reduce restlessness. This can help you sleep more comfortably.

7. Your Hands and Wrists

  • Use circular strokes to gently massage the hands and wrists.
  • Press on the pressure points of your palms.
  • The hands are a great place to soothe the nervous system since they have pressure points related to relaxation.

8. Your Chest

  • Focus on deep, regular breathing while making light strokes across your chest.
  • Chest massages aid in diaphragmatic breathing and foster a peaceful sleep.

These are just a few tips on where to apply pressure and how to do it to promote sleep. 

Do Partner Massages for Better Sleep

A couple lying in bed. The man is covering half is face and the woman is smiling. They have a blanket on.

Getting a massage from a therapist can be truly relaxing. Just one session can make you feel so well that you feel like you’ve slept for hours. However, the price and convenience of booking a session with a therapist can make it difficult to go this route. Of course one can do self massages but if you have a partner, why not enlist them for a relaxation massage for better sleep?

And because having a massage from your partner is one of the best things ever, here are some benefits of getting one in relation to your sleep.

1. Having a Shared Relaxation Experience

A partner massage creates a calming and peaceful vibe for you and your partner. This encourages a shared feeling of relaxation. In addition to the physical advantages, it creates a peaceful energy that supports mutual feelings of calm. Giving each other a massage before bed can help you sleep better.

2. Reducing Stress for the Both of You

Getting a massage from a partner reduces tension for both of you. This results in a good energy exchange. Couples who alternate between massaging each other experience a reduction in stress levels and a greater sense of well-being. When you achieve this, both of you can doze off more easily.

3. Couple Rhythm Syncing

During a massage, partners frequently discover that their natural rhythms coincide, resulting in a peaceful, shared feeling. The couple’s massage experience gains a special dimension from this synchronicity. Being together in a massage helps your body clocks to also be in sync. This in the end helps you sleep together better. 

4.. Release of Oxytocin That Pushes Closeness and Relaxation

The “love hormone,” oxytocin, is released during partner massage, strengthening emotions of security and attachment. The physiological reaction fosters emotional closeness in relationships between couples. This hormone also helps you feel relaxed and induces sleep. 

5. Creating a Pre-Sleep Ritual Together: A Shared Sleep Routine

It becomes a shared pre-sleep ritual when partner massage is incorporated into a sleep schedule. Regular massage therapy strengthens the link between relaxation and massage, which benefits both partners’ quality of sleep.

Partner massages can help with your relaxation and falling into a restful sleep. It connects you well with your partner and helps you feel calm and peaceful. 

Other Great Relaxation Techniques for Sleep

A woman doing the Child's Pose in yoga on a mat.

Aside from having a relaxation massage for sleep, there are other ways to wind down in order to get some decent Zzz’s

Basically, the goal is to put our bodies and our minds in a relaxed state so that we can doze off easily. 

Here are some relaxation techniques that you can use to promote better sleep.

1. Do a 10 Minute Sleep Meditation Before Bed

Meditation even done for just ten minutes before bedtime can work wonders to get you calm and relaxed in order to shorten your sleep onset latency. Simply put this means that you get to doze off faster.

When you meditate, your mind goes into a very calm phase where it leads you into a blissful sleep. A 10 minute sleep meditation if done daily can give you deep and relaxed sleep.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

With the Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) technique, every muscle group from the toes to the head are purposefully tensed and then relaxed after. This increases the awareness of physical sensations. Doing PMR helps to differentiate between tension and relaxation. PMR is also a useful strategy for stress management since it enhances mental health and improves sleep quality.

Adding PMR to a nightly routine is a simple yet powerful way to attain calmness before going to sleep. It is very simple to do. You just need to tense and release a group of muscles starting from your feet all the way to your head.

3. Listening to ambient calming music

Listening to calming music or nature sounds before bedtime is a simple yet effective way to improve your sleep quality. Creating a personalised bedtime playlist of serene nature sounds or music can help you to destress better. 

Incorporating this practice into a bedtime routine can signal to the body that it’s time to wind down, setting the stage for a more restful night. The calming gentle sounds create a conducive atmosphere for sleeping.

4. Drinking Natural Tea for Sleep

Natural sleep aids put into tea such as chamomile, lavender, peppermint and valerian root are known to help in getting restful sleep. Chamomile has apigenin, which has a calming effect. Valerian root on the other hand shortens the time it takes to fall asleep. Peppermint relaxes muscles, and lavender has been linked to reduced anxiety. Incorporating these teas into your bedtime ritual can encourage a pleasant night’s sleep.

5. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing relaxes your body and makes your heart rate lower. It also eases your mind so that you can sleep well.

To do this, start by taking slow, deep breaths. Deeply inhale with your nose, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. This aids in the relaxation of your brain and nerves. By doing so, you increase your serotonin level which leads to better Melatonin production. 

6. Create a Good Sleep Environment

Where you sleep and how it feels affects your sleep quality. A good bed and a cool bedroom can help you feel calm which in turn will make you sleep better. Your bed should not feel hot or lumpy when you sleep and your room should be dark and quiet. By doing this simple step, you can greatly improve your sleep.

7. Aromatherapy

Scents play a big role in relaxation. It is one of the oldest ways to achieve a tranquil vibe. Lavender and chamomile can help induce sleep. Bergamot has a citrus aroma that is commonly used to relieve stress and anxiety, making it an excellent choice for creating a tranquil environment before bedtime. Sandalwood’s warm and woody aroma is said to offer soothing qualities that make you doze off better.

Among these scents, lavender is known to be the best to induce sleep.

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Relaxation massage is a therapeutic treatment that goes beyond physical relief, giving significant benefits to help get a good night’s sleep. This calming treatment aids in the release of tension in both the muscles and the mind. As your body enters a state of calmness and tranquillity, stress hormones decrease. Incorporating relaxation massage into your life is an effective way to get a pleasant and refreshing night’s sleep.


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