Natural Sleep Aids

Massage and Sleep Disorders

Massage is often used to help babies sleep, and it can be useful in treating sleep disorders in adults. Massage is one of several hands-on strategies known collectively as bodywork. And if you've ever had a good, thorough massage, you know the feeling of being "worked over." But you also know how relaxing it can be.

The benefits of massage are many. It is regularly used in sports clinics and rehabilitation centers to loosen or soothe sore, aching muscles. Massage also helps to reduce stress, improve circulation, release tension, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and possibly even strengthen the immune system. These relaxing effects may therefore make massage a helpful aid in restoring restful sleep. Massage may be especially beneficial in treating sleeping problems that stem from stress, migraine headache, pain, and muscle and joint stiffness.

You might want to spring for a massage from a professional. One session may be all it takes to get you hooked. If you do opt for a professional massage, be sure to tell the practitioner if you have any particular illness or injury that they should be aware of, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

One of the good things about massage, of course, is that you don't have to visit a professional to capture its benefits. You can ask your partner, friend, or family member for a soothing rubdown. You can also give yourself a mini massage, focusing on the muscle groups that are within reach. Using small, circular movements with your fingers and hands, you can massage your scalp, forehead, face, neck and upper shoulders, lower back, arms, legs, and feet. There are also a variety of massaging devices available in various price ranges that can help extend your reach or provide soothing heat as well as relaxing vibrations.

On the next page, learn about how meditation works, along with the benefit of meditation on sleep.

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