Deep tissue to Deep Sleep: Sleep Deprivation and Massage Therapy

Sleep is such a vital part of our health. According to the institute of medicine, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) follows that statement up by stating "Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome.”

If you find yourself tossing and turning or waking up frequently due to muscle pain, incorporating regular massage could be a safe way to improve sleep quality and thereby overall health.  


Massage has many benefits that directly correlate with sleep. Physically, massage works to ease muscle tension and reduce pain. A 60 minute massage will release endorphins and enkephalins which act as the body's natural painkillers by regulating pain transmission to the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and “feel good” hormones. So if soreness or muscle pain and discomfort is preventing you from sleeping soundly, massage will benefit you through this release.

People often lose sleep over stress or anxiety. The psychological or emotional benefits from massage include decreased anxiety by reducing levels of blood lactates and increasing the amount and strength of alpha brain waves that are found with deep relaxation. Massage can also increase mental clarity and promote an overall feeling of well being. When you feel good and are thinking clearly you’ll be able to drift away into a deep sleep, less interrupted by muscle pain which was relieved or reduced during your massage.  

Studies have shown that with regular massage sessions (even as short as 20 minute chair massages) subjects reported less fatigue and lower anxiety or stress. *

Anne Williams, director of education, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and author of Spa Bodywork and Teaching Massage, says, “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain.”   

Don’t let a lack of sleep hold you back in your day to day life or athletic endeavors. Book a massage and experience the benefits for yourself! We can help forge a healthier, well rested, you!  

As always if you have questions about Massage Therapy feel free to give us a call 703-858-2323 or email us at   Thanks for reading!

Sources and supporting articles for those who want to dig deeper into the science of massage and sleep:

* From Tappan’s Handbook of Healing Massage Technique , Benjamin, 2010