Is Massage Good For Insomnia?

by MassageJoy - March 14, 2019

Insomnia is by far the most common sleep specific disorder. In fact, sleep statistics tell us that 30% of adults have reported short term sleep disorders and 10% of adults have reported chronic insomnia. Given a large number of people suffer from Insomnia, especially in a city like London, we at MassageJoy do get almost daily requests for massage therapy to help deal with insomnia.

So, is massage good for insomnia? Massage can help overcome insomnia by directly affecting the hormones that cause insomnia. Massage reduces cortisol by almost 30% and increases the secretion of serotonin and melatonin in the body. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle and the natural production of melatonin eliminates insomnia

In this article I will take a deeper look at the causes of insomnia and suggest massages and essential oils you can use at home to get rid of insomnia and to get better sleep. I will also explore how massage therapy directly combats insomnia. Finally, I will suggest simple precautions you can take and hacks for better sleep.

How Does Massage Help Overcome Insomnia

Woman Sleeping

Research has shown that massage therapy can help eliminate sleep disturbances. Massage can help you sleep better, with fewer disturbances and can even eliminate insomnia. The effect of massage therapy to aid in better sleep is two fold.

Firstly, specific massage modalities have the effect of relaxing the body. A Swedish massage, which is characterized by long sweeping light strokes, is ideal for relaxation. As the body relaxes, your stress levels are reduced. This has the direct effect of reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, levels in your body.

Secondly, massage aids in the secretion of serotonin, a chemical that has the effect of increasing feelings of well being and happiness. The secretion of serotonin increases the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

In effect, a relaxing massage increases the immediate production of melatonin which leads to better sleep quality and has the effect of eliminating insomnia.

However not all massage modalities are ideal to overcome insomnia. Massage modalities incorporating long, flowing, gentle strokes work best. Whereas massage modalities like Deep Tissue massage or Sports massage will have the counter effect as they will stimulate the body rather than relax it.

In fact, some massage therapists have designed their own sequences for sleep massage. At MassageJoy we do offer a special sleep massage designed to improve your sleep quality. The massage is designed incorporating long, smooth, flowing strokes along the back using a special essential oil blend.

Precautions For Insomnia


Although Insomnia affects roughly 30% of the adult population, there is no clear indication of when you are suffering from insomnia. Some people function perfectly well with just 4-5 hours of sleep. Ideally, you are expected to sleep for 7-8 hours a night, but if you are sleeping lesser hours than that it does not automatically mean that you are suffering from Insomnia.

Typically people sleep longer than they think. However if you wake up even for a minute or two during the night it can make you feel like you have had disturbed sleep.

However, if you are continually worried that you are not getting enough sleep, you feel tired all day and are mentally not alert then it is a sure sign that you are not getting enough sleep and could be suffering from insomnia.


Insomnia due to bad habits
Insomnia due to bad habits

The precautions for insomniacs depends on the cause of lack of sleep. Insomnia can be caused by:

  • Pain
  • Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Diet
  • Stimulants
  • Insufficient food

Removal of the cause will immediately have a positive effect on your sleep quality. For example, if you wake up often at night to pass urine then you will need to reduce the amount of fluids you drink. Similarly, fatigue is caused by working late into the night, and even reading can cause over stimulation which will lead to insomnia.

These are some of the precautions you can take to improve your sleep quality and eliminate insomnia:

  • Don’t drink tea past 4 PM if you go to bed at 10 PM. Tea is a stimulant and should be avoided
  • Prior to bedtime avoid over stimulating mental activity. Even reading can be over stimulating and lead to a lack of sleep
  • Do not work late nights
  • Exercise and get regular massages to combat any anxiety or stress you might have
  • Listen to relaxing music before you settle into bed. I usually ask Alexa (Amazon echo) to play babbling brook sounds as I settle into bed
  • Change your bedside table lamp light bulb to a low voltage soothing coloured one. A light shade of pink or green will work great. Avoid white, red or blue light bulbs
  • Do not use your laptop or mobile device in bed. The light from the screen negatively affects your sleep quality
  • Ensure your bedroom has good ventilation. Disturbed sleep is often the result of waking up due to stuffiness
  • Have a warm sensuous bath with essential oils before bed. Do not have a cold or hot bath as cold and heat will stimulate your body

Follow these precautions and combine this with the use of essential oils in your bath. This will have a marked positive effect on your sleep quality. You should be able to get Valerian essential oil in any pharmacy or online and you can add 2-3 drops in your daily bath.

Essential Oils For Insomnia

Essential oils do help to improve sleep quality and overcome insomnia. The essential oils can be used in a warm bath before bedtime. You can add 2-3 drops of any of the oils listed below to prepare your warm bath.

Alternately the essential oils can be used in a foot bath before going to sleep. Use no more than 1-2 drops of essential oils for the foot bath. Some essential oils are relaxing only when used in small quantities and become a stimulant when the quantity is exceeded. So when you are dealing with insomnia don’t use more than 2-3 drops of essential oils in a bath.

Additionally, essential oils can be applied directly, in tiny quantities, and gently rubbed on the chest and abdomen. They can be used with a diffuser in the bedroom as well.

Any of the oils listed below will work great to improve sleep quality and eliminate insomnia:

Chamomile RomanNutmeg

Mobile Massage For Insomnia

Now that you know a relaxing massage before bed can help improve your sleep quality and get rid of insomnia, you cannot just go to a massage parlour or spa to get the massage. The aim of sleep massage is to enable you to sleep immediately after/during the massage session

Going to a spa or massage parlour will beat the purpose of getting a massage for insomnia. After the massage, you will have to shower and travel back to your home. During this period all the good effects of increased serotonin and melatonin would have disappeared.

When getting massage therapy to deal with insomnia and lack of sleep consider getting a mobile massage or an at-home massage. In this case, the massage therapist will come to your home for the treatment. And you can even fall asleep during the massage and the therapist will let themselves out once the session has ended.

Related Questions

Why do I feel bad after a massage? After a deep tissue or sports massage, some people might feel nauseous and sick. This is due to the excess lymph that had been accumulated under the skin being moved and the toxins being released. However, If your body feels sore after a massage then it is a sign that your massage therapist is inexperienced

Should you shower after a massage? Showering after a massage is perfectly fine and in fact, it is recommended. The oils and lotions used have most of their effect during the massage. However, if you have received a special massage to deal with insomnia it is suggested that you sleep after/during the massage and not worry about showering