Hug for Tracy Maysmith, LMT
MASSAGE THERAPY IMPROVED MY SLEEP PROBLEMS
Insomnia has been termed the great undercover complaint of modern society.
It has triggered massive drug taking and trips to the psychiatrist.*
Aah, blessed relief.
But as they say, no rest for the wicked, and if no sleep is a sign of wickedness, I must be truly wicked (please—don’t go researching this statement—)
Sleep has eluded me for years. I would fall asleep and exactly two hours later be wide awake and alert, unable to return to sleep for several hours. I rarely slept moer than 4-5 hours a night. Sleep deprivation was a way of life. I was always tired.
I could understand it happening during the years I lead an extremely stressful life, on duty 24/7 for the Family Support Program and freelance newspaper coverage. Dealing with adults healing from childhood abuse. Suicidal persons. Family crisis meetings. Family Support Group meetings, trainings, etc. Walking through corn fields in the wee hours of the morning to cover a fire.
No wonder I had trouble sleeping then.
But what about after retirement from those activities? Life should be more restful. Or so I thought.
I acquired my seventh or eighth life focus—writing. I began a blog and a novel. No more of this stressful 24/7 lifestyle.
The sleep problem persisted.
I tried everything.
- Exercise is touted to be the solution
But my body mimics my personality contrariness. The more I exercise, the less I sleep. It doesn’t matter that I follow all the guidance—don’t exercise before bed, for example. Then one night I exercised before bed. And slept like a baby. But it didn’t last. No amount, type, or consistency of exercise helped me sleep. In fact, the more I exercised the less sleep I got.
- Slow down at night. I slowed down. Relaxed after 8:30 p. m.. Had a cup of tea. Watched a favorite program or read an interesting magazine or novel.
Still, no sleep.
- In desperation I went for a sleep apnea study, after which I tried to sleep with the mask that enabled my body to absorb more oxygen during sleep.
It was uncomfortable. I found it not only didn’t help my sleeplessness, it magnified it. If I could sleep, I still woke after two hours, or often less. No change there.
I gave it up. I have no intention of returning to wearing that contraption, even though a recent newspaper headline read New sleep apnea masks softer, lighter. Reading the article won’t entice me back into being a sleep apnea mask-wearer.
- Sometimes a glass of wine a half hour before bedtime helped. However, most often I still woke up on my two-hour schedule.
My daughter convinced me to accompany her for a massage. Reluctantly I went—after all, it was an opportunity to have lunch together after our appointments. And I discovered a massage felt good. We went for massages on an irregular time schedule.
Several months later it dawned on me: I’m sleeping through the night, not awakening in two hours. If I needed to wake up during the night I was able to fall asleep quickly. Not only that, I was enjoying an afternoon siesta.
There was a long span when I didn’t continue the massage. I noticed I was awakening more during the night, returning to my former sleep pattern.
I restarted the massage, and my sleep pattern improved. I became a guinea pig for Tracy when she needed to practice deep massage. My improved sleep pattern continued.
I can only contribute the cessation of my years-long sleep-shortage to my massage sessions. It is the only life-style change before the problem became resolved.
For those with sleep problems I recommend trying massage therapy from a qualified person.
I extend my appreciation to Tracy Maysmith, LMT, Ligonier, owner of A Kneaded Rest in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
*Ligonier Echo, 10-29-09 orig published Oct 31, 1984
New sleep apnea masks softer, lighter Tribune Review, June 29, 2013, pp B7