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Infrared and Insomnia: Improve Your Sleep

May 11, 2017 by Kara Willingham

Tired? Sleep, one of our most basic human needs, may feel like it’s playing a game of hard-to-get. In the United States alone, there are more than 3 million people suffering from insomnia. This means that you or someone you encounter regularly may not be getting enough sleep! When our sleep patterns are off and we don’t catch enough shut-eye, there is no amount of coffee we can consume to get back on track. You know what happens when you’re overly tired. You feel fatigued, on-edge, unable to concentrate and downright foggy. These feelings, as well as your body’s ability to function are compromised when you have a deficit of ZZZ’s.

What causes sleeplessness? Most cases can be attributed to poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, absence of exercise, chronic illness, medications and stress. While there is not a cure, there are remedies that may help, infrared being one of them. Don’t let insomnia take over your life putting you on a sleepless cycle! Lack of sleep can wreak havoc, making you more susceptible to illness, health concerns and giving you an overall grumpy outlook on life.

If you’ve struggled with restlessness for a while and feel like you’ve tried everything to get some sleep infrared may be the answer.

Infrared Sessions Can Help with Insomnia

They can help you manage your stress by inducing deep relaxation and lowering or regulating your cortisol levels with each session. When a stressful situation comes up, your body produces more cortisol, which many call the “stress-hormone”. Let’s be real, some stress in our lives may be unavoidable, and that is OK. You’ve got places to go and people to see, but taking the time to rest your body and mind is of the utmost importance.  How can infrared assist with deep relaxation? First, lying down in a relaxing space with infrared warmth covering your body is pretty peaceful, but there is a scientific reason. During a session, your body is reacting to the heat. “In the 1980s, NASA concluded that infrared heat causes the heart rate and the cardiac output to increase, while the diastolic blood pressure starts to decrease,” says FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein “While cortisol levels would likely stay the same or rise slightly during an infrared session, the infrared rays will drop these levels afterward.” This indicates that participants feel deep relaxation during infrared exposure and when cortisol levels drop the user is left with a sense of well-being after just one session.

Regular infrared sessions may help you combat insomnia.

Infrared is great for improving serotonin levels to help you get better ZZZ’s. Infrared can do more to help with sleep than normalize cortisol levels. A study in which scientists treated 70 inpatients that were experiencing depression and insomnia or trouble sleeping showed notable results. Prior to their infrared exposure, scientists measured the patient’s serum serotonin levels, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that influences our brain cells that are related to mood, sleep and behavior. The serum malondialdehyde (MDA), a naturally occurring organic compound that is a marker for oxidative stress was also measured. Over a four-week period, participants were exposed to infrared twice a week and it was found that the serotonin levels increased and MDA levels decreased after exposure. With improved serotonin levels and less MDA in their system patients found they were able to get better sleep and feel more rested, improving their original concerns.

Full body infrared immersion can also provide your body with a passive cardio workout to not only relieve stress but help with symptoms of sleeplessness. Many find that their sleeping patterns improve when they start exercising. Because infrared can increase blood flow and heart rate to create a passive cardiovascular workout, users can notice similar effects.

Additionally, infrared heat can increase your heart rate to leave your body with that just-hit-the-gym feeling. This can help your body exert some energy, become tired and feel the need for a restful night’s sleep.

FIT Tips for Sleepy Time Success

  • Choose a relaxing bedtime ritual and stick to it, at least 6 days a week. If washing your face with your favorite cleanser and using a few drops of lavender on your pillow makes you happy and calm, do it every night. Soon, you’ll fall into a routine, letting your body and mind know it’s ok to relax.
  • Eliminate use of phones, TV’s, computers and screens. We get it, they are EVERYWHERE, but studies show that giving your eyes a rest from electronics can help you get to sleep faster.
  • Avoid activities that may make you wake up in the middle of the night. These include drinking alcohol, eating sugary before-bed snacks or drinking an overload of fluids.

Wondering where this information on infrared and insomnia have been all your life? You do experience small amounts of it from the sun and other living things, but regularly immersing your body in infrared for extended periods of time can provide more noticeable effects. Insomnia may come and go, so when trouble sleeping comes up book an infrared session to get the rest you need!

Find a FIT Provider!

Sources/References:

  • Chang, Y, YP Liu, and CF Liu. The Effect On Serotonin And MDA Levels In Depressed Patients With Insomnia When Far Infrared Rays Are Applied To Acupoints. 1st ed. Miaoli, Taiwan: Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(5):837-42., 2017. Web.
  • Chang Y, et al. "The Effect On Serotonin And MDA Levels In Depressed Patients With Insomnia When Far-Infrared Rays Are Applied To Acupoints. - Pubmed - NCBI".nlm.nih.gov. 2009. Web.
  • "Insomnia Causes And Cures: What To Do When You Can't Sleep". Helpguide.org. Web.

 

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