Great quality sleep can lift your mood and give you lots of energy. Sleep is more than just a comfort, however. Deep sleep is the time that your brain clears away toxins. The long-term health of your memory and ability to think are both related to quality sleep. A massage pillow can help.
How Do Massage Pillows Work?
Massage pillows are available in a variety of forms and can be used for many purposes. To help you decide which pillow is right for your sleeping needs, you’ll need to decide between a pillow offering heat and motion or a static or acupressure pillow.
Acupressure pillows don’t have any electronics, so there’s no way to warm them. However, many users find that products such as the Bed of Nails pillow is covered with small rounded accupressure nails that stimulate the circulation and initiate your natural healing system.
These pillows are sized to provide gentle support to the head and neck while activating your endorphins and increasing circulation. Because there are no moving massage features or heat, these pillows travel easily and require no charging or electrical access.
Active massage pillows provide a release of muscular tension and increased sleep quality with a combination of heat and massage. Most electric massage pillows feature heated massage stones that will slowly provide a deep tissue masssage to the muscles in your neck and skull, or wherever you choose to place the massage pillow. It’s not recommended you use a massage pillow while you sleep, but they’re an excellent tool to aid you in getting a great night of rest.
These pillows are fairly small and can be charged and don’t need constant access to electricity. Thanks to accessories such as straps, they can be applied to other parts of the body. If you suffer from leg cramps in the night, consider a pillow with an adjustable strap to massage calves or quads for 20 minutes as you prepare for sleep.
Safety Features Of Electric Massage Pillows
While an acupressure pillow can’t heat your skin, electric massage pillows do feature heat. It’s important to take all safety precautions when falling asleep near or attached to an electric heat source. There are hazards to sleeping around electricity.
Luckily, many electric massage pillows on the market offer several critical safety features:
1) Chargeable: Don’t go to sleep attached to something that’s still plugged in. Should you turn in your sleep and partially unplug your appliance, electricity can arc and start a fire in your bedclothes.
2) Auto-Shutoff (Heat): Long-term exposure to heat while you’re sleeping can burn your skin, similar to how a sunburn can surprise you. Ever dropped off to sleep without intending to, only to wake two hours later? Two hours of direct application from an electric heat source can lead to painful burns. Use a pillow that turns itself off after a short amount of time if you want to try sleeping on it.
3) Auto-Shutoff (Massage): The application of heat can lead to an increase in inflammation if left on for too long. The combination of heat and motion while you sleep can actually lead to more pain once you wake up. If you’ve never experienced heated massage before, work in short bursts of time and leave music playing or listen to an audiobook so you’re less likely to drop off. Use your massage pillow for no more than 20 minutes, then get up and move away from the heat source to let your tissues soothe and settle down.
Massage Pillows As Preparation For Sleep
One of the joys of falling asleep is the chance to let the worries of the day slide away and give you quiet peace. However, as you lose awareness of the world while sliding into sleep, you also lose sensitivity in your skin. Deep relaxation coupled with deep sleep could lead to muscular inflammation in your neck and ultimately skeletal misalignment in your spine, leaving you severely injured.
Rather than sleeping against your massage pillow, consider using it after long stressful days. Apply it before you sit down to watch television or strap it to a sore leg muscle after a long walk or great stretching session.
A Word About Ice
The application of heat to sore muscles can be soothing but can increase inflammation. If you’ve got a very sore muscle caused by overwork or injury, consider switching between ice and heat. While heat stimulates the healing powers of the body, ice can reduce inflammation of tender tissues and lessen nerve pain. Twenty minutes of icing followed by an hour of rest, then twenty minutes of heat to loosen a sore muscle, can speed healing and reduce your pain.