The benefits of 7-8 hours of sleep are well known, and much has been written in recent years explaining how it can affect a whole range of physical and emotional processes.
After a long day, most of us are looking forward to a good, restorative night of sleep, but we’ve all experienced restless nights spent tossing and turning. The following day often results in looking forward eagerly to sleep and then staring at the ceiling when it’s finally time to rest again.
What can we do if we already follow all the recommended sleep hygiene tips? Can floating help us to more easily access that deep level of relaxation needed for restful sleep?
What the research says:
A review of the current research turned up a Swedish study from 2010. Anette Kjellgren, Hanne Buhrkall, and Torsten Norlander researched the effectiveness of floating for sufferers of “burnout syndrome”.
If you are currently dealing with burnout syndrome, are just dealing with a stressful week at work, or are an athlete feeling beat up from hard workouts, the results are still fascinating and show that floating may help you get better sleep.
The study had four women and two men enter a 10-week program of floating and conversational therapy, floating twice a week for 45 mins each time.
Following this treatment, the researchers found that: “Clients reported generally improved sleep during the course of treatment, in particular, during nights that followed flotation-REST.” 1 It’s important to note that while the effect was more pronounced on days when they floated, the benefits still extended to the days where they did not float!
This is an encouraging data point for most of us who can’t float twice a week like the study participants.
Not only did they report improved sleep quality, but they found that they had an easier time relaxing in bed. “The clients experienced an effortlessly relaxed state while lying in bed, as well as a deliberate and unintentional ability to influence the level of relaxation by imitating the resting body position experienced in the tank and composing their respiration” 2
This suggests that long-term floating helps us extend that incredibly relaxed feeling we may be familiar with during a float to other areas of our life!
And that heavy fatigue that we sometimes feel after a rough night of sleep? Participants reported “feeling more rested, with more energy in the mornings.” 3
Taking all of this together as a whole, it is strong evidence that floating can help with the overall quality of, and ability to get to sleep.
So if you’ve made other changes in your sleep hygiene and are still struggling to drift off at night, or even if you don’t struggle to find rest, but would still like to experience the “effortlessly relaxed state” 4 the study participants described, floating may help provide you with the right tools to drift off to a peaceful night of rest.
How floating can help sleep:
Whilst sleep can be a complex issue, stress, over-stimulation, physical pain, and magnesium deficiencies are all common causes of restlessness or difficulty sleeping, that it’s thought float therapy or time in a sensory deprivation tank can directly address.
The simple (yet difficult without using an isolation tank!) process of shutting off external stimuli, can do wonders for alleviating chronic stress and symptoms that go with it. Floatation therapy provides an environment unlike anything else, designed to reduce all stressors and allow the nervous system to softly slip into its parasympathetic state, where the deep relaxation and break from stress mean the body can set about its natural healing processes.
As hormones rebalance (stress hormone cortisol & adrenaline reduce, dopamine & beta-endorphins increase), real mental AND physical benefits are felt. Blood pressure decreases, blood flow happens more easily, lactic acid is flushed more quickly, muscle tension eases, anxiety fades, and noticeable pain relief can be observed.
Floatation or sensory deprivation therapy has been shown effective to treat many causes of insomnia. Indeed, during a float session, it’s common for people’s brainwaves to slow to theta waves, typically associated with deep restorative states of sleep.
So, though it cannot cure every sleep disorder or sleep problem (certain conditions, including sleep apnea, should have proper medical attention), it seems that floating can also provide deep levels of rest that some people find difficult to otherwise achieve – providing almost immediate relief from sleep deprivation and the feelings it creates.
Magnesium & Sleep
Despite the modern western world having an abundance of food like never before, it’s very common for individuals to have a magnesium deficiency, often without knowing. If you’ve ever experienced restless legs at night, it’s possible you do too, and though magnesium supplements are often prescribed to treat restless leg syndrome, it’s not thought to absorb particularly well.
There is currently more research ongoing to provide scientific support to it, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that floatation therapy can also help rebalance the body’s levels of magnesium. Epsom salt is essentially magnesium sulfate, so floating with us will see you suspended in 550KG of it, and possibly absorbing quantities enough to bring your body’s levels back into balance.
Why Float Hub?
At Float Hub, we have 6 of the largest, most hygienic, and most advanced float pods on earth. We’re the only UK float center to have maintained a perfect 5* score on TripAdvisor with over 100 reviews, and are driven to deliver the perfect float experience for everyone who might benefit.
We’ve been described by some as the best float center in the world, and with our memberships, we provide the best value floating in London without commitment beyond the time you wish to stay with us.
1,2,3,4 Kjellgren, A., Buhrkall, H., & Norlander, T. (2010). Psychotherapeutic Treatment in Combination with Relaxation in a Flotation Tank: Effects on “Burn-Out Syndrome.” Qualitative Report, 15(5), 1243-1269.