7 Suggestions for Putting Someone to Bed with a Massage

You can’t really massage yourself to sleep. Not really.

When it comes to yourself, stretching works better, though there are instructions for massaging yourself. For massaging yourself, you’ve got to use the more active parts of your mind. That makes it hard to drift off. Even if it doesn’t take much thinking to massage yourself, it’s still too much. It’s easier to relax when you’re stretching out, and relaxing is what you need to so when you’re trying to go to sleep. Guidelines for doing that are simple. Anywhere you have tightness . . .stretch it out.

You can, however, massage someone else to sleep. You don’t have to be a professional massage therapist.

Massage for sleep works well, especially if they’re had a rough day.

The body releases serotonin and dopamine as it’s being massaged. These hormones cause a person to relax. Stress melts away. No more fight-or-flight response. The body’s level of cortisol drastically decreases.

Massages help people heal. It’s a form of energy healing.

Furthermore, you don’t have to be a professional to give a good, competent massage. You don’t even need a massage table.

Here are several suggestions for giving a good massage.

1. Put your friend on fresh sheets

You can massage someone on the floor or on a mattress. It doesn’t matter.

But wherever you massage them, comfort is key. Put them on clean, fresh sheets, especially ones that have been washed with a nice-smelling laundry detergent. It’s especially worth the effort to change the sheets where you’re going to massage them if they’ve been on the bed for more than a few days.

If they’re sweaty or dirty from a high-pressure day, they can take a shower or bath while you fix the sheets.

2. Use some kind of a lotion

You have several different choices in this area.

You can use a nice-smelling hand lotion, isopropyl alcohol, or a liniment. Everyone will have their favorite, but use something. It’s going to make the skin more supple and that will help you relax the person you’re massaging.

You don’t have to use a huge amount of oil, either, unless you want to. A little can go a long way.

3. Play relaxing music

Sleep music works great for relaxation but anything you and they find enjoyable to listen too can aid relaxation.

4. Talk

Ask them questions gently.

Don’t probe. Don’t put them on the defensive. Simply show an interest in them.

If they don’t want to talk, don’t press the issue. For a lot of people, however, talking helps them to relax.

Talking about the massage is especially useful. Sometimes tension settles in different places in different people. Let the person you’re massaging be your guide as to where you should concentrate your efforts.

5. Use medium-pressure massage strokes

Not too soft, not too hard, medium pressure should be the default setting for your hands and fingers. Go in circles on the back and the legs. Squeeze gently on the arms.

Where you massage will be determined by your relationship with the person.

If the person you’re massaging wants you to work knots out of their muscles, go ahead and try. Rolfing or kneading the muscles takes practice to get good so be sure to listen to feedback.

6. If you’re trying to put someone to bed, avoid intimate touch

Getting their engines going will only delay their sleep.

7. When the massage is done, cover them with a blanket or sheet

They may be snoring or drifting off when you’re done. Cover them up. A sheet or blanket keeps them at a comfortable temperature and lends a secure feeling.

Then, now that the massage is over, go to sleep yourself. You’ve done your good deed for the day.

Finally, there’s the matter of education.

To really up your massage game, go to a massage therapist. Take notes, at least mental ones. If it feels good when it’s done to you, it could feel good to anyone you massage.


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James Cobb, RN, MSN is the founder of the Dream Recovery System, one of the top sleep blogs on the Internet. 

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