If you’ve ever received an incredibly relaxing massage from a skilled massage therapist, you’ve probably wondered if it’s acceptable to fall asleep during a massage.
Not only is it OK to doze off during a massage, it’s actually a good sign.
Our brains are wired to sleep during a massage
When your body receives a massage from a skilled massage therapist, the massage not only eases muscle tension but also encourages the nervous system to switch into its healing and relaxation state, called the “parasympathetic” phase.
Put simply, the body’s systems need downtime to crank natural healing up to its full capacity, and getting that downtime means sleep. (It’s a virtuous circle, since getting massage also helps you sleep more deeply.)
A great massage signals your body that it’s time to power down and heal up. So it’s your biology—not your lack of sleep—that makes it likely that a good relaxation massage will make you drowsy.
Falling asleep during a massage is common
While not everyone ends up drooling on the face cradle because they’re in a deep sleep, many people admit to falling asleep during a massage at least once.
Although there haven’t been any formal surveys done on sleeping during massages, ask any massage therapist, and they’ll tell you that it’s a compliment to have a customer fall asleep. It means that you trust your massage therapist and feel comfortable.
So don’t feel the need to apologize when you wake up during a massage. You might just be a little sad that you missed part of your treatment – but rest assured, you’ve enjoyed all the benefits of massage while you were snoozing.
Make sleep your goal
In fact, you might try to fall asleep during a massage on purpose. If sleep is your goal and not an accident, check out the Zeel sleep massage, try a dab of lavender oil on your pillow, or opt to soothe your monkey mind with massage music.
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.