One of the most common issues adults face is those related to their sleep. Most often, people struggle to fall asleep on time or wake up numerous times at night. Improper sleep can have a tremendously negative impact on your body’s mental and physical functioning.
When you don’t complete the required amount and quality of sleep your body needs, you can no longer expect it to function at optimum levels. As a result, individuals can suffer from several issues, including fatigue, inability to focus, and illnesses.
All in all, it is imperative that individuals figure out how to improve their sleep cycle as soon as possible. A great way to do so is through cranial unwinding therapy, which helps reduce one’s mental and physical stress, which in turn improves their sleep cycle. This guide walks you through everything you need to know about this form of therapy and how it can help you sleep better.
What is Sleep Cycle?
Before we discuss the interventions to improve your sleep cycle, it would be worthwhile first to look at what sleep cycle is and how it affects you. Your sleep cycle essentially refers to the four stages of sleep you go through. When you don’t go through these four sleep cycles, you are likely not experiencing high-quality sleep.
Hence, in some ways, your sleep cycle tells you that while your sleep duration is undoubtedly essential, your sleep quality is something you should be considered as well. Your sleep quality is determined by whether or not you are progressing through your sleep cycle and moving from one stage to the next. Here are the four stages of sleep that comprise your entire cycle:
Stage 1: NREM/N1
This is the initial stage of falling asleep. When your brain’s activity starts to slow down, you begin drifting off to sleep. If you are disturbed during this stage, you can quickly wake up. However, if not, you will find yourself slowly dozing off. This stage typically lasts for a minute or up to five minutes.
Stage 2: NREM/N2
The second stage of your sleep cycle is when your body enters a much more relaxed state of sleep. Your muscles begin to relax, and your breathing and heart rate begins to slow down. Your brain activity is also completely slowed down, but there will be short bursts of activity. Individuals normally spend half of their sleep time in this second stage of NREM.
Stage 3: NREM/N3
This stage comprises your deep sleep. It is harder to wake an individual up if they are in this stage. It is the stage wherein their muscles relax even more, and their breathing slows down significantly. The third stage is the most critical one since it enhances the body’s restorative properties and contributes to a better immune system. Every individual should enter and spend time in the third stage.
Stage 4: REM/REM Sleep
During this stage, your brain activity picks up, and you find yourself slightly waking up. However, your body enters a kind of state of paralysis. As a result, your eyes would be quickly moving, but your body will be relaxed, and you will be sleeping. The constant movement of the eyes is where this stage gets its name from. Typically, you don’t enter the REM sleep stage unless you have been sleeping for over ninety minutes.
How to Improve Sleep Cycle through Cranial Unwinding
Your sleep cycle consists of these stages. When your body does not pass through all of these stages when you sleep at night, you can experience various issues. You will simply not be functioning properly mentally and physically in such a case. While you don’t have complete control over your sleep cycle, you can still take steps to improve it.
If you have been suffering from improper sleep for a long time now, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder. It is essential to treat the underlying cause of your sleep issues in order to improve your overall sleep. The best way to do this is through taking up cranial unwinding.
What is Cranial Unwinding?
Cranial unwinding is a form of therapy that is also known as craniosacral unwinding therapy, cranial-sacral therapy, and craniosacral therapy. Whatever you call it, the primary premise of this form of therapy is to enhance relaxation and stress and help the body heal itself.
The craniosacral system pumps cerebral fluids from the sacrum to the brain. The therapist will use their hands to assess your body’s craniosacral rhythms and remove any fluid flow restrictions. As a result, healing and relaxation are promoted throughout the body.
The therapist essentially uses the soft touch of their hands to positively change the central nervous system. As a result, the tension in the deep muscle tissues is released, which helps the body and its functions relax completely. You naturally find yourself being freed from any kind of stress and pain. This helps enhance the body’s natural healing systems and restore balance to it.
Since cranial unwinding is targeted toward relieving compression through touch on various parts of the body, it also helps to soothe pain and relieve emotional and physical tension in the body. All in all, it promotes relaxation and will help your body in a better manner.
Because cranial unwinding can potentially improve the body’s most essential functions, it can lead to a plethora of benefits for treating various medical and sleep-related issues. Moreover, one of the things that cranial unwinding is known for is improving insomnia and helping the body relax and sleep better.
How to Improve Sleep Cycle with Cranial Unwinding?
If you are suffering from improper sleep, insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep disturbance, or other related issues, you should consider cranial unwinding. When done the right way by a trained professional, it can prove to be highly beneficial for your overall mental and physical functioning.
A typical session of cranial unwinding helps you reach a state of ultimate relaxation, which is very similar to the kind of state you enter when you are meditating. Combining both cranial unwinding with meditation can experience even more benefits and better sleep quality.
A typical cranial unwinding session will last for up to an hour. However, the exact duration depends on your sleep issues and the goals of the therapy. During the entirety of the session, you will be fully clothed. The therapist will lightly be touching your body through gentle motions to determine where your bodily fluids and blockages are.
By removing these blockages of fluid in the body, you restore the rhythmic movements that naturally occur in the body. Hence, you are also free from various kinds of mental and physical health issues.
During the session, our heart rate and breathing will also slow down. Even when they fall asleep at night, they report similar sensations. Therefore, thanks to the gentle approach of cranial unwinding, patients report that they are able to fall asleep quickly and enter a deeper stage of slumber after trying out this therapy.
Another reason cranial unwinding is particularly helpful in improving sleep cycles is that it is targeted toward relaxing the nervous system. When this is done, it can allow you to get a good night’s sleep without any disturbance. Moreover, it will simultaneously alleviate a wide range of health issues as well.
How Many Sessions Do You Need?
The exact number of cranial unwinding sessions required to improve sleep cycle issues depends entirely on your specific case and their individual needs. When you arrive to your first session of cranial unwinding, the therapist will ask you various questions to evaluate your condition, needs, and problem areas.
In general, it is estimated that you will require at least one or two sessions per week of cranial unwinding. These sessions will continue for a couple of months or until directed by your practitioner.
Average Cost of These Sessions
Again, the exact cost of the cranial unwinding session will depend on where you are getting it from and which state you reside in. On average, a typical session will cost you anywhere between $70 and $170. For more information, you should directly get in touch with a practitioner near you and see what they charge based on your condition and needs.
The Bottom Line
All in all, cranial unwinding is one of the best forms of therapy to take up in order to improve sleep-related issues amongst children and adults. It helps you reach a deeper state of relaxation, relieve stress, and enhance your nervous system. As a result, you will be able to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
Moreover, cranial unwinding therapy can also help enhance your mental and physical health functions since it has a direct positive impact on your nervous system. All in all, it is an excellent non-invasive therapy to take up to tackle sleep issues.