Can Float Pod Help Your Insomnia?

According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million people in the U.S. suffer from insomnia. The statistics show that if you continually get less than six hours of sleep a night, you are 48% more likely to die of heart disease and 15% more likely to have a stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that lack of sleep is responsible for 6,000 fatalities per year on the highways. A study by the Mental Health Foundation “found that people that didn’t get enough sleep were four times as likely to suffer from lack of concentration, have relationship problems and 3 times more likely to be depressed and 2.6 times more likely to commit suicide.”

Even if you don’t have relationship problems or take your own life, insomnia reduces your alertness during the day, makes you more susceptible to weight gain, reduces the effectiveness of your immune system, and shortens your life. A healthy adult needs at least seven hours of sleep a night. It’s my experience that an athletic training program increases that by an hour or two. In other words, if you’re not sleeping at least seven hours a night, your health is at risk.

But sleep doesn’t come easy for some of us. More than 9 million Americans take sleeping pills, but the most common side effects of the most popular sleeping pills are unpleasant taste, nausea, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea, cold/flu, abdominal pain, and making the insomnia worse. If you have trouble sleeping, and you don’t want to take medication, what is your alternative? Consider a course of float pod sessions.

In her Ph.D. dissertation for the University of British Columbia in 1989, Elizabeth Jean Ballard reported on a study she had done of 36 volunteers suffering from psychophysiological insomnia. Over 14 days, she gave some of them floating sessions, some of them floating plus relaxation exercises, some just relaxation exercises, and some delayed treatment (i.e., the final group got no treatment during the 14-day monitoring period). She measured their sleep patterns by having them keep sleep logs, and by using a machine called a Somtrak sleep assessment device. She discovered that people who floated began to fall asleep more quickly, and the speed with which they fell asleep continued to increase even 12 weeks after the treatments. Furthermore, “Reductions in tension were correlated with reductions in subjective sleep latency [i.e., the speed of falling asleep] and reductions in anger were correlated with reductions in objective sleep latency, all over the long term.” Floating, then, appears not only to help with insomnia but also with tension and even anger.

The participants in Ballard’s study floated four times in 14 days with at least one day between sessions. All sessions were in the morning so the relaxation effects of floating did not contribute directly to falling asleep. But their insomnia continued to diminish for 12 weeks after the sessions were over. If you have trouble sleeping, why not see if you can replicate Ballard’s research by booking yourself for some float pod sessions at Peak Recovery & Health Center? The only side effects you can experience from the float pod are good ones, like sleeping better at night. It will not alter your body chemistry, although it may change your outlook.

Photo: “Sleeping” by Micah Baldwin. Creative Commons license.