I Tried Floating to Help Me With Stress and Sleep, Here's What Happened

Read all about our editor’s sensory deprivation experience.

Health 
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For the longest time I’ve been struggling to sleep, and I’ve always been very prone to stress. I’ve tried everything from massages to yoga to help me, which is why I jumped on the idea of trying floating. For those of you that aren’t familiar, floating is a form of sensory deprivation where you lay afloat in salt water, relaxing your body and mind.

Initially, the thought of laying naked inside a completely dark pod filled with water was a terrifying one. As someone who is mildly claustrophobic, it scared me a bit thinking that I’d somehow manage to get stuck inside, but the second I saw the pod I knew my concerns were completely outrageous. The treatment is an hour long, with five minutes of music being played to ease you into the float before it goes completely silent, which is when you also have the option of turning the light off to float completely in the dark. Of course, I decided to go all in and lay in the dark, and it is without a doubt one of the strangest feelings I’ve felt in a long time. Free from any form of sensory input, the muscular-skeletal system and nervous system wind down into deep relaxation and serenity, which reduces stress and can promote better sleep. The water in the pod is kept at the same temperature as your skin, meaning that you’ll barely be able to feel where the water begins and ends.

 

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There is a wealth of scientific research on the benefits of floating. We wanted to share some of the key findings from decades of research (and more recent studies): ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A recent meta-analysis of 27 scientific studies by scientists Dierendonck and Nijenhuis showed that floating: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Reduces cortisol levels (when high, cortisol can lower our immunity and leads to prolonged stress) ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Lowers blood pressure (a symptom of stress that compromises our health. Lower blood pressure allows us to feel relaxed) ❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Increases overall wellbeing ?‍♂️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Boosts cognitive performance ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Improves symptoms of chronic fatigue and burnout ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Improves sleep ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are many more findings on how floating affects activity in the brain’s salience network, which has a positive impact on wellbeing such as – reduced anxiety, confusion, perception of pain and a reduction of negative emotions, as well as improved sleep (Justin Feinstein, head neurophysicist at Ohio’s Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the leading authority on floating and the brain). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To find out more about the benefits of floating and what scientific research has been done, head to our website (under ‘Floating explained’ and ‘Science of Floating’). . . . #floating #floatingtherapy #floattherapy #floattank #floatspa #sensorydeprivation #science #wellness #improvedsleep #sleep #performanceenhancer #athtleticperformance #recovery #epsomsalt #mentalhealth #anxiety #wellbeing

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Floating naked in complete darkness and silence seemed weird at first, but after finishing the session, I immediately knew that I wanted to go back. I had the chance to really be alone with my thoughts and reflect on life, without any distractions what so ever. The floating significantly reduced my stress and even relieved tension throughout my body, and also made me feel energized and helped me sleep a lot better.

All in all, I can safely say that I’ve become a floater. For anyone who needs a bit of peace and quiet, or just wants to experience something new, floating is a great option that comes with so many benefits. If you’re based in London, Floatworks offers hour-long floating sessions at a £55 GBP (approximately $67 USD)  rate. Take a closer look at the pods below, and learn more about the practice over at Floatworks.

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