January 20, 2019

Float Therapy for Improved Sleep

A case study demonstrating the value of floatation therapy upon sleep quality Dr. David A. Berv, CCSP, Dipl.Ac. Ally Charleston, University Of Richmond undergraduate
April 2018

 

ABSTRACT

Background :

Finding safe and effective ways to improve quality of sleep is both an urgent personal and worldwide need. One option that has been showing tremendous promise is that of float therapy, otherwise known as floatation therapy, floatation or floating. The following case study is part of a growing investigation into the connection between float therapy and quality of sleep.

 

Objective :

The objective of this case study is to observe any positive or negative effects of three (3) weeks of float therapy upon the quality of sleep, and related effects of stress, anxiety, and academic focus in a group of college students.

 

Method :

Participants were sought through an online screening process with exclusive criteria. Of the many applicants, thirteen (13) fit the criteria and six (6) students elected to participate. There were 5 females and 1 male. They were all part of one group study, where each participant floated one (1) time/week for three (3) consecutive weeks. A daily subjective survey was completed by each individual, using a numeric scale on a 0-10 continuum with descriptors.

The intervention for this case study involved “floating” in a 9’ long x 5’ wide fiberglass tank with a hinged lid, shaped like a large egg and filled with 175 gallons (10” deep) of a salt solution. This solution contains 1000 pounds of medical grade Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and is maintained at skin temperature (approximately 94 degrees F). The tank is within a private room containing a shower. To “float” the individual disrobes, showers, inserts earplugs, turns off the overhead room light, then climbs inside the tank which has an internal light and music controls. The individual closes the float tank lid and then transitions onto a supine (face up) position and begins to float effortlessly.

There was no cost for the participants and there was no financial gain from The Float Zone, where the case study took place. There are no other disclosures.

 

Results :

Quality of Sleep: Improved 37%
Sense of feeling refreshed in morning: Improved 49%
Level of daily fatigue: Improved 56%
Ease of falling asleep last night: Improved 63%
Stress level: Improved 67%
Anxiety: Improved 78%
Affect on productivity and focus: Improved 49%
Number of h ours of sleep: Unchanged

 

Conclusion :

Float therapy improves quality of sleep in college students. Improved quality of sleep
includes an ability to fall asleep easier, feeling more refreshed after waking, less daily fatigue
and an increased ability to focus and be productive. Floating once weekly for three weeks in
succession also led to significant decreases in both stress and anxiety levels. There were no
negative effects.
Students as well as adults, medical professionals and alternative health care providers should
consider floatation therapy by itself and in tandem with other mind/body approaches to
improve quality of sleep.