Most people experience insomnia once in a while. But chronic symptoms put both your mental and physical health are at risk. Some of the symptoms of insomnia are easy to recognise, but others you may not realise come from lack of sleep. General symptoms include:
- trouble falling asleep
- waking tired in the morning despite spending plenty of time in bed
- waking several times during the night
- having excessive daytime sleepiness
- waking too early in the morning
- experiencing mood changes, especially increased aggression and irritability
But, there are many ways to reduce the symptoms of insomnia including acupuncture. When used in conjunction with healthy sleep habits, acupuncture can help you get the full seven to eight hours of sleep you need to be at your best.
Acupuncture and Better Sleep
Melatonin is a sleep hormone released by the body to help you fall and stay asleep. A study published in 2004 found that five weeks of acupuncture treatments increased the amount of melatonin released at night. Participants in the study reported that they were able to fall asleep easier, enjoy higher quality sleep, and sleep longer than normal.
The same study reported that participants’ anxiety levels also went down. That supports later findings reported in a Georgetown University study which found that electroacupuncture can reduce stress hormones. This study tried to emulate real-world conditions wherein the rat subjects were already under stress when acupuncture treatment began. The researchers found that when the right points were accessed through acupuncture, stress hormone levels went down.
Stress and sleep deprivation often form a cyclical relationship wherein one causes the other. If acupuncture can be used to put a stop to this cycle, it can help people both reduce their stress and get better sleep.
Develop Healthy Sleep Habits
While acupuncture can be an excellent way to stop the stress-sleep deprivation cycle and improve sleep quality, its effects last longer when used in conjunction with healthy sleep habits. Try to:
- Keep a Consistent Sleep/Wake Schedule: Regular 24-hour biological and physiological cycles called circadian rhythms to control your sleep-wake schedule. By keeping a consistent bedtime and wake time, you support and strengthen your body’s natural rhythms.
- Turn Off Screens Early: Some electronic devices give off a bright blue light that can mimic daylight and suppress the release of melatonin. High efficiency (HE) light bulbs can also have the same effect. Keep HE bulbs out of your bedroom and turn off your devices at least two to three hours before bedtime.
- Eat and Drink Smart: Stimulants like caffeine can block melatonin. It should be avoided for at least four hours before bedtime. Also, try to avoid high-fat heavy foods too close to bedtime. Most people sleep better if they eat an early, light dinner.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise is good for every aspect of your health. When it comes to your sleep, it can help you feel more tired at night. However, avoid strenuous exercise within four hours of your bedtime. The rise in body temperature and the release of adrenaline can keep you awake for several hours.
Along with good habits, make sure the sleep environment promotes deep sleep. A dark, quiet room helps eliminate distractions while a mattress that supports your preferred sleep position can prevent aches and pains. Mattresses purchased online can be delivered to your front doorstep, making it easy to find one that works for you.
With the right habits, conditions, and treatments, you can put a stop to your sleeplessness. If stress is causing you to lose sleep, acupuncture might be what you need for better sleep.