How Acupuncture May Help You Sleep Better

How Acupuncture May Help You Sleep Better

By Katie Phillips |

Before a big presentation or your wedding day, you can expect to lose a little sleep. Nighttime restlessness is pretty normal. However, if your sleepless nights continue for an extended period, you may have insomnia.

The symptoms of insomnia are the same as any sleepless night: difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and not feeling rested. When it becomes too hard to function during the day because of your lack of sleep, then it may be time to make a change.

Common Causes of Insomnia

Stress is a top contender for why you can’t sleep at night. It can be difficult to shut off those anxious thoughts and relax into sleep. Usually, you can’t sleep as long as the stressful event is going on. Maybe you’re finishing a sales projection or organizing a family reunion. As the stress lifts, your sleep should return to normal. However, chronic stress, which can last for a long time, may require more treatment to allow you to sleep.

Insomnia is also sometimes caused by poor sleep habits. If you’re someone who goes to bed at different times every night, you might be hurting your sleep quality. Being consistent, on the other hand, lets your body know when it’s time to sleep. Then it will start releasing sleep hormones at the time you intend to go to sleep (not hours earlier or later). Many people are practicing poor sleep habits without even knowing it, and it may be contributing to their insomnia.

Finally, people who travel across time zones regularly and shift workers are also more likely to deal with insomnia. Inconsistent sleep patterns can make it challenging to get the rest you need.

How Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture helps address insomnia by reducing stress and promoting the release of melatonin, a sleep hormone. In a small survey of anxious people, five weeks of acupuncture allowed participants to fall asleep easier, wake up less, and sleep longer. They also reported less anxiety. In part, the improved sleep may be due to acupuncture’s ability to increase the release of melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy, at night.

To sleep even better, you can get acupuncture treatments in conjunction with taking calming herbs or medicines.

How to Improve Your Sleep Habits

Although acupuncture can help relieve your stress and promote sleepiness, you may still need to improve your sleep habits to reap the benefits. Some steps that you can take include:

  • Setting a regular bedtime. Waking and sleeping at the same time each day teaches your body to feel awake and sleepy at the right times.
  • Improving your bedroom environment. Light blocking curtains can reduce light disturbances, and white noise machines can mitigate distracting sounds.
  • Upgrading your mattress. Many people don’t realize that their sleeping position and weight affects which mattresses are comfortable for them. Check mattress reviews to see if you’re sleeping on the right one.
  • Avoiding screens before bed. Although many people like to drift off in front of the television, the bright blue light from screens can make you feel more awake because it mimics sunshine.

Combining acupuncture and improved sleep habits may help you rest better at night.