Many people have insomnia or a sleep disorder where you could have difficulties falling and staying asleep. When you suffer from this condition, you may not experience the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep. And that could cause further health challenges in the long run. Others resort to sleeping pills, but we encourage you to take a more natural approach. These include taking melatonin and even trying acupuncture to help sleep.
Before we jump into detailing what acupuncture is and how it can boost the quality of your rest, let’s talk about insomnia.
Based on the article published recently, insomnia affects around 40% of the adult population in the US. Contrary to what most believe, this condition can vary for different people. There is a short-term, and there is also chronic insomnia. Some people experience having difficulties sleeping at the onset, while others could not maintain a quality sleep for the entire night. Either way, it has a lot of disadvantages.
There are many causes of having insomnia. It could be due to stress, irregular sleep schedules, caffeine, and alcohol.
This could be alarming as apart from the lack of energy, those who have insomnia could develop mental illnesses.
Now that you know how serious this is, it’s about time to discuss one of the best treatments for insomnia – acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture to Help Sleep?
When we say acupuncture, this involves fine needles being inserted into your skin at specific points. This could be intimidating for some, but acupuncture does not hurt. Apart from helping you get good sleep, it’s also ideal if you want to reduce your anxiety levels, improve your overall mood, and lessen headaches. That doesn’t stop there. It could also provide us with better energy and healthy digestion. Least to say, acupuncture targets our holistic health.
There are many misconceptions about the practice. So we are also here to enlighten you.
- Acupuncture doesn’t hurt
- It takes more than one session to enjoy its long term effect
- It’s not a religious nor spiritual practice but rather based on traditional Chinese medicine
Scientific Evidence for Acupuncture to Help Sleep
While there is limited information about the relation between acupuncture and sleep, a report published in 2004 stated that acupuncture can increase melatonin production at night. For those who are not aware, melatonin is a hormone that helps us with our sleep-wake cycle. That’s why you will notice melatonin products available in the market, including supplements or gummies.
In addition to that, acupuncture can increase the levels of amino acid GABA. This functions like a neurotransmitter that could boost relaxation and sleep.
Way back in 1997, the National Institutes of Health have already declared the safety of acupuncture for treating several illnesses, from musculoskeletal problems down to sleep disorders.
What to Look for an Acupuncturist?
If you would like to try acupuncture to help sleep, it’s best to do your research first on the best practitioners near you. Ask your friends and even your doctor if they could recommend one. That way, you can ensure that you will be in good hands and that the facility and needles are sterile. Here’s a quick guide so you can find the perfect acupuncturist that could help you get a good night’s rest.
- Look for credentials
- Probe on the years of experience
- Check the communication style
- Read client reviews
You should also check if your insurance could cover your acupuncture treatment.
Risks of Acupuncture to Help Sleep
Before you go further with any type of treatment, you need to educate yourself about the risks involved. Specifically for acupuncture, the mild side effects you can expect are bleeding at the specific insertion site, bruising, dizziness, and skin rashes.
Take note though that acupuncture is generally safe, as long as it is done by professionals. However, if you are taking blood thinners or if you have bleeding disorders, you might not want to get this treatment. For those with a cardiac pacemaker or other electrical devices, you must avoid electropuncture.
What to Expect from an Acupuncturist?
When you first meet your acupuncturist, they won’t start the treatment right away. They will need to check your overall health history so that they could provide the right solutions for you.
This is also the reason why you need to check with your doctor first. You must be aware of your health conditions to reap the full benefits of acupuncture.
What to Do After the Treatment?
Once you are done with your treatment, we highly recommend that you rest first. It would help if you light up some scented candles or use essential oils to keep you relaxed. You can either use the following.
Healing Solutions Lavender Essential Oil
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This is made with the highest quality lavender oil, which can help you relax. It’s 100% pure and undiluted, and all you have to do is add few drops to your diffuser. And for an affordable price, you would be surprised with the quality you’d get from this product.
UpNature Store Sleep Essential Oil Blend
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If using a diffuser seems like a tedious task for you, then you should get this ready-to-use essential oil from UpNature. This does not contain toxins and other additives. Plus, it’s blended with carrier oils.
Apart from taking a good rest, this goes without saying that you should not schedule any strenuous activities such as working out in the gym. And for pain relief, experts suggest using heat instead of cold packs.
Meanwhile, avoid alcohol and coffee for a couple of days, as these two could confuse or affect your awareness. You might want to stay away from gadgets and social media to keep your balance intact. And lastly, start eating good and healthy food.
Change Your Lifestyle to Improve the Quality of Sleep
It’s important to note that even with acupuncture, you might still suffer from sleep disorders if you live an unhealthy lifestyle. In a nutshell, here are the things you need to remember.
- Stop using gadgets before you go to bed
- Try to avoid sleeping during the day
- Do not eat heavy meals before your bedtime
- Learn how to meditate or even use essential oils
- Stop drinking caffeinated tea, coffee, and even soft drinks
- Avoid working out a few hours before going to bed
Is Acupuncture the Right Treatment for You?
Like everything else, this is a case-to-case basis. Acupuncture to help sleep can be effective for some but might not have a tremendous effect on others. That’s because we have different health conditions which require different treatments.
Again, make sure to consult your doctor if this treatment is applicable to your condition.