A sleep disorder, insomnia occurs when you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. You may stay up late when you don't want to, wake up in the night and have a hard time getting back down, waking up too early in the morning, or just feel tired when you wake up.
Not getting enough sleep at night can leave you feeling fatigued and unable to function well the next day. It can be a serious health risk, too, increasing your risk for conditions including:
- Heart disease
Insomnia treatments include cognitive and behavioral therapy, sleep aids, and alternative medicine including acupuncture. Lifestyle changes and improvements to your sleep hygiene can be helpful as well.
What Acupuncture Does for Insomnia
Research has found that acupuncture can be a safe treatment for insomnia. Participants who received acupuncture treatment three times a week for four weeks showed improvement in insomnia severity, sleep efficiency, total sleep time, and even depression. The effects of acupuncture treatment for insomnia improved with time, with sleep awakenings and anxiety improving after two and four week follow ups.
Another study found acupuncture can be effective for improving sleep quality and psychological distress in the elderly. After 10 acupuncture, participants showed improvement in sleep quality, depression, and stress.
How to Improve Insomnia Symptoms
Try these methods for improving your insomnia symptoms, including acupuncture, lifestyle changes, and sleep hygiene.
- Use acupuncture. Acupuncture is a low risk alternative medicine treatment that uses needles to balance the flow of chi in your body. It can increase your blood flow, stimulate nerves, muscles, and tissues, and relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. Talk to your acupuncture practitioner about insomnia, and discuss related issues that may contribute to difficult sleep, including anxiety and chronic pain.
- Be physically active. Exercise can be helpful for improving insomnia symptoms, especially when done consistently. When you're tired from exercising, you may find it easier to sleep well and stay asleep, and exercise can relieve some of the stress and anxiety that may be keeping you up at night. However, be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime, as vigorous exercise at night can be too stimulating for sleep.
- Improve your sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each night and day can be helpful for improving the quality of your sleep. It's also a good idea to avoid triggers that can make it difficult to sleep, including late night caffeine, screen time in bed, and eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol just before you go to sleep.
- Focus on your sleep environment. Another factor in sleep quality is where you sleep. Your mattress should be comfortable and suited to your needs, and your bedroom should be a calm, cool, dark, and quiet place where you can relax. It shouldn't be an all purpose room; your bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex.
Insomnia can be difficult to live with, but there are options for treatment including acupuncture. Don't let your insomnia continue. Treat it today for a better night's sleep and a more refreshed tomorrow.