Even though there are a lot of medications that are conventional non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments for insomnia that are effective for many people, alternative therapies such as acupuncture are still widely practiced. Research findings suggest that anxiety acupuncture can be an effective treatment of insomnia related to mental health problems such as generalized anxiety and schizophrenia. Although there is a need for more research, it may also be a helpful treatment for sleep disturbances, sleep apnea, insomnia, pain, anxiety, depression, and restless leg syndrome.
Meanwhile, acupuncture is a technique that involves inserting needles into the skin to stimulate certain areas of the body. The practice has grown in popularity as a treatment for a variety of health conditions like allergies, asthma, stress, depression, and insomnia. Now we’ll talk about the possible benefits of acupuncture for sleep, along with tips for finding a practitioner.
People with anxiety could benefit from anxiety acupuncture by way of reducing symptoms. But studies do have limitations and more research is needed to determine whether or not it can be used as first-line treatment over other remedies or medications or therapies.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep-breathing disorder that causes a person to stop and start breathing throughout the night while they are sleeping. People with this disorder risk having their tongues drop back into their mouths and block their airways as they sleep. Research shows that acupuncture can strengthen the tongue which can help prevent the tongue from blocking airflow. It can also reduce respiratory issues at night for people with sleep apnea.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome causes people’s legs to move uncontrollably which can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Insomnia acupuncture helps by stimulating the parts of the brain that are involved with restless leg syndrome and its associated muscles and can reduce the severity of the condition.
Stress and Relaxation
Insomnia acupuncture may help you relax especially when you are stressed. It can help reduce cortisol levels which is a hormone found in people who have a lot of stress and reducing this level helps you unwind and fall asleep.
Acupuncture is also used to reduce pain, particularly for folks with osteoarthritis, headaches, or lower back pain. But it’s not guaranteed to help with pain, as the evidence is mixed. It can also reduce pain sensitivity and promote relation because it triggers neural pathways in the brain stem which release chemicals like serotonin that promote sleep and reduce pain.
There are other ways to promote better sleep. One of which is unwinding before bedtime by doing something relaxing, like reading or meditating. Moreover, drinking an herbal tea one hour before bed can also promote sleep. You can also stick with sleep/wake time, keeping your room dark and avoiding screens at least two hours before bedtime. Lastly, it is important to sleep on a comfortable mattress and give high priority to sleep to get quality rest. When we say sleep hygiene, it refers to your sleep environment and the behaviors surrounding your bedtime routine and overall sleep health.