23 Jun Reduce Stress with Acupuncture and Healthy Sleep Habits
Stress is a normal part of life, but when it gets out of control, it can interfere with your ability to function normally. Stress often leads to sleeplessness, which affects your emotional and mental health. Acupuncture and healthy sleep habits are a natural way to put a stopper in the continuing cycle of stress and sleep deprivation.
Stress and Sleep Deprivation: A Continuing Cycle
Everyone has experienced a sleepless night due to stress. One or two bad nights probably won’t throw you to off-track. However, if the stress and sleeplessness continue, they can form a cycle that’s hard to break. Sleep deprivation causes the emotional center of your brain to become more sensitive to negative thoughts and emotions. At the same time, the part of your brain that applies logic becomes less active.
Studies have explored how these changes in the brain manifest themselves. A study published in Emotion found that when participants were given difficult tasks to complete within time constraints that lack of sleep increased their stress, anxiety, and anger. As the time demands increased and the tasks became harder, sleep-deprived participants had more trouble with emotional control.
The studies suggest that if you’re already trying to manage high-stress levels, it becomes even harder when you’re tired.
Put a Stop to the Cycle with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can put a stop to the cycle in a couple of different ways. First, acupuncture can be used to treat stress alone. A study published in Endocrinology explored the effectiveness of electroacupuncture to reduce stress. It was found that acupuncture treatments could reduce the number of stress hormones released by rats even after stress had already begun, which is similar to a real-world situation for humans.
The second way acupuncture can put a stop to the stress-sleep deprivation cycle is by increasing the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin signals your body know when to go to sleep and wake up. A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences found that acupuncture increased the release of melatonin at night when it’s needed to fall and stay asleep. Participants improved the number of hours they slept and reported less anxiety after five weeks of acupuncture treatments.
Develop Good Sleep Habits
While the effects of acupuncture can last weeks or even months after treatments have stopped, good sleep habits can help prevent the cycle from starting again. A good night’s rest begins in a bedroom that’s solely devoted to sleep with a mattress that supports your height, weight, and sleep style. Keeping the room cool, dark, and quiet can also create a healthy sleep environment.
Your habits and behaviors have an even more significant impact on your ability to sleep. To start your night out right by:
Developing a Calming Bedtime Routine: A routine helps your body know when to release melatonin and gives you a chance to relieve tension and stress before bed.
A Consistent Bedtime: By keeping a consistent bedtime, your body can acclimate itself to your schedule, and your brain will learn when to start your sleep cycle.
Avoiding Stimulants: Stimulants like caffeine ingested within four hours a bedtime can block melatonin. Stop drinking caffeine early in the afternoon to give it plenty of time to get out of your system.
Together, acupuncture and healthy sleep habits can provide a healthy way to manage stress. Less stress means a happier healthier you.
About the author:
Learn more about the author Amy Highland at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.