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Acupuncture and Sleep Assistance

Struggling to sleep can have negative effects on your whole life---so what can you do to help?

Sleep is a complex physical and mental state of restfulness and rehabilitation, and has large effects on the body as a whole. Disrupted or restless sleep can increase stress levels, lower metabolism, and more. If you are suffering from insomnia or are unable to achieve quality sleep, you are not alone. Many people turn to over-the-counter sleeping aids and even stronger prescription medication without first considering a more natural alternative. If you are still struggling to get good sleep, or are just interested in a more holistic option, here are some things to consider.

Commonly Used Treatments

What it is that effectively assists with sleep is different for everyone, but there are some commonly recommended options that aren't as perfect as they may seem.

Antihistamines: over the counter sleeping pills including Benadryl and Aleve PM contain antihistamines as an active ingredient. Although these can be effective for short term help (i.e. when you're sick), our bodies are able to develop a tolerance to antihistamines quite quickly when they are used frequently, so they are not a helpful long-term option.

Prescription Sleeping Medication: Prescription sleeping aids have been known to cause chemical dependency. They can be helpful for people that struggle with chronic insomnia, but because of how strong they are they can often cause people to be unable to fall asleep without them.

Melatonin: Most people’s bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. The brain begins to release melatonin mid-to-late evening and continues production throughout the night.

Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is sold over the counter as a “dietary supplement” and is a less invasive sleep aid with fewer harmful side effects. However, studies show that melatonin is really only effective when used for the short-term treatment of insomnia — such as from jet lag or from night shift work.

How to Break the Sleep-Aid Habit

  • Stick to a regular schedule. Have a set bedtime and try to be consistent as you work to regulate your sleep

  • Try to limit sleep aids to nights of necessity

  • Stay active. Exercise regularly, but not within a few hours of bedtime.

  • Don’t eat large meals or sugar before bed.

  • Try not to nap. If you really need to nap, try to keep it short, less than 45 minutes.

  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can add to sleep problems.

  • Relax. Try taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading before going to sleep.

  • Consider Acupuncture! Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) is a centuries-old practice that has proven to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment for insomnia.

There is no band-aid fix for insomnia, and it can be the result of many different underlying cause, but if you find that it is disrupting your everyday life than it might be time to make some changes!

Yours in health & wellness,

If you or someone you know is struggling to get adequate sleep, book our New Patient Special and see if Acupuncture could be right for you

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