The Benefits of Acupuncture For Sleep (What Research Says?)

Acupuncture is a historic treatment dating back thousands of years, although it was first recorded in Chinese medical records, which date back to the 1300s.

Many people swear by this treatment for several reasons, including sleep hygiene, treatment of infections such as abscesses, pain relief, and stress and anxiety.

Quite often, our sleep problems result from an underlying condition, and acupuncture can help cure the condition by dealing with the primary source of the problem.

Before I had tried acupuncture for myself, I was nervous about how it would feel. After all, the thought of having needles placed into your skin doesn’t sound like a day at the spa, does it?

But after careful deliberation, plenty of research, and some reassurance from the professionals, I realized there’s nothing to be afraid of at all. With the following information, I can hopefully remove any concerns you may have.

During this guide, I will be looking at the various benefits of acupuncture, which can help improve your general sleep quality, as well as other treatments that relate to acupuncture and what you can use them for.

What is Acupuncture?

What is Acupuncture

The method of acupuncture may sound like something out of a horror movie, but in fact, it’s a painless method that has been proven to be beneficial for all kinds of health problems.

The process involves needles being inserted into the skin at points called meridians; the Chinese refer to these locations across the body as pathways within the body where your life energy flows.

Chinese medicine has always focused on the body, mind, and spirit and believes that the underlying cause needs to be addressed and understood to deal with a problem.

What do Scientists Say?

Scientists describe acupuncture as a neuromodulator. This means it relaxes the brain’s recognition of sensory signals, including pain, depression, and stress.

Although it has been proven that acupuncture can drastically reduce the symptoms of pain and other problems, there is no research that says that it directly cures conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea. However, some people claim this has worked for them.

What Acupuncture Includes?

What Acupuncture Includes

If the thing that concerns you the most about trying acupuncture for the first time is fear of the unknown, then here is a brief about what you can expect to happen during your session.

Firstly, your practitioner will likely ask you about your medical history and find out your main reasons for wanting acupuncture.

Next, they will work out what is the best form of treatment for you personally. They will do this by diagnosing the exact root of the problem, which can be anything from being unable to sleep due to stress or perhaps being uncomfortable at night with back pain that keeps you awake.

Other problems could stem from anything such as a weak bladder which wakes you up multiple times a night, or an uncomfortable sleeping environment. In these cases, your practitioner may recommend other treatments to run alongside your acupuncture and advise you on some do’s and don’ts before you go to bed to help improve your sleep.

How Can Acupuncture Aid Sleep?

As I stated previously, nothing has been solidly proven to say that acupuncture will cure anyone’s long-term sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea or insomnia. However, people who do suffer from these issues have found relief by getting to the root of the problem.

Research is forever ongoing when it comes to how acupuncture can improve sleep. Still, so far, it has been shown to significantly improve conditions such as restless leg syndrome, depression, chronic pain, and other sleep disturbances.

Below are five different ways that acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep quality.

1. Pain Relief

Pain Relief

Much research has shown that acupuncture massively reduces pain caused by several elements. So, if you’re suffering from short-term or chronic pain, this is likely to keep you awake at night. By removing the source of the pain, you will likely see a vast improvement in your sleep quality.

2. Improving The Body’s Healing Response

Improving The Body's Healing Response

According to studies, acupuncture stimulates your nervous system, which in turn can drastically improve your sleep quality.

3. Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Although nothing has been scientifically proven to say that acupuncture can cause sleep apnea, one thing that it can do, is help to strengthen the muscles in your tongue, therefore helping to reduce the chances of it interfering with your breathing during the night.

4. Promotes Relaxation

Promotes Relaxation

Of course, when you’re going to sleep, you need to be in a relaxed state. Acupuncture will help you to feel calmer and minimize stress, meaning that you might find falling asleep much more manageable.

5. Relieves Allergy Symptoms

Relieves Allergy Symptoms

If you’re someone who struggles to sleep with allergies, you will know the frustration of not being able to breathe properly in the evening.

It can be extremely frustrating. Acupuncture has been shown to significantly relieve the symptoms of many allergies, making breathing feel easier when falling asleep without having to use chemicals such as nasal sprays.

Other Treatments Similar to Acupuncture

When you first visit your practitioner to inquire about acupuncture, you may decide that it’s not for you, or they may advise you of another similar treatment that can benefit your conditioner more successfully, such as:

  • Reflexology – A massage that involves applying pressure to the hands, feet, and ears
  • Electroacupuncture – Similar to standard acupuncture, instead using electrical currents
  • Cupping Therapy – Where cups are placed on the part of the body, creating suction
  • Moxibustion – A method of burning a cone or stick made from mugwort leaves
  • Ear Seeds – Metal seeds are placed around the outer ear to stimulate other body parts
  • Acupressure – Pressure is applied along the meridian pathway

Best Place to Get Acupuncture

Best Place to Get Acupuncture

Finding someone to perform your acupuncture can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. It’s crucial that you find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with, as well as a reputable professional.

There are a few ways you can find out about the best acupuncture practitioners in your area. These are looking online, asking for recommendations in forums from people who’ve had positive experiences, or asking your doctor.

If you’re uncertain about their reputability, you can determine whether they are registered with the National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

My Final Thoughts on Acupuncture For Sleep

After reading this guide, I hope I have put your mind at ease if you have any worries or concerns about trying acupuncture for the first time.

Although there is still a lot of research to be done on the subject, and a lot is still not understood regarding acupuncture and other Chinese medicines, it is still a beneficial way to improve your general sleep quality.

Whether this is to help you with pain relief that is keeping you awake at night or because you have things on your mind that are interrupting your sleep schedule, I believe that acupuncture is a harmless, safe way to try and improve your sleep, and general health, be that mental or physical.

One of the main things to keep in mind when considering acupuncture is finding the correct practitioner, someone who is certified, medically trained, and has a good reputation. If you’re unsure where to go, be sure to speak to your doctor.

References

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!