Sleep is essential for survival and optimal mental and physical function. But what if you can’t get the amount or quality of sleep your body needs to look and feel its best? What if you lay in bed for hours at a time and can’t get any shuteye? I’ve been there, and it made me grumpy, tired and discouraged (just ask my kids!)
Finally, I decided to try something crazy to help me sleep. Someone told me that acupuncture can help you get the best sleep of your life, and I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. It changed my life and helped me finally get quality sleep at night. I decided it was shellfish to keep this secret to myself, so I’m sharing it with you. Here’s what you should know about acupuncture, what it is, and how it may help you get the sleep your body and mind need.
What Is Acupuncture?
If you’ve ever seen acupuncture depicted on TV, it might have made your stomach turn a little. Needles sticking out haphazardly from a person’s body isn’t a great look, right? I thought so, too. What I didn’t know is that those needles are very thin and you can barely feel them penetrating your skin. How deep they’re inserted into your body depends on the area being treated. In areas with a lot of fat, the needles can be inserted deeper than in areas with very little fat.
Another myth I believed about acupuncture is that the person administering the treatment randomly sticks needles anywhere they want until you look like a human pincushion. In reality, acupuncture is very purposeful and exact. The acupuncturist targets very specific areas of the body based on the symptoms you’re trying to relieve. It’s a gentle and precise practice.
How Does Acupuncture Help With Sleep?
I have to mention that acupuncture may not help everyone with their sleep issues, but it is an effective treatment for many. Some studies reveal that acupuncture is effective for treating insomnia. This is great news because acupuncture doesn’t have the side effects associated with many of the sedatives prescribed to people with insomnia.
A lot more research needs to happen before we understand exactly how acupuncture helps people sleep. However, it is believed that acupuncture releases melatonin in the body. This is the hormone primarily responsible for regulating the human circadian rhythm and making you sleepy.
Another theory explains that acupuncture may stimulate blood flow to regions of the brain that are associated with sleep. This is more likely when the acupuncture is done on the affected person’s scalp. These are just theories, but it’s clear that acupuncture somehow helps many people achieve deep and restorative sleep when they were at the end of their rope.
Sleep Pressure Points
There are certain pressure points in the body associated with sleep. They include the Shenmen point (located on the wrist, just below the hand on the pinky finger side), the Yongquan point (found near the center point of the sole of the foot), and the Baihui point (the highest point of the head). Good acupuncturists know how to target these points and insert the needles to the appropriate point for your needs.
It may sound crazy, but acupuncture is one of the best things I tried for my sleep issues. If you struggle to get to sleep at night or the quality of your sleep is poor, acupuncture may help. Of course, it’s also important to rule out other problems such as sleep apnea that may be obstructing your oxygen intake at night. But if there is no obvious cause for your sleep issues, you have nothing to lose by trying acupuncture, and you have great sleep to gain!