The autonomic nervous system and hormones need to be balanced in order for a person to fall asleep and maintain it. Research works have demonstrated that acupuncture therapies can help preserve the balance of the central nervous system’s biological chemicals and bring about the restoration of homeostasis in the body.
1. Acupuncture helps lower stress hormones to resolve insomnia
Overworking, over-thinking and other factors that cause us to be under chronic stress make our body produce more cortisol in order to maintain our alertness during daytime. During a flight-or-flight situation and other events that keep us under acute stress, the body manufactures a lot of norepinephrine and adrenaline (epinephrine). These two hormones associated with stress significantly impact the quality of our sleep. A study was done in the Pennsylvania State University that evaluated the relationship of the activity of the stress system’s to that of chronic insomnia. The study’s researchers gauged the levels of growth hormones, norepinephrine, and free cortisol in the urine of the participants. They (the researchers) discovered that the levels of norepinephrine of the participants positively correlated with the length of stage 1 sleep but negative when it came to the length of stage 3 and 4 (deep) sleep; free cortisol levels, on the other hand, positively correlated with total wake time. In chronic insomnia, the stress system’s two branches (the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal gland) are responsible for the disturbances in sleep. Individuals who are stressed out experience much lighter sleep and they tend to wake up a lot frequently. The stress hormones can be lowered with acupuncture therapy which then helps decrease wake time and at the same time increases deep sleep time. Most of us know that cortisone, which we receive when we are injected with hydrocortisone, can affect our sleep.
2. Acupuncture can alleviate pain
A study to observe the effects of pain in the sleeping patterns of adolescents was undertaken at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The study showed no dissimilarities between the healthy control group and the pain group in bedtime and total sleep time. The group with individuals suffering from chronic pain, however, showed more symptoms of daytime sleepiness, later wake times in the morning, more frequent night waking, and significantly longer sleep onset latency. Since it has a known analgesic potency, acupuncture can be a good way for those with pain to get better quality of sleep.
3. Acupuncture can minimize the effects of aging
Systemic inflammation, edema (retention of fluids), erectile dysfunction, insomnia, constipation, irregular and increased heartbeats, and other telltale signs of aging are the result of a weakening parasympathetic function. They all also contribute to a lot of the illnesses related to aging, including cancer, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and type-II diabetes. The restoration and maintenance of the function of the parasympathetic can help improve functions of the internal organs which can inhibit the aging process. When it comes to improving the function of the parasympathetic nervous system, acupuncture is one of the best treatment options you can rely on.
4. Acupuncture is an excellent way to improve the circulation of blood to boost the quality of your sleep
A study was performed that observed the relationship between insomnia and blood. The researchers noted that inadequate blood circulation to the brain can lower blood sugar levels and result in spontaneous waking from sleep. The research conductors also studied the effects of blood flow to the brain and how it results in certain dysfunctions of various organs. Most of the subjects whose blood pressure in the head measured below 30 mmHg bilaterally (on both sides), experienced sleep disturbances, most especially different levels of irritability, forgetfulness even of recent events, concentration difficulties, excessive sleepiness, and insomnia. Studies have shown that electro-acupuncture therapy in the GB20 and ST36 acupoints can help resolve insomnia by helping boost blood circulation to the brain.
5. Acupuncture can maintain normal melatonin production in the body
A study that was posted in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience investigated the relationship between acupuncture treatments and melatonin production. The researchers saw that there was a substantial rise in endogenous melatonin secretion in all the 20 patients experiencing extreme insomnia who were administered with acupuncture treatments for five weeks two times a week. The monitoring of muscular and electrical states during the entire sleeping time revealed that acupuncture was able to help patients fall asleep quicker, lessened their times of waking up during sleep, and helped them experience a longer total sleeping and deep sleep time. Fatigue, depression, and anxiety were also relieved and even alertness in the morning was significantly lowered, as well.
By metabolizing and optimizing the chemicals that balance our nervous system and affect our sleep, acupuncture can maintain a person’s normal sleep duration and pattern.
Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225