Acupuncture for Insomnia | Calgary Acupuncture

De-stress with Good Sleep Habits and Acupuncture

calgary acupuncture clinicStress is a natural part of life, but in a fast-paced world, it can quickly spin out of control. From the food you eat to how much you sleep you get at night can impact not only your stress levels but how you handle stressful circumstances. Reducing stress requires examining your life as a whole to see what behaviors and treatments can bring balance to your life.

Recognize and Stop the Stress-Sleep Deprivation Cycle

Stress and sleep have a tumultuous relationship. You need a full seven to eight hours of sleep for your body to function at its best physically, mentally, and emotionally. Have you ever laid awake thinking about a big meeting in the morning or the argument you had with your teenager after dinner? Stress interferes with your ability to sleep.

Unfortunately, lack of sleep can increase your stress levels and make it more challenging to manage your emotions. When you’re sleep deprived, the emotional center of your brain, the amygdala, becomes more sensitive to negative emotions and stimuli. While the amygdala goes to work, the part of the brain responsible for higher order thinking and reasoning shows a decrease in activity.

The cycle between stress and sleep loss can continue to build until, rather than feeling stressed about the day’s events, you can become stressed about falling asleep. Before you get stressed about your stress, there are ways to break the stress-sleep deprivation cycle that don’t involve potentially addictive medications.

Manage Stress Without Medication

A good place to start stress management is with better sleep. Good sleep hygiene, which is all the habits and behaviors in your life that influence the quality of your sleep, can make a big difference in how you feel, think, and act. You can set yourself up for a better night’s sleep by:

  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule

  • Turning off electronic devices two hours before bed

  • Eating a well-balanced diet

  • Exercising regularly

  • Developing a bedtime routine

  • Increasing your exposure to natural light

  • Making sure your mattress is comfortable, especially if you’re sharing a bed with a partner

Natural methods or treatments used along with good sleep hygiene can also help, consider:

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture uses the strategic placement of tiny needles to relax both the mind and body. It has been found to reduce anxiety while increasing the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

  • Yoga: Regularly practicing yoga reduces stress by causing a decrease in the number of proteins in the body that cause inflammation. It can also help bring tension out of the muscles and promote relaxation.

  • Meditation: Like both acupuncture and yoga, meditation has a long tradition of helping the mind and body relax. Regular practitioners of mindfulness meditation show a thickening in the prefrontal cortex and a strengthened connection to the emotional center of the brain. This connection comes with an increased ability to focus the mind on the present moment rather than stress-causing thoughts of the past or future.

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