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Sometimes, sleep is the best medicine. Acupuncture for sleep can help you make the most of it. 

Quality sleep rejuvenates the body, regulates mood, supports healthy digestion and energy creation, and fortifies the immune system – all setting the foundation for vibrant health. 

On the other hand, poor sleep is the nemesis of well-being. If you’ve ever fumbled and grumbled through the day after a bad night, you’ve experienced the short-term effects of poor sleep. But a chronic lack of quality sleep has also been linked to more severe health issues, from cognitive decline to heart disease to diabetes.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle to sleep well regularly, don’t worry. Sleep is a lifestyle habit that you can improve. With acupuncture for sleep, you can change the sleep game in your favor.

Oriental Medicine and Sleep 

Oriental medicine sees sleep as a reflection of the state of balance within the body. Sleep disturbances can arise when our Yin and Yang energies are out of sync. Yin represents the cool, restful, and passive energy, while Yang represents the warm, active, and energetic aspect. 

At night, Yin should be dominant, allowing for restful sleep. But, various factors can disrupt this balance, leading to sleep disturbances: 

  • Overthinking 
    In Oriental Medicine, overthinking, especially when chronic, is believed to quickly deplete our energy. This not only affects our mind’s clarity and concentration but can lead to an overall weakness that sabotages the other organ systems in the body – including those that manage sleep cycles. This then results in insomnia or restless sleep. 
  • Stress and Overwork
    Stress and overwork can lead to burnout, which generates heat and stagnation in the body. This can lead to a hyperactive state, where calming down and transitioning into a restful sleep becomes challenging. As Dr. Ko explains, “when stress causes internal heat to rise to the brain which makes the balance between the upper and lower body imbalanced, which causes sleep issues.” 
  • Poor Diet
    What you eat plays a crucial role in how you feel, and even how you sleep. A diet high in sugar, fats, and processed foods is believed to create imbalances in the body that can offset your natural sleep cycle. Overeating, consumption of cold, raw, greasy foods, or excessive intake of spicy and hot foods can also cloud the mind, obstruct the flow of Qi, and disrupt the Yin-Yang harmony, making it difficult to fall into that deep, restorative sleep. Dr. Ko reminds us that “If you are feeling mentally or emotionally sensitive, consuming stimulants such as caffeine may cause sleep problems.” 
  • Lack of Exercise
    Daily movement helps maintain our balance of Yin and Yang in the body and keep our Qi flowing. If we live a sedentary lifestyle, however, we’re likely to develop issues related to stagnation – such as frustration, irritability, and hyperactive mind –  that hinder the ability to relax and sleep.


How Acupuncture Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Struggling to get a good night’s sleep? It could be leaving you more than just tired – a lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues. 

“Unfortunately, while temporary treatment with sleeping pills is possible, there are various side effects caused by sleeping medicine, and people become addicted to sleeping medicine and become dependent on them. And even if you stop taking sleeping medicine, it is difficult to sleep again, so you end up taking sleeping medicine again, repeating the vicious cycle,” Dr. Ko explains. 

“From the perspective of Oriental Medicine, the upper body has yang energy, and the lower body has ‘YIN (陰)’ energy. When the element of insomnia is added to the upper body, sleep becomes problematic because heat increases further. It can be used as a treatment for sleep by maintaining the balance of upper, lower, yin, and yang, which are the main principles of acupuncture, and reducing fever.”

If you’ve tried everything from counting sheep to over-the-counter sleep aids, it’s time to think outside the box. Acupuncture is an effective sleep remedy that can also support whole body well-being (without the risk of side effects). 

Let’s learn how acupuncture for sleep can help you fall into a healthier sleep rhythm: 

  • Acupuncture Regulates the Sleep Cycle
    When you’re struggling to fall asleep, it’s likely because your nervous system is stuck in “fight or flight” mode. Acupuncture helps regulate the nervous system and encourages you to switch more easily into “rest and digest” so you can fall asleep. It does so by releasing neurotransmitters that normalize sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. 
  • Acupuncture Reduces Stress and Anxiety
    Many of our sleepless nights are caused by mental stress. By moderating the stress response and releasing pent-up tension, acupuncture promotes a smoother transition into deep, uninterrupted sleep. 
  • Acupuncture Balances Hormone Levels
    Our sleep cycles are dictated by levels of hormones, like melatonin and cortisol. Unfortunately, irregular schedules, stress, and other factors can throw these hormones out of balance. Acupuncture helps support a natural and healthy hormone balance, stimulating these chemical messengers to self-regulate and restore a healthy sleep cycle. 
  • Acupuncture Enhances Relaxation
    Certain acupoints are well-known to trigger relaxation and a deep sense of calm. You’ll experience this effect both during your acupuncture treatment, and at bed time as acupuncture helps rewire your brain for relaxation. Over time, this can help improve sleep duration and quality. 
  • Acupuncture Alleviates Physical Pain
    Nagging nighttime pains are a common cause of lost sleep. And unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can cause the pain to continue or even worsen as the body needs rest to heal. By addressing the pain from the root with acupuncture, we can restore your comfort and welcome a restful sleep. 

5 Oriental Medicine Tips for More Restful Nights

The most effective way to improve your sleep is with regular acupuncture visits. But, there are other habits you can try at home to make even faster progress. Embrace these practices inspired by Oriental Medicine to enjoy more tranquil nights: 

  1. Set Your Bedtime Earlier
    According to Oriental Medicine, it’s best to fall asleep between 9 pm and 11 pm. This timing aligns with the body’s internal clock, which supports the natural repair processes of your vital organs and promotes emotional well-being. 
  2. Enjoy an Evening Foot Bath
    Soaking your feet in warm water before bed is a simple yet profound sleep ritual. The warmth encourages blood flow away from an active mind to the lower extremities, which promotes effortless mental and physical relaxation.  
  3. Try Acupressure and Self-Massage
    Certain acupoints are known to calm the mind and promote peaceful sleep. Try pressing on the points Shenmen, Anmian, and Neiguan for a mini acupressure session at home. Or, give yourself a gentle foot massage or body gua sha treatment to melt stress before bed.   
  4. Sip a Soothing Herbal Tea
    Swap your current nightcap for a mug of warming herbal tea. Not only does the warmth of tea soothe your mind and body, but certain herbs are known for having sleep-inducing effects. Look for teas like chamomile, valerian root, passionflower, or peppermint. Goji and red date tea can help support qi and blood and soothe the mind.   
  5. Enjoy “Analog” Activities
    One recommendation Dr. Ko has is to avoid the modern conveniences that may be wreaking havoc on our sleep quality: “In modern life, people are overexposed to electromagnetic waves due to excessive use of smartphones. Sleep quality has declined, and daily stress is also a major cause of insomnia. Freeing yourself from all fast and convenient devices for a while and spending your daily life in analog mode can also improve the quality of your sleep.”

Rise and Shine with 120 Acupuncture Clinic 

Whether you’re tired of lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, or simply want to feel more like your best self during your waking hours, acupuncture for sleep can help.

Dr. Ko and the team at 120 Acupuncture Clinic in Studio City, Los Angeles are here to help you restore your balance and naturally slip into a restorative sleep, every night. Book your appointment today, or call us at 1-818-980-7979 to get started. 

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