The autonomic nervous system and hormones of the person need to be balanced in order to become sleepy, fall asleep and preserve that sleep. Several research works have demonstrated acupuncture’s ability to uphold the balance of biological chemicals in the central nervous system and bring about the attainment of homeostasis.
Lowering stress hormones with acupuncture helps resolve insomnia
Too much work or thinking leads to chronic stress and this causes the body to manufacture more of the stress hormone known as cortisol to help us become alert during the day. Two other stress hormones, norepinhephrine and epinephrine (adrenalin) are manufactured by the body in huge amounts when we are suffering from acute stress. This type of stress is what is known as the fight/flight response. Both adrenalin and norepinhephrine can deeply impact the way we sleep. Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University observed studied the link between the stress system function to that of chronic insomnia. The researchers analyzed the urine of the participants’ for amounts of growth hormone, as well as that of their norepinephrine and cortisol in the urine and discovered that the free cortisol amount was in positive correlation to that of cumulative wake period; the amount of norepinephrine was in positive correlation to that of stage one sleep duration but in negative correlation to that of stage 3 as well as stage 4 sleep, which are sleep in their deeper stages. The sympathetic nervous system as well as the adrenals account for the disruptions of sleep in chronic insomnia. Sleep is much lighter for a person who is stressed so that person tends to wake up more often. Since acupuncture is known to be an excellent reducer of stress, it can thus lower the levels of stress hormones in the body that helps enhance deep sleep time and lower wake time. A lot of doctors are aware that when a person gets a shot of hydrocortisone, it can affect that person’s sleeping quality.
Acupuncture helps alleviate pain
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia examined the impact of chronic pain on the quality of sleep. They saw that there was nothing dissimilar between the two groups when it comes to cumulative sleep time and bedtime. But for the group experiencing chronic pain, higher indications of sleepiness during the day, late morning wake times, more occurrences of night walking and a quite longer onset of sleep latency were seen. Because acupuncture has a potent analgesic quality, it therefore, can aid persons experiencing pain to enhance their quality of sleep.
The effects of aging are significantly reduced with acupuncture
Inflammation, edema, erectile dysfunction, sleeplessness, constipation, and erratic and raised heartbeats are some of the typical signs of aging and of a weakened parasympathetic nervous system. These effects can in the process, result in the rise of many common illnesses related to the aging process including cancer, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes (Type-II). The bringing back and preservation of the parasympathetic function enhance the workings of the internal organs and retard the process of aging. Acupuncture is a therapy known to provide positive benefits to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Acupuncture can boost the sleep quality of the person by improving circulation
Researchers observed the association between insomnia and circulation. They saw that a weak blood flow to the brain results in deficient sugar levels and sudden sleep awakening. They also examined the impacts of circulation to the brain on the poor functioning of certain organs. When the pressure of blood in the head was very low (<30 mmHg on bilaterally) more than half of the subjects had differing levels of irritability, poor memory, problems in concentration, and disturbances in their sleep, often insomnia but also too much sleepiness, at times. A person can still have low blood pressure in the head even when he is hypertensive or have normal blood pressure. Some studies have demonstrated that stimulation of the GB20 and ST36 acupuncture points with electro-acupuncture can help treat insomnia in Bellingham because it can improve the flow of blood to the brain.
Acupuncture has the capacity to help the body manufacture large amounts of melatonin
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience published an article that studied the association of acupuncture treatments to that of melatonin. The researched noted a substantial boost in the secretion of endogenous melatonin in all of the 18 subjects experiencing severe insomnia who were treated with acupuncture two times each week for 5 weeks. Observations of muscular and electrical states during the entire sleeping time showed that during post-acupuncture treatments, it took a lesser amount of time than before for the subjects to fall asleep. The subjects also enjoyed fewer instances of waking up during sleep and had lesser incidence of waking while asleep. They also began to enjoy more deep sleep time. Lessened as well were their fatigue, depression and anxiety. Interesting to note was that morning alertness was decreased, as well.
To conclude, when it comes to making the most out of metabolizing and manufacturing chemicals that balance our nervous systems and affect the quality of our sleep, acupuncture can help improve the length and pattern of our sleep.
Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.