Do you tend to sleep through your acupuncture sessions? You're not alone. In fact, many people report that their eyelids become heavy the moment the acupuncturist places the first few needles.
Will Sleeping Influence the Effects of Acupuncture?
Whether you fall asleep or remain awake during your treatment, you'll experience the same benefits. Acupuncture works by opening up blockages in the pathways that carry Qi, a vital life force, through your body. Once the blockages are eliminated, your painful or unpleasant symptoms begin to subside. Luckily, acupuncture requires no effort on your part. If you enjoy a little snooze during your session, your treatment will be just as effective. Don't worry about offending your acupuncturist by falling asleep. He or she understands that patients may fall asleep and won't mind at all if you catch up on your sleep during your appointment.
Why Does Acupuncture Make Me Feel Sleepy?
Acupuncture naturally relieves stress and anxiety and encourages relaxation, which just may make you nod off during your session. Treatments also increase production of dopamine and serotonin, two natural chemicals that enhance well-being, regulate moods, and improve sleep and memory. If your dopamine level is low, you may be more likely to feel a little depressed. Acupuncture offers a natural way to boost your moods and enhance relaxation.
Pain may interfere with your ability to rest and relax. Once pain is eliminated or reduced, falling asleep may be much easier. Acupuncture offers effective relief for many types of pain but is particularly useful in easing low-back and neck pain and pain caused by osteoarthritis in the knees, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Acupuncture doesn't just target physical problems but may also affect your emotions. As blockages clear, you may notice that you experience intense emotions. Although you'll probably feel much better after an emotional release, it's not unusual to feel a little drained. Sleep not only helps restore energy but may also improve your emotional balance.
The serene atmosphere of your acupuncturist's office is particularly conducive to sleeping. As you relax on the comfortable table and listen to soothing music, you may find it impossible to keep your eyes open.
Although stress and pain relief play contribute to your sleepiness, Chinese researchers have discovered a scientific reason why acupuncture promotes sleep. While researchers monitored their brain activity, study participants received acupuncture at the ST36 point, located along the shin bone under the knee.
The treatment increased delta brain waves, which are particularly active during stage three and four sleep. At the same time, it decreased alpha and beta waves. Alpha waves help you stay wake and improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Beta waves help you remain alert but are also associated with anxiety and stress.
After a single acupuncture session, you may notice that your sleep improves for several weeks. If you suffer from insomnia, you'll probably want to schedule regular visits with the acupuncturist to ensure that you continue to sleep well.
Acupuncture offers a drug-free way to reduce pain, lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and manage the symptoms of chronic conditions. Contact us if you're interested in improving your health with this time-tested treatment.
ResearchGate: Acupuncture Induces Divergent Alterations of Functional Connectivity within Conventional Frequency Bands: Evidence from MEG Recordings
Mayo Clinic: Acupuncture
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Acupuncture: In Depth