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  • Writer's pictureIoana Todoran

Minimize Stress and Promote Sleep With Acupuncture

Stress is a part of daily life. Eight in 10 Americans feel stress sometimes or frequently during their day. Women, people aged 30 to 49, those with annual household incomes less than $30,000, employed, and parents with children under 18 experience higher rates of stress than others.

Typical sources of stress include the future of our nation, money, work, current political climate, violence, and crime.

Stress is a natural reaction, offering a boost of energy, an elevated heart rate, and an increase in blood pressure to help you deal with threats or challenges. But when you're faced with stress throughout the day every day, your health may be affected by symptoms including:

  • Headaches

  • Overeating

  • Smoking

  • Increased cardiovascular risk

Stress can make it difficult to sleep, with many adults with stress reporting they don't sleep enough because their minds are racing. Teens and young adults are especially susceptible to the effect of stress on sleep, with 35 percent of teens reporting stress causes them to lie awake at night. Thinking of the things they need to do or did not get done keeps 31 percent of Millennials, and 27 percent of Gen Xers awake at night.

But reducing your stress levels -- or improving your management of stress -- can lower your risk of heart disease and make it easier to sleep well at night.

Using Acupuncture to Relieve Stress

Acupuncture can help you with stress management. Experts believe acupuncture offers protection against the stress response. Although acupuncture can't stop stressful events from happening, it can help you face stressors with decreased anxiety and relieve distress.

A meta-analysis of clinical trials on treating anxiety with acupuncture indicates effective outcomes for acupuncture therapy for anxiety disorders. In fact, acupuncture offers treatment with fewer side effects than conventional therapies, such as hypnotic medications.

Another study found acupuncture improved stress levels as well as sleep. Acupuncture treatment was effective for relieving depression, stress, and improving sleep quality in elderly populations.

Other Methods of Stress Reduction

In addition to acupuncture, there are many ways to relieve stress.

  • Focus on better sleep. Poor sleep can be a consequence of feeling stressed, but getting enough quality sleep at night can alleviate the effects of stress. Many people report an increase in stress when their sleep quality decreases. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, sleeping on a mattress that supports your sleeping position, and avoiding sleep pitfalls like late night caffeine, screen time, and heavy meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Relaxation methods that alleviate stress can make it easier to sleep well if anxiety keeps you up at night.

  • Deal with the cause of stress. Journal your thoughts to identify what's causing you the most stress and come up with a plan to address it. You can prioritize your commitments and cut back on tasks, ask for help from others, or develop more reasonable expectations for yourself or others.

  • Exercise. Getting exercise throughout the day can help you sleep better and naturally enhance your mood by increasing endorphin production. A daily walk or workout can help you reduce your stress levels.

  • Nurture strong relationships. Although difficult relationships can be a source of stress, relationships with family and close friends can help you manage stress. You can lean on those you trust for support, ideas, or an opportunity to vent when you're feeling overwhelmed.

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