Stress is common, and we all encounter stressors every day. There is no escaping stress — but it is possible to change the way you deal with it. Healthy sleep habits, acupuncture, and other stress relievers can help you cope with stress in a more healthier way.
Adults in America are Regularly Stressed
Many adults in America feel stressed on a regular basis. Responsibilities, health, and lifestyle are common sources of stress. In a study from the American Psychological Association, money and work are the top two sources of stress, and family responsibilities are third. Chronic illness and mental health contribute as well.
Stress can have a significant impact on physical and mental health. Nearly 40 percent of adults say they overeat or eat unhealthy foods due to stress. Almost one-third of adults say their physical and mental health is impacted strongly by stress.
How Sleep Affects Stress
Stress and sleep deprivation often occur together, and it’s believed that both stress and sleep deprivation impact your moods. Inadequate sleep may increase the intensity of stress responses, or it may interact with stressors in a more complicated way.
In a recent study, people who were sleep deprived reported greater subjective stress, anxiety, and anger than those who were rested. However, this was in response to low-level stress conditions. High-stress conditions were about the same for both sleep deprived and rested people. The study suggests the psychological threshold for stress perception lowers with sleep deprivation. In short, a small stressor, like spilling your coffee, seems much worse if you’re sleep deprived.
Using Acupuncture to Manage Stress
Research indicates acupuncture can be used to treat anxiety. A study of rats indicates that rats who were exposed to stress and treated with acupuncture returned to normal stress levels, lowering the stress response.
Acupuncture may help you sleep better at night too. A study of anxious adults with insomnia showed that five weeks of acupuncture led to sleep improvements. After treatment, subjects showed a significant increase in melatonin at night as well as improvement in falling asleep, waking up, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. They also experienced reductions in anxiety.
Managing Stress With Sleep and Acupuncture
Stress is difficult to avoid, but you can manage your response to stress. Using healthy sleep habits, acupuncture, and other treatments can help you better deal with day to day stress as well as major stressful events.
Practice healthy sleep habits. Healthy sleep hygiene can help you get the rest you need at night. Keep a regular sleep schedule and follow a consistent bedtime routine each night. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals, and vigorous exercise at night. Limit screen time, stopping the use of devices at least one hour before bed.
Get help for sleep disorders. If you or a partner that is sharing your mattress suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, it’s important that you get treatment. Chronic sleep disorders can rob you of the sleep you need to function at your best and stay healthy — and a sleep disorder can put you at risk for conditions including obesity, diabetes, and depression. Talk to your doctor about how you can get treatment for sleep disorders and sleep better at night.
Get acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for difficulties with sleep, stress, and anxiety. Talk to your acupuncturist about stress or issues with sleep so they can recommend the right treatment for your needs.
Practice relaxation techniques. Focus on helping yourself feel more calm with relaxation techniques. Meditation, aromatherapy, journaling, and other relaxation practices can reduce your stress and help you sleep better at night. Yoga can be particularly effective for relieving work stress.