How to Sleep Better without Medication

How to Sleep Better without Medication

Nearly 35% of Americans are in some state of sleep deprivation. Less than seven hours of sleep per night is considered “short sleeping” by the CDC. Although some people need less sleep than others, sleep deprivation has adverse effects on the body.

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Body

Most people are aware of the common signs of being sleep deprived: feeling irritable and having slower reactions. Also, you may be more prone to get sick. Participants in a study who slept less than seven hours were nearly three times as likely to catch a cold as those who slept eight hours or more. Short sleepers are more likely to have a variety of health problems. Chronic conditions like asthma and depression are less common in those who get sufficient sleep than those who sleep less than seven hours.

Short sleeping may seem like an innocuous by-product of modern life, but it has larger health effects than many people realize. Therefore, you should consider taking steps to improve your sleep health if you don’t get enough sleep every night.

Common Causes of Insomnia

Even people who intend to improve their sleep health may have issues getting the sleep that they need. Some factors that can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep are:

  • Stress
  • Traveling across time zones
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Eating before bed

One way to get better sleep is to address these causes of poor sleep.

Alternative Treatments to Improve Sleep

Addressing stress may make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Yoga has been shown to reduce work stress and improve sleep when practiced twice weekly by nurses. Acupuncture also may reduce your stress. A rat study showed that acupuncture reduced anxiety to levels similar to that of the control group. In short, acupuncture made the rats feel as though they were not stressed in the first place.

One of the other ways to improve your sleep is to optimize your bedroom for sleep. The mattress should support your weight and proper spinal alignment. Taller and heavier people should consider a firmer mattress so that they don’t sink too deeply. In addition to having the right bed and pillow, the room can be lighted for better sleep. Blackout curtains can block out light pollution and noises that may awaken sleepers at night. A white noise machine can also drown out disruptive sounds. Using lavender scents in your room may be calming too. Think of what bothers you when you sleep and try to address it.

Making small lifestyle changes can improve your sleep and health dramatically. If sleeping well is a problem for you, you may want to consider these tips before asking for prescription medications, which have some side effects and may be habit-forming. A short acupuncture treatment or yoga session may be enough to help you sleep better.

Acupuncture treatment: What are the health benefits?


Acupuncture treatment has been used for approximately 3,000 years as part of traditional Chinese medicine, according to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Acupuncturists use thin, sterile needles to precisely stimulate acupuncture points on your body. Although some may be a bit wary of the practice, it’s primarily used to relieve pain, and it has other health benefits, too, such as treating allergies, headaches and asthma. Best of all, it’s covered by many health insurance policies.


How much do we know about acupuncture?

➡ How much do we know about acupuncture? There have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture, especially for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headache. However, researchers are only beginning to understand whether acupuncture can be helpful for various health conditions.

➡ What do we know about the effectiveness of acupuncture? Research suggests that acupuncture can help manage certain pain conditions, but evidence about its value for other health issues is uncertain.

➡ What do we know about the safety of acupuncture? Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause serious side effects.

➡ What Is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine. See the NCCIH Web site for more information on traditional Chinese medicine.

What the Science Says About the Effectiveness of Acupuncture Results from a number of studies suggest that acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic such as low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain. It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. Therefore, acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider. However, clinical practice guidelines are inconsistent in recommendations about acupuncture.

The effects of acupuncture on the brain and body and how best to measure them are only beginning to be understood. Current evidence suggests that many factors—like expectation and belief—that are unrelated to acupuncture needling may play important roles in the beneficial effects of acupuncture on pain.

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