INSOMNIA - How Acupuncture Helps

You settle into a warm, relaxing bed, close your eyes and nothing happens. You just can't fall asleep. Hours go by and you're still awake. The next day you feel tired, grouchy and are unable to focus. Does this sound familiar?

Sleepless nights happen to almost everyone at some point, but ongoing insomnia can indicate a deeper issue and could lead to further health concerns. Unfortunately, a common approach to treating insomnia includes prescription sleep medications, which can cause side effects or dependence.That is one of the many reasons to consider an all-natural approach to treating your sleep problems. Acupuncture can be a very effective way to improve your sleep quality without unwanted side effects.

 

Quick facts:

Tips for healthy sleep:

  • Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

  • Exercise regularly, but not within a few hours of bedtime.

  • Don't eat large meals before bed.

  • Try not to nap. If you really need to nap, try to keep it short,

       less than 45 minutes.

  • Limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

  • Relax. Wind down before going to sleep.

One bad night...or an ongoing issue? Occasional insomnia is a very common problem, affecting about 1 in 4 Americans. lt can happen to anyone, but is more common in older adults.

 

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Waking up during the night

  • Waking up too early

  • Daytime fatigue and irritability

  • Frustration and moodiness

 

Insomnia can be very frustrating, but it's more than just an annoyance. When insomnia becomes ongoing, or chronic, your body is unable to get the rest and renewal it needs for you to feel your best. In fact, a lack of quality sleep can cause problems such as difficulty concentrating, diminished energy, low mood, and trouble performing everyday tasks. Since sleep strengthens the immune system, insomnia can leave you susceptible to many other health concerns. Luckily, you have options when experiencing insomnia.

Acupuncture can help: According to the theories of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), conditions such as insomnia are a sign of an imbalance in Qi (pronounced "chee"), the vital energy that animates the body and protects it from illness.

There are three organs that are believed to be associated with insomnia. When there is an imbalance in the spleen, one may have trouble falling asleep due to overt finking. A heart imbalance can be due to anxiety, which also makes it hard to fall and stay asleep. Lastly, if the kidney and adrenal system is out of balance,

the body may be experiencing a fluctuation of cold and hot temperatures, which can be very uncomfortable.

 

These imbalances can stem from a number of causes such as stress, anxiety, medications, depression, hormones and chronic pain. To determine the underlying causes of your insomnia, your acupuncturist will take many factors into account including your lifestyle, as well as your emotional and mental well-being. He/she will then work to restore the body's natural balance and flow by inserting fine, sterile needles at specific points along the body.

Your acupuncturist may also suggest aromatherapy, yoga, meditation or other additional therapies. You may find that you sleep better after your very first session, though you will most likely receive the most benefit from a series of treatments.

Your acupuncturist can get to the root of your sleep issues by taking into account all of the factors that may be contributing to your sleep disturbance. With this ancient form of health care, you can treat your symptoms, improve your overall health and well-being, and start looking forward to a great night's sleep, every night.

Here are a few questions your practitioner may ask. They help to refine your specific diagnosis.

  • Do you have difficulty falling asleep?

  • Do you have difficulty staying asleep? Is your sleep filled with vivid dreams?

  • Is it difficult to calm your mind at night?

  • Is it difficult to sleep on your back? This can be related to an excess condition of the lung or heart meridians.

  • Do you only sleep on your back with outstretched arms? This can reflect a pattern of excess heat.

  • Do you prefer to sleep on your stomach or side? This could indicate a deficient condition.