Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbs can help with insomnia and sleep issues. Do you find yourself tossing and turning, or staring at the ceiling at night instead getting the sleep you need? Do you find that your mind is ‘racing’ at night and you are unable to turn off the thoughts and get to sleep?
According to a number of reports there are more than 64 million Americans who are regularly suffering from insomnia.
What Is Insomnia
Insomnia is not an actual disease but a symptom of one of several sleep disorders. Insomnia affects both men and women, however research has shown that insomnia is 1.4 times more common in women than in men.
Insomnia is defined as ‘difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both’ and it may be due to inadequate quality, or quantity of sleep. With insomnia and inadequate sleep issues, it is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. While losing a little sleep once in awhile may only make a person tired the following day, the person might still be able to function. But if a person is chronically not getting enough rest, then very quickly they can become functionally impaired, and they end up being so tired that they unable to think clearly enough to handle their work and other daily tasks. Also a person’s overall health becomes affected when there is a chronic sleep and rest deficiency.
While it might seem to some that ‘poking a person with sharp needles’ might not seem like the most effective way to improve sleep, or that it is a little strange, these impressions can be misleading.
Acupuncture and Insomnia
When insomnia is a patient’s main complaint an Acupuncturist will focus on the Heart, Liver, Spleen or Kidney organs and energy meridian channels. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Heart and Liver both house a specific aspect of the spirit or ‘shen’. When these two organs are out of balance, the spirit may wander from not being ‘housed properly’. Chinese Medicine theory also indicates when the Spleen is injured, the subsequent blood deficiency will lead to insomnia. The Kidneys are in charge of generating the Yin fluids, or ‘calming aspects’ of the body. When the Kidneys are disrupted, there will be more ‘relative heat’ at night, causing insomnia.
Additionally Western medical research has shown that Acupuncture is associated with a significant nocturnal increase in melatonin secretion and therefore reduces insomnia and anxiety. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and is important in the regulation of the circadian rhythms of several biological functions, including sleep.
Western medicine research found that Acupuncture increased night-time melatonin production and total sleep time for patients with anxiety. The patients who received Acupuncture also fell asleep faster, were less likely to re-awake during the night, and were less stressed. Some Western medicine researchers have concluded that, “Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.”
Another study found that Acupuncture improves sleep quality in patients with HIV, among whom sleep disturbance is a common problem. The Western medicine researchers found that, “Sleep activity and sleep quality significantly improved following 5 weeks of individualized acupuncture.”
Depending on the individual, Traditional Chinese Herbs may also be used to aid with the improvement of a person’s sleep. Traditional Chinese Herbs are not habit forming, and are unlike many of their Western Medicine counterparts that are commonly used to improve sleep.
Acupuncture Helps With Sleep Even If You Are Not Having Acute Sleep Problems
Other Western medicine studies have shown that Acupuncture also works well for people without health problems, just as well as those patients suffering with chronic insomnia. Some studies have found that Acupuncture improved sleep quality in normal people as well.
Another benefit of Acupuncture is relief from chronic pain, which is a common contributor to sleeplessness. Additionally a person who is receiving Acupuncture treatments, even if only a few times annually, will most usually be able to better manage their stress, which helps over-all with being able to sleep better.
If you are finding you have a difficult time getting adequate sleep, or that the sleep you do get is not of a good enough quality that your body is regularly feeling rested, or that you are unable to function at your optimum, give our offices a call and set up an appointment.
We look forward to helping you on your continuing road to good health.