Learn how acupuncture can help overcome this common problem
If you have difficulty falling asleep, wake-up frequently during the night or toss and turn you are experiencing symptoms of insomnia. It is estimated that 35-40% of the adult population suffers from insomnia. These individuals report difficulty maintaining sleep, spend less time in deep sleep, and suffer from sleep deprivation. Insomnia is more than just having a poor night’s sleep. As this can be frustrating for most sleepers, insomnia sufferers can attest that the real effects of months or years of poor sleeping habits are most noticeable during the daytime. Long-term effects of insomnia include physical tiredness/lethargy, an inability to concentrate or focus and emotional disturbances such as irritability or depression and anxiety. Furthermore, studies prove that individuals who get a minimum of 6-7 hours of continuous sleep per night have lower blood pressure, reduced levels of stress and inflammation, suffer from less colds and flus (enhanced immune system), have better memory and are better able to control body weight. Sleep is an important time for us to physically and mentally regenerate, restore and recover from our everyday stressors, without it we are missing out on its amazing healing capacities. All the more reason to make sure you have a restful night’s sleep.
Insomnia According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the concept of yin and yang applies to a delicate balance of opposing energies within the universe and oneself. Yin relates to stillness, darkness and cold and its energy is predominant during the nighttime. Yang relates to movement, brightness and heat and its energy is predominant during the daytime. People who have trouble sleeping are not in sync with the yin/yang energy of the universe. Their yang energies are more active at night – for example, their mind is overactive, they have vivid dreams or their bodies simply don’t feel ready to sleep. Some individuals will toss and turn in bed all night while others will get out of bed to do household chores or go on the computer. These activities stimulate your senses, affect your hormones and further perpetuate the sleepless cycle.
Insomnia disorders fall into two main patterns in TCM – mainly Heart and/or Liver disharmonies. The heart organ houses your Shen (mind). If your heart is imbalanced it cannot contain your Shen which causes excessive dreaming, overthinking, anxiety, ruminating thoughts, poor memory and heart palpitations. On the other hand, if your Liver is imbalanced you will exhibit signs of impatience, irritability, headaches, red eyes and dizziness. It is important to determine the exact organ imbalance that is the root cause for your insomnia. During your acupuncture session we will thoroughly discuss your symptoms and any other contributing factors to figure out how to provide the best treatment for you.
Insomnia According to Western Medicine
From a Western Medicine viewpoint, the hormone melatonin is partly responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering our body temperature, signaling to our bodies that it’s time to sleep. Individuals who suffer from insomnia tend to have lower nocturnal outputs of melatonin. A 2004 study on the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia concludes that acupuncture increases endogenous nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety by resetting one’s circadian rhythm (Spence et al, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 2004;16:19-28). Acupuncture helps to regulate an individual’s sleep-wake cycle by causing the body to release its own natural melatonin at the appropriate time of day (as seen by increases in secretion from the pineal gland, the hypocampus and serum biomarkers). This is beneficial to the patient because acupuncture produces a long-term, sustainable effect on the body that cannot be achieved with melatonin supplements or medication.
Book Your Acupuncture Appointment Today!
Acupuncture is a widely used remedy for insomnia and is becoming increasingly popular as individuals who have developed a high tolerance for medication are looking for a permanent solution for their sleep issues. Regular treatments will gradually correct your insomnia and allow you to enjoy the wonderful benefits a good night’s sleep has to offer.
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