Are you desperate to obtain a good night’s sleep?
Are you looking to improve your sleep without the reliance on anti-depressants and their side effects?
Are you tired of just treating the symptoms and wished you could find someone who could really treat the person and not just the symptoms?
Unfortunately drug commercials tout a simple clear cut answer for insomnia problems. In 2005 almost $300 million was spent promising the public better rest and a fuller life, and America bought it. A record 43 million sleeping pill prescriptions were filled in 2006. Television commercials have managed to reduce insomnia to a simple message, “Can’t sleep? Take a pill.” But this disorder is very complex and can have multiple and varying causes and cannot be dismissed with a cure all approach. Insomnia often presents major challenges to treatment.
For example, insomnia is a by product of other health conditions. Other health conditions can spill into the realm of insomnia such as:
Desperate to find help to their sleeping disorders, many are finding help with acupuncture for sleeping disorders and using Chinese medicine for their insomnia.
Over stimulation of the nervous system is the cause of many types of insomnia:
So you are trying to get a good night’s sleep. Maybe you’ve tried melatonin, tryptophan, anti-depressant medications, but it does not seem to help or have any effect. You’re tired, you’re frustrated… You are not alone. Did you know:
Acupuncture and related Chinese herbs and supplements can help rev down the body so it is not constantly over stimulated, allowing your body to get needed re-balancing and to get the rest you need. With some modifications and lifestyle changes, your body can make huge strides in changing this pattern before the mold is set and your body behaves this way habitually.
In chronic cases of insomnia, your body has gone beyond the point of over stimulation into the exhaustion phase. Not getting the help and support it needs, your body’s reserve energy is sapped and without sleep, the body cannot produce the proper hormonal responses necessary to cope with stressful stimuli. As a result, the body succumbs to stress. This means poor sleep, low energy, low libido, sweet cravings or cravings for salty foods such as potato chips, weight gain, loss of stamina and verve for life, lack of motivation, prone to depression. Other health problems may surface too such as lowered immune system (increased allergies, chronically getting sick in the winter), obesity, and hypertension. This situation is not only dangerous in the realm of sleep, but it also means your immune system is not as resilient, so you are more prone to heart attacks, heart enlargement and arrhythmia for example.
The deeper problem of exhaustion needs to be addressed to adequately treat insomnia. Complications of insomnia also need to be managed. Fighting for every inch of restoration can slowly restore the body to some level of normalcy. This can be accomplished with acupuncture treatments, proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and supplements/herbs to help fill this deficit of energy. This is the most difficult type to treat because exhaustion at this level does not resolve itself that quickly. Treatments will need to be more ongoing, but with patience we can try and re-establish reserve energy and restoration to re-establish a functional circadian rhythm.
Top Reasons People Use Acupuncture for Insomnia
1. Acupuncture reduces stress: Insomnia is caused mainly by stress. Acupuncture is known to calm down the nervous system. It is a therapeutic practice which allows the body to rest and heal. Acupuncture can regulate the heart rate and increase and improve blood circulation. As the body relaxes, stress and anxiety melt away, allowing you to sleep and rest once again.
2. Acupuncture helps you regulate your sleep wake cycles.
3. There are no side effects nor problems with addiction. Antidepressants and other pharmaceutical solutions offer hope but also have unwanted side effects. Since there is no medication injected from the needles into the body, acupuncture does not have these major side effects. Rather, the needles send subtle signals to the brain causing the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters which your body makes to help one relax and feel good.
Acupuncture can be used if medication for sleeping problems are being taken. There is no interaction with any medication. If you are on a blood thinner, it may cause more bruising and bleeding when needles are removed. If you are on blood thinners or especially afraid of needles, Japanese needles with their thinner gauge, can be used to minimize these side effects and fears.
4. Acupuncture reduces chronic pain. Chronic pain sufferers can attest that they rarely sleep soundly through the night because of pain and constant shifting in bed. Acupuncture helps to reduce pain thus allowing you to feel comfortable enough to sleep more soundly.
The Evidence Behind Acupuncture for Insomnia
A preliminary report found that in patients with anxiety, acupuncture increased nighttime melatonin production and total sleep time. The patients who received acupuncture also fell asleep faster, were less aroused at night, and were less stressed. The researchers 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 researchers found that, “Sleep activity and sleep quality significantly improved following 5 weeks of individualized acupuncture…”
Other studies have shown that acupuncture works for people without health problems, too. A study in 1999 found that acupuncture improved sleep quality in normal people with insomnia. Sleep hackers, pay attention!
Another benefit of acupuncture is relief from chronic pain, which is a common contributor to sleeplessness. My extensive self-testing confirms these findings. I started using acupuncture to improve my mental performance, and found that it noticeably improved my sleep quality as well. In fact, I’m at my most productive on the days I do acupuncture, both at work and in bed when it’s time to sleep.
My extensive self-testing confirms these findings. I started using acupuncture to improve my mental performance, and found that it noticeably improved my sleep quality as well. In fact, I’m at my most productive on the days I do acupuncture, both at work and in bed when it’s time to sleep.
If you’re interested in trying acupuncture to improve your sleep, here are the steps you need to take:
Give the process an honest effort, and at least several treatments before you decide if it helps or not. Sometimes it takes several weeks before you notice major changes, and other times the improvements are immediate and lasting. Be realistic!
Find the right acupuncturist. Acupuncture is more than just needles. You need to be able to relate to the acupuncturist as a person.
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 Lazerus D. “Sleep.” San Francisco Chronicle March 1, 2006; C-1.