Insomnia is a sleep disorder presenting as difficulty falling asleep, waking throughout the night and having trouble going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning and/or not feeling refreshed upon waking from a night of sleep. Insomnia is classified as transient, acute, and chronic. Transient insomnia typically lasts less than a week and usually is caused by stress or changes within the sleeping environment. Acute insomnia is the inability to sleep consistently for 3 weeks or less. Whereas, chronic insomnia is the inability to sleep consistently for 4 weeks or longer.
What are the causes of Insomnia?
Stress, anxiety, worry
Irregular/erratic sleeping schedule
Uncomfortable sleeping environment
Restless leg syndrome
Hormone fluctuations (Menopause)
Some medical conditions: heart disease, hyperthyroidism, mental disorders
Insomnia can affect the body in many ways, often seen as:
Increased risk of depression & anxiety
Weight gain & obesity
Reduced sex drive
Increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease & diabetes
So how can Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture works by regulating the autonomic nervous system which in turn regulates internal organs like the heart, bladder and stomach. Such organs responsible for increasing or decreasing heart and respiratory rates, urination, sexual response and digestive function. Sleep is vital for the nervous system to work properly and acupuncture can take the body from a stressful state of “fight or flight” into a calm and peaceful state of “rest and digest.”
Acupuncture – is a safe and effective way to treat insomnia. The number of treatments required depends upon the length of time one has suffered with insomnia.
Bedtime tea from Yogi Tea – my favorite over-the-counter tea. Drink 20-30 minutes before bedtime. It’s all natural and tastes great too!
Avoid late night eating & snacking – at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Avoid stimulating activities – like watching TV, playing video games and surfing the web 2 hours before bedtime.
Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol – you consume on a daily basis and especially during the evening hours.
Include physical activity – into your daily routine, exercising a minimum of 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.
Keep a regular bedtime routine – going to bed and waking at the same time every day.
Create a restful sleeping environment – make sure the bedroom is comfortable for sleeping preferences…sound, light and temperature can have a big impact on your ability to go into a deep slumber.
Keep a sleep diary – track your sleep habits and any note any signs that you may be concerned about. Share with your doctor or health care provider.
When to consult a doctor?
You always want to keep your health care provider(s) aware of any changes to your health. If you have experienced falling asleep while operating heavy machinery or the inability to function normally you want to seek medical attention immediately.
Please note: The information posted here by Lisa Sumption, L.Ac. is NOT intended to replace consultation with a medical doctor (MD). If you have any questions regarding your health or a medical condition, you should promptly consult your physician.