Does Acupuncture Work to Treat Insomnia?
Feeling exhausted after running a marathon or topping a mountain is exhilarating, but exhaustion after a sleepless night can drain your energy entirely. Insomnia occurs in 40% of adults. People diagnosed with insomnia “may feel tired, tense, lazy, or have delayed reactions, distraction, or headache”. On top of that, research demonstrates a relationship between inadequate sleep and higher body mass indices in adults and increased appetite and insulin resistance. To recap, sleeplessness leaves you drained of energy, distracted, and hungry. Awful, right?
If you have experienced insomnia, you may have started by adding chamomile tea at nighttime. Or perhaps, you’re using over-the-counter sleep medication, but still wake even more tired in the morning from that medication. There are also prescription medication options, which often do not cure the insomnia and can lead to dependence.
The good news is acupuncture and the full range of Chinese medicine can successfully treat insomnia. In 46 randomized trials with 3,811 participants suffering from insomnia, benefits of acupuncture were clearly shown compared that those who received no treatment, and acupuncture was performed as well as medication for sleep duration.
When discussing insomnia in Traditional Chinese medicine, we ask a number of questions about your sleep (or lack thereof). Are you having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or both? Are you having dreams all night, feeling that your mind is too busy to rest? Are you experiencing sleepless nights with dizziness or palpitations and sweaty palms or feeling hot at night? What time are you falling asleep? What time is your sleep interrupted? Are you waking up multiple times each night? We are not trying to drive you crazy, but we are assessing your particular pattern of insomnia, creating an effective treatment plan for your unique circumstances.
In addition to receiving acupuncture treatment, I always want patients to know the basics of good sleep hygiene. Regular exercise is important for helping sleep over time. Eating at regular hours and not falling asleep with an over-full stomach is ideal. Turn off your screens an hour before bedtime. Unwind.
You can soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salts to settle down, but do this an hour before bed (to avoid overheating under your duvet). Make some herbal tea, meditate, practice Yin Yoga. Then, set yourself up for comfort. Avoid neck strain by limiting pillows. If you sleep on your side, do add a pillow between your arms and knees to keep your shoulders and hips evenly relaxed.
Now, with the help of acupuncture, you can turn off your screen and enjoy a good night’s rest!
Need Help with Insomnia?
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we are committed to helping people improve their health and feel more balanced every day. Don’t let insomnia ruin your life. Contact us today to get help and make real, lasting changes.