One of the most important activities for maintaining good health is getting a good night’s sleep. During the night, our bodies are replenished after a long and often stressful day. When we reach the deep sleep state, body fluids are regenerated, organs rest, our minds go into a deeper state of relaxation and the tension is released from our muscles.
But what if sleeping is a challenge for you? Insomnia is more than tossing and turning, and presents itself in different ways. For some people, it’s the inability to fall asleep, while others may have “fragmented” sleep patterns, short periods of sleep interrupted 2 or more times per night with difficulty falling back to sleep. There are also those who are unable to reach a deep level of sleep and are woken up by the slightest noise.
Aside from the mounting frustration, poor sleepers also experience the accumulated daytime effects. These can include physical tiredness, difficulty concentrating, feeling depressed, irritable and lethargic. While these are standard symptoms of a poor night’s sleep, they are magnified by chronic conditions and can have severe setbacks in a person’s life.
An estimated 32 million people suffer from insomnia in the U.S.. It may have a number of causes, such as stress, depression or anxiety, irregular work schedules, major life changes or chronic pain. In our country sleep disruption complaints are often managed by using medications such as benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants since sedatives used in the past have shown to be highly addictive. Although helpful, there is the possibility of intolerable side effects with any of these solutions. For this reason, many people who are living with insomnia are searching for more natural solutions.
Acupuncture and herbs are an excellent alternative solution for insomnia. A study published by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (volume 13 #3, article 4) found that of all outpatients treated for insomnia, 100% who received true acupuncture treatments benefited without recurrences within 18 months of follow-up. In addition, acupuncture was found to be an effective therapeutic tool in the treatment of HIV-infected patients with sleep disruption syndromes.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine focuses on the patients individual insomnia symptoms and builds a treatment plan for solving the problem by working not only with the symptoms but by getting to the root. As sleep requirements are unique for each individual, so are their treatment plans.
Acupuncture has a calming effect on the central and sympathetic nervous systems. It clears obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, facilitates the flow of oxygen-enriched energy and relaxes the mind and spirit. It creates in you a general sense of well-being, benefits your lungs with deeper breathing and releases your brain’s natural sleep aids. Whatever the treatment plan is for a person, all of the above will contribute the final result, a great night’s sleep and better days ahead.
This post was written for AcuGuy by Karen Danish, LAP. Karen is a licensed acupuncturist and a valued staff member at Anne Hermann MD, PA.Leave a reply →