Insomnia involves problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. In this article, the term ‘insomnia’ refers to poor quality of sleep with symptoms occurring at least 3 times per week over a period of 1 or more months.
Anyone can suffer with insomnia. In fact, the condition is so prevalent in today’s world, that it is said to affect up to 30-40% of all adult Americans within any given year. The rates of this condition however, tend to be higher among the elderly and with women.
Studies have shown that rates of sleeplessness tend to increase with age and that women can suffer with insomnia in connection with their menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause. It is important to remember though, that Insomnia can be a disorder in its own right, as well as a symptom of some other, more serious disease or condition.
Left untreated, short-term, or acute insomnia, which can last for 1 or several nights, can develop into long-term, or chronic insomnia, which can go on for months, or even years in some cases.
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The symptoms of insomnia can manifest in several ways:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Sleeping lightly
- Waking up throughout the night
- Waking up early
- Difficulty falling back asleep after waking up
- Waking up and not feeling rested or refreshed
Each of these symptoms can have a negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, be it physical, mental, and/or emotional. The physical and mental fatigue that often accompany this disorder can affect a person’s activities during waking hours in a severe way, leading to daytime drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, and tension headaches.
Left untreated, insomnia can lead to further health issues, complications, and illness. In fact, current research shows that insomniacs suffer with poorer overall health than do non-sufferers, and that they also suffer a higher incidence of depression.
Treatment of insomnia with pharmaceuticals however, does not always resolve the problem, and such therapies can often come with harmful and unwanted side effects. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a particularly effective treatment for insomnia that is a safe, non-pharmaceutical alternative for those who suffer with sleep disorders and want to avoid the problems of dependency and side effects associated with the use of medications and pharmaceuticals. Some reports have suggested up to a 90% success rate with certain acupuncture procedures when used in the treatment of insomnia.
Although originating thousands of years ago in ancient China, acupuncture is today a well-known, effective, and proven healing modality that is practiced worldwide. Acupuncture therapy is administered through the insertion of hair-thin needles into very specific acupuncture points located all around the body.
Relaxation techniques and exercise can also be helpful in the treatment of insomnia. Meditation, qigong, tai chi, and yoga are all healthy and natural techniques that can go a long way in helping to promote a deeper state of sleep by reducing some of the daily stress that can be contributing to the problem.
Just as important, it is necessary to establish and maintain healthy sleep habits:
- Do not sleep or nap during the day
- Do not go to bed until you are noticeably drowsy or tired
- Set your alarm clock to wake you up at the same time every day (including weekends)
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex (no TV, eating, reading, studying, lounging, etc.)
- maintain a peaceful, quiet, and comfortable bedroom atmosphere that is conducive to sleep (room temperatures and lighting are important factors)
- Avoid consumption of caffeinated beverages, especially during afternoon and evening hours
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine close to bedtime
- Refrain from any stimulating activities and strenuous exercises prior to going to bed
- If you are unable to fall asleep quickly, simply get out of bed and go to another room until you feel tired enough to go back to bed
- If awoken during the night, do not look at the clock or worry about the time, simply roll over and try to go back to sleep
Natural remedies with acupuncture can be a highly effective form of insomnia relief, especially when combined with the suggestions outlined above.
It is always best to consult with a medical doctor when suffering with insomnia or any other health condition, but more and more medical doctors are applauding and supporting the use of natural remedies and referring their patients for acupuncture treatments.
If you or someone you know is suffering with insomnia, please contact me to consider acupuncture as a possible solution to the problem.