We’ve all been there — sleepless nights. When it happens regularly, it can have serious consequences to one’s health — in fact, it can affect all areas of one’s life. Whether it’s due to a hectic schedule and the wheels that won’t stop turning, poor lifestyle choices, or an emotional crisis, a sleep disorder is never cause for celebration.
A sleep disorder is a disruption of the body’s natural sleep patterns. It can be caused by a large number of problems, including night terrors, stress, grinding of the teeth, or sleep apnea. In many instances, there is nothing that can be pinpointed as the cause for the inability to fall asleep or remain sleeping. Though there are many disorders that affect the quality and/or quantity of sleep, they’re usually lumped under the label of “insomnia.”
Treatment for sleep disorders is based on the specifics of the patient and the diagnosis, family and medical history as well as the patient’s overall emotional health. Also important to factor in is the age of the patient; treatment for children with sleep disorders will be different from that for adults who have the same symptoms. Looking into diet issues, as well as the body ph (acid/base balance) can be helpful.
Acupuncture is helpful and relevant for treating all sleep problems. A preliminary report in 2004 found that in patients with anxiety, acupuncture increased night time 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.” This is excellent news, as many prescription drugs for insomnia are addictive and cause drowsiness or dizziness the next day, and come with other side effects.
In acupuncture, we reduce the tension in the upper body which will help TMJ and teeth grinding. It also helps with numbness to the hands that can show up early in the morning. Some people wake up so very tired! It is better to wake up rested, and acupuncture treats point sites that affect that. There are other point sites which are chosen depending upon the time of night you tend to fall asleep or wake up. This is because the meridian energy systems involved have their high tides and low tides at certain 2-hour intervals.
Acupuncture combined with lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Luckily most people experience improvement quickly, with few treatments. Before turning to prescription drugs, give acupuncture a try! It might be the answer you’re (about to be) dreaming of!
For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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J Neuropsychiatry Clinical Neuroscience 2004 Winter;16(1):19-28.
Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report.
Spence DW, Kayumov L, Chen A, Lowe A, Jain U, Katzman MA, Shen J, Perelman B, Shapiro CM.