By: Dr. Vikki Mcguire TCM
What is considered insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where an individual has difficulty falling asleep and/or remaining asleep through the night. Upon waking in the night, the person might then have a tough time falling back to sleep. Insomnia can be either acute, which means it’s short-lived and goes away. Acute insomnia might be due to a stressful life event, for example, a student may not be able to sleep the night before an important exam. Chronic insomnia is when a person experiences it a minimum of three nights per week lasting at least three months. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it could also include sleep that is disrupted by nightmares and dreams.
Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night and without that people can experience both a physical and mental toll, especially if the insomnia is chronic.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, insomnia can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Some causes of sleep disorders include:
- Hormonal Imbalances (peri-menopause or menopause)
- Digestive Problems
- Stress or Anxiety
- Sleep Apnea
After a full assessment, a TCM doctor will design a treatment plan to help address your sleep issue. It may include a self-care lifestyle plan, herbal recommendations, nutrition options, acupuncture and cupping treatments.
How can Acupuncture Help with Sleep?
Acupuncture is a treatment where fine needles are placed into certain points in the body that will help to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. With regards to sleep directly, acupuncture therapy can help to activate your body’s generation of the sleep hormone melatonin and works to lower overall stress and anxiety by relaxing the body, in turn sending you to sleep easier. Working with the flow of energy in the body, acupuncture can help bring back flow to areas of the body that may be obstructed or are experiencing an imbalance. Many people experience an extremely peaceful sleep immediately after an acupuncture session.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, here are a few pieces of low-hanging fruit that you can reach for to see if they make a difference:
- Get yourself on a schedule – Going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday can help your body to establish its’ circadian rhythm. This is basically an internal clock that helps tell your body when it’s sleep time, and when it’s wake time.
- Meditation – Meditation and mindfulness is a great way to help calm and relax the body to prepare it for rest and rejuvenation. If your worries tend to keep you awake, this can be especially important to help you stay present in the moment. One meditation app that gets rave reviews is The Daily Calm.
- Turn off your electronics – A combination of the light emitted from devices and the distractions that come with them can cause people to have a hard time falling asleep. Try to avoid these devices when bedtime is near.
- Aromatherapy – Lavender is probably the most popular scent of aromatherapy when it comes to helping the body relax at bedtime, but there are many others that can help too.
If you’re interested in learning more to find out whether acupuncture could be right for you, please book in with Dr. Vikki Mcguire TCM at Active Sports Therapy.
*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.