Home / Acupuncture and Insomnia

Acupuncture and Insomnia – The National Sleep Foundation reports that about 15% of the adult population in American is affected by chronic insomnia. That is certainly a lot of people that are going to have trouble getting through the following day! Let’s face it, if you can’t sleep or cannot get quality sleep you will not be functioning at an optimal level. This ultimately can affect every aspect of your life.

The good news is that there is a safe, effective treatment that usually works rather quickly. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture, in just a few short treatments (in most cases), can help facilitate both quality and quantity of sleep. Before we delve more into how acupuncture for insomnia works let’s discuss the types, causes and treatments for insomnia.

The Many Types of Insomnia

There are a number of ways in which insomnia manifests itself. These basically vary between quality and quantity of sleep. The condition can be described in the following ways:

Acute insomnia – It is characterized by a short episode of wakefulness after which one eventually goes to sleep. This type of insomnia is usually brought about by a life-changing event such as a traumatic occurrence, changing ones job or receiving bad news. It goes away with time and often does so without needing treatment.

Comorbid insomnia – In this case the condition occurs due to another condition. Most of the time these are psychiatric symptoms like depression and anxiety which affect sleep patterns. Some medical problems may also play a part in changing sleep cycles. People with back pain or arthritis may be so uncomfortable that they are unable to sleep well.

Maintenance insomnia – This is when a person is unable to stay asleep. When people with maintenance insomnia wake up in the course of the night they find it hard to go back to sleep.

Onset insomnia – It is normally identified by inability to fall asleep at the start of the night. This occurs even when one feels worn out and willing to rest.

Chronic insomnia – This has to do with the duration of the symptoms in an individual. One can be considered to have chronic insomnia if, for 3 months they have had sleep disruptions at least 3 times a week.

What are the causes of insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors that include the physical and psychological. In most cases sleep deprivation is caused by a medical condition. The illness may cause lack of sleep or may have symptoms that make it hard to sleep.

  1. Disrupting the circadian rhythm: things like jet lag, mood disorders, cold, heat, noise and anything that may disrupt sleep are the causes.
  2. Electronic devices: self-luminous gadgets with backlights for their displays may cause onset-insomnia. They affect melatonin levels and delay sleep.
  3. Psychological problems: disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder are usually accompanied with insomnia.
  4. A side effect to certain medications: alpha blockers, satins, corticosteroids, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and cholinesterase inhibitors are among those identified to cause insomnia.

Treatments for insomnia

As mentioned before, acute insomnia does not need treatment and usually goes away after some time. The first thing to do in an effort to treat insomnia is to adopt good sleeping habits. Sleeping the same time each night is one way. Also, stay away from nicotine, alcohol or caffeine before going to sleep. Form a routine that enables you to relax when you get to bed.

In cases where insomnia affects the activities of the day, a doctor may prescribe sleeping pills for a while. It is ill-advised to buy sleep medication over the counter since these become ineffective quickly.

Acupuncture and Insomnia

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat different pain related problems. It is also used to treat mental problems due to its calming effect. In a research carried out by Huijin Cao, M.D et al (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009 Nov; 15 (11): 1171-1186. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0041 ) the results of acupuncture for insomnia treatment were encouraging. 3811 patients were treated in a total of 46 trials with an age range of 13-85 years. The results showed 95% improvement in sleep duration showing that acupuncture was effective in the treatment of insomnia.

From a medical standpoint, acupuncture works for insomnia by regulating and balancing the body’s hormones and neurotransmitters, thereby reducing stress levels in the body. Acupuncture has been known to “quiet the mind,” enabling a person to relax and fall asleep.

If you’re having issues with insomnia, falling and staying asleep, consider acupuncture as a safe, effective way to remedy this issue. At Boca Raton Acupuncture we have had tremendous success helping our patients get a restful nights sleep. We want to help yo too! Call us today for a free consultation.