If you suffer from insomnia, it can wreak havoc in your life. Having difficulty sleeping means you never feel fully nourished, your energy lags, your concentration may suffer, but you still cannot get the full sleep you are looking for.
Most people who suffer from insomnia are given sleep aids like Ambien in order to help resolve their sleep issues. The problem with sleep aids-is if not taken-insomnia will manifest once again.
Sleep in Chinese Medicine
Sleep is essential to nourishment and healing. During sleep, our bodies are able to recover, repair and replenish. A lack of sleep can make one feel tired and moody, as well as make you prone to headaches or many other health disorders; therefore in Chinese Medicine sleep is essential to restore the body’s health. In Chinese Medicine, difficulty with sleeping can be a pathology in yin, blood, yang, as well as the heart, liver, spleen and kidney organs. Understanding the disharmonies and imbalances is key to understanding what underlying pathologies are resulting in insomnia. Correcting those balances will lead the way to properly rectify one’s sleep issues.
There are different types of patterns that insomnia present. They are:
- Difficulty Falling Asleep: This is normally due to a heart blood and spleen qi deficiency. The body needs enough energy and blood to actually fall asleep. Other symptoms may include poor concentration, dizziness, loose stools and fatigue.
- Difficulty Staying Asleep: People who have difficulty staying asleep complain of waking up every two hours. This is due to a deficiency of the heart and kidney yin or fluids. People who suffer from this presentation may complain of tossing and turning or feeling hot at night with frequent night sweats.
- Dream Disturbed Sleep: When a person has vivid dreams or dream disturbed sleep, this is due to a liver and gallbladder excess.
- Waking up at 3-4AM: This is a common pattern in people who suffer from insomnia. Some people complain of waking up and lying in bed thinking, or even getting up and doing work. In Chinese medicine, this is due to liver qi stagnation where the energy of the liver is stagnant.
How Acupuncture Treats Insomnia
Acupuncture helps to treat insomnia by restoring the body’s natural harmony by restoring the imbalances that are causing insomnia to manifest. An array of acupuncture points treats different patterns that are present. For example, through a diagnostic assessment, if a patient complains of waking up between 3 and 4am, is irritable, has chest heaviness and experiences other liver qi stagnation signs I will choose points to help open and move the liver’s energy. Points such as Pericardium 7, located on the inner wrist and shen men located in the outer ear, help to promote soundful sleep in those who complain of tension and worry and tend to have difficulty falling asleep. The key is to understand the core pathology in an individual and treat them accordingly. A certain amount of treatments start to balance the imbalanced organs and energy-and once completely restored-a person has restful sleep once again.
Other Natural Ways to Help You Sleep Soundly
- Diet: Don’t eat after 7PM if you suffer from insomnia. Eating stimulates the digestive system and can increase a person’s energy.
- Exercise: Make sure to exercise in the early evening and not right before you go to bed.
- Herbs: Drink chamomile tea, a natural relaxant.
- Stress: Try yoga or meditation to try and relieve stress.
- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
If you want more information or have specific questions, please call our office at 917.763.8560 to schedule a complimentary 20 minute phone consultation.