How acupuncture can help treat your insomnia
So, it’s three o’clock in the morning, you’re wide awake even though you’re desperately tired and craving the oblivion of sleep and nothing you do can help you drift back off.
You’ve tried reading, you’ve tried aromatherapy, you’ve tried counting sheep (and every other animal you can think of) and nothing works. You’ve tried going to bed earlier, you’ve tried going to bed later. You’ve experimented with exercise to make yourself tired, and you’ve even tried changing your diet and cutting out caffeine.
Nothing works. Zip. Nada. No dice.
But the chances are that unless you’ve already experienced it, you haven’t yet considered the potential benefits that acupuncture can have in tackling your sleep crisis.
Because you can’t for the life of you work out what being stuck with needles has got to do with being wide awake in the small hours of the morning, right?
In fact, acupuncture has a proven and impressive track record in dealing with insomnia, but to be effective, it’s important to understand the type of insomnia you’re actually suffering with.
Most people are unaware that there are several different types of insomnia and each one affects us in different ways – which means each type of insomnia needs a different acupuncture approach in order to be effective.
So, here’s a little Insomnia 101 for you – look at the descriptions below and see which one best describes the problem you have:
Sleep Onset: difficulty in actually getting to sleep to begin with. It’s probably the most common form of sleep disorder and one most of us will suffer with from time to time. It’s worth considering acupuncture if this is a frequent problem.
Middle of the night waking: Coupled with an inability to get back to sleep, this is also a common problem and where it is sporadic or episodic, it’s often linked to transient stress or anxiety. But because acupuncture is great at treating stress, it’s also a great option for treating this type of insomnia, whether the problem is temporary or chronic.
Terminal (also called Late) insomnia: waking very early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep again
Vivid dreaming: persistent nightmares or dreams that are disruptive to sleep and cause regular or persistent waking on multiple occasions
General sleep issues: unspecific generalised sleep disruption
Apart from being very disruptive – we’ve all felt that gnawing frustration when sleep eludes us for a prolonged period during the night – poor sleep is also bad for your health. Over time, it impairs your immunity and makes you more susceptible to illness.
And, of course, it also limits your effectiveness during the day. If you have a full-time job – and we’re including full-time parenting in that description – then inevitably you’re not going to be at your best during the day if you’ve had poor sleep the night before.
Why acupuncture could be the answer
The type of insomnia you’re experiencing points to a unique energy imbalance that requires a very specific approach in your acupuncture therapy. As we’re always fond of saying, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for anything – acupuncture is necessarily tailored to your specific biology and circumstances.
What your acupuncturists will do is discuss your insomnia symptoms with you to identify the specific type of problem you have, which in turn will help them to identify the best possible way of restoring your natural energy balance – or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’).
Acupuncture works by inserting special gossamer-thin needles into the skin. These are then stimulated through manual movement by the acupuncturist to disrupt and refocus your natural body energy.
Many of our patients are surprised when we insert the needles into areas of the body that, on the surface, may seem entirely unrelated to the problem at hand.
But the fact is that your insomnia is really only a symptom of another, deeper problem – and that’s what acupuncture sets out to correct.
We say this in almost every article we write, but it’s worth repeating to try to explore some of the myths that continue to dog acupuncture as a therapy – the needles don’t hurt! Most patients report a sensation not dissimilar to a tickle and then a heaviness in that part of the body.
The therapy itself is so relaxing that in some cases we’ve had patients fall asleep – which we take as a great compliment here at The Acupuncturists!
We can’t – and would never – guarantee success at the first time of asking, although we have known patients who have been symptom-free after a single session; it may be that you’ll need a few more follow-up treatments.
But one of the other benefits of acupuncture is that it’s a holistic healthcare approach based on two thousand years of history – and so even though we’re treating one particular problem, the treatment itself is actually helping to tackle underlying issues you’re not even aware of.
If you’ve got a problem with your sleeping habits, why not get in touch with us for a confidential chat and see how acupuncture can help you to get back into a healthy sleep pattern.