We’ve all suffered from insomnia at least once in our lives: whether it’s stressing out about an exam the next day, because of a difficult family situation, or because of the excitement of going on a trip, there’s nothing more frustrating than tossing and turning around in your bed (except maybe running out of electricity when you’re in the middle of our favourite TV show!). If you’ve tried warm cups of milk, relaxation techniques, not drinking coffee or tea after 3 p.m. and are now thinking about turning to occult rituals to help you sleep, you should be aware that there are still many other techniques that could help you enjoy better sleep, including acupuncture.
In the treatment of insomnia, TCM, or if you prefer, Traditional Chinese Medicine, has a long history of treating many problems, including insomnia. And acupuncture has proven itself in the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia affects nearly 4 out of 10 adults and can even occur in children. While emotional disturbances (anger, stress, anxiety) may prevent you from falling asleep or sleeping well, other causes, such as circadian rhythm disorders (that shift workers often suffer from for example), jet lag, sleep apnea as well as back, head or shoulder pain, asthma or allergies, among others, may be responsible for your insomnia. An uncomfortable mattress or a room that is too warm or too cold can also affect the quality of your sleep.
What are the consequences of insomnia?
If you rarely suffer from insomnia, you’ll certainly be tired the next day and might find it difficult to do your day’s work normally, but everything will return to normal after a few days. However, if you frequently have trouble sleeping or don’t sleep at night, your health may suffer. Lack of sleep can cause:
- A weakened immune system,
- Impatience, irritability and anger,
- Weight gain,
- A drop in your level of alertness and concentration,
- A decrease in your life expectancy (if your insomnia is chronic).
How can acupuncture help me sleep better?
While the idea of looking like a pincushion for a moment may put off many people, acupuncture can really help you fight your insomnia problems. Indeed, by intervening in the modulation of your brain’s activity, acupuncture can considerably reduce insomnia, stress and anxiety. In addition, its analgesic effects help reduce muscle pain; so, if your insomnia is the result of a backache, you could kill two birds with one stone!
Acupuncture strives to maintain, or even restore, the balance between the Yin and the Yang. According to traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia is caused by a rupture in the relationship between Yin and Yang, and can have various causes: frequent awakenings indicate a disturbance in the kidneys while sleep disturbed by many dreams or nightmares reveals an imbalance in the liver for example.
By determining the origin of the insomnia and by using precise points, the acupuncturist will be able to dissipate the tensions or even tone up what is deficient, according to TCM. A few sessions should be enough to reduce your insomnia or, at the very least, to eliminate the tensions that are causing it.
What else can I do besides acupuncture to help me sleep better?
There are other little things you can do, with or without acupuncture treatment, to help you get back into Morpheus’ arms. For example, reduce the amount of time spent in front of your computer or tablet in the hours before bedtime, and avoid eating too fatty or spicy foods, exercising just before bedtime or sleeping in an uncomfortable bed; if necessary, add a mattress topper to increase the comfort of your bed! To learn all about how to sleep better at night, check out our blog here!
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