“It’s 1 A.M, my eyelids are heavy but my thoughts are heavier. Oh, Man! I am exhausted! Why can’t I just sleep normally like the rest? Should I pop in my sleeping pill again?”

Insomnia is defined as the difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, or quality that occurs though you are tired. This has a negative impact on your body and its ability to restore itself to function normally during the day. This in turn results in daytime mood swings, and difficulty in concentration - which impacts your professional & personal lives.
Did you know that 10-30% of the population has shown the prevalence of insomnia? 
Increasing age, medical, stress, and psychiatric disorders, and use of medications are risk factors for insomnia.

Insomnia can be categorized into

  • Acute insomnia: This lasts for about a month. This occurs due to situational stress like exams, job-related, etc.
  • Transient insomnia: This lasts for less than a week. This happens due to a change in the sleep environment, stress, or depression.
  • Chronic insomnia: This lasts for more than a month. This is associated with medical & psychiatric conditions

Some people have a hard time relaxing in bed. Reasons could be many, work-life, jet lag, worries, etc. Some find it difficult to stay asleep after the initial falling asleep. This is most common in older people, those who are addicted to alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, etc before bed, and also among younger people who overuse gadgets. Some disorders like sleep apnea and periodic limb movement also cause insomnia apart from the other cause. Some people have both falling asleep and staying asleep issues and people with chronic insomnia find these symptoms shift over time.

The signs and symptoms of people suffering from insomnia are

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Excessive thoughts
  • Waking up very early
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration, focus, and memory problems
  • Problems in coordination
  • Frequent headache 
  • Acid reflux   Excessive thoughts
  • Excessive worrying
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety 
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness

What causes Insomnia?

Insomnia has no specific causes but it is believed that it occurs due to a state of hyperarousal (physical, mental, or both) that influences sleep onset and sleep maintenance. Sometimes the environment you are in or the psychological factors can also result in insomnia. The following reasons can also contribute to:

  • Ingestion or consumption of substances (alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine)
  • Diet pills or any pill/tablet addiction
  • Excessive and unstoppable thoughts
  • Physical pain, health issues
  • Frequent urination at night, pregnancy, or an enlarged prostate
  • Chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, heart, and lung diseases
  • Behavioural and mental health disorders like depression, stress, anxiety, stress
  • Unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits
  • Exposure to screen devices, working evening, or night shifts
  • Inadequate exercise during the day or excessive noise and/or light in the sleeper’s bedroom

Now we have understood about insomnia and its causes, but how do we overcome it? Is there a way to sleep at peace without any medication or drugs? When you think about sleep, the last thing that comes to your mind would be being poked with needles, right?

Acupuncture, an ancient practice, has improved sleep and has helped treat insomnia. The acupuncture mechanism regulates the yin & yang to restore your health & eliminate the pathogenic which improves your sleep pattern.

So, how does acupuncture work?

Thin, sterile needles, used in acupuncture are inserted into specific points called the acupoints. This stimulates the nervous system and releases neurochemical messenger molecules. The biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of those acupoints reduces the sensitivity to pain, stress, promotes relaxation, and deactivates the analytical brain, which causes insomnia and anxiety. 
You can read more about acupuncture & its benefits in treating other conditions in the links below:

  • The Role of Acupuncture in Pain Relief
  • How to fix your back pain & muscle pain the acupuncture way

Trust us, you experience no pain whatsoever while the needles are being inserted.

Acupuncture therapy can relieve people with insomnia (benefits), as it

  • Increases the nocturnal endogenous melatonin secretion. 
  • Stimulates opioid (especially b-endorphin) production and µ-opioid receptor activity.
  • Increases nitric oxide synthase activity and nitric oxide content, this helps promote the normal function of brain tissues that regulate sleep. 
  • Increases cerebral blood flow. 
  • Reduces sympathetic nervous system activity, and increases relaxation. 
  • Regulates levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, and neuropeptide Y; hence alters the brain's mood chemistry to help to increase relaxation and reduce tension. 
  • Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional medical treatments for insomnia, such as benzodiazepines, helping to reduce their side effects and enhance their beneficial effects.

"Does acupuncture really improve my sleeping patterns?”

Acupuncture along with bach flower remedies and other herbs helps you feel more relaxed. It reduces stress & anxiety. This in turn encourages you to get good sleep. Even individuals with sleep apnea have found relief, as acupuncture helps strengthen the tongue which prevents it from dropping back during sleep and blocking your airway.

Each insomnia indicates a unique energy imbalance. No one type of insomnia can be treated in exactly the same way during acupuncture, each is related to a particular imbalance. The symptoms of insomnia are not cured with one acupuncture therapy. The fact is your practitioner will likely advise you to return for subsequent therapies a few times a week over the course of a period of time, depending upon the nature of your insomnia. Many patients report a calmness and relaxation they’ve not experienced in a long time while in an acupuncture session. 

Get the sleep you deserve!

If you find yourself battling with insomnia or any other sleep disorder, you owe yourself to try acupuncture treatment to improve your quality of sleep.