A Great Solution for Better Sleep

Insomnia is an issue that plagues much of the population. Its symptoms include trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or waking up too early. Statistics from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicate that 30 to 35% of adults experience insomnia at some point throughout a given year. It can be temporary or expand into three month stints, and 10% find themselves stuck with chronic insomnia (experiencing symptoms three or more times a week!). So what is the solution?

There can be many causes to insomnia. It could have a cause as simple as allergies or high blood pressure, or more complex such as depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, insomnia exacerbates symptoms, creating a vicious cycle for patients. A Western diagnosis/treatment may often be hard to find. Many people are prescribed pharmaceutical sleep aids that can cause other problems in the body, lead to addiction, and throw off naturally occurring healthy sleep cycles. Acupuncture is widely known for helping insomnia and sleep disorders due to its ability to work with the mind and the body. It is a natural and effective tool, and works as a complimentary medicine system along with lifestyle adjustments.

As a practitioner I don’t just put needles in people, I also evaluate my patient’s lifestyle and how that can be impacting them. It isn’t my goal to fix symptoms outright; instead, I want to help my patients find true balance and learn about themselves through the work we do together. In this medicine we look at the body and the mind and how they can influence one another. When the body is out of balance it can impact the mind and vice versa. So with an issue like insomnia practitioners must look at what is occurring in the body as a result of lifestyle or illness, and what is occurring in the mind through the emotions. The mind and the body both need rest, if either one isn’t getting that rest, then sleep patterns get disturbed. So acupuncturists set out to find the root of the problem. Instead of delving into too many detail and concepts that go into a diagnosis, I will provide some good information on ways to shift one’s lifestyle to support healthy sleep patterns. These tips combined with regular acupuncture will increase your quality of sleep, waking life, and general existence!

There are many things patients can do to improve sleep quality, even if they are receiving regular acupuncture. I suggest refraining from caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and spicy foods or heavy meals close to bedtime. In this medicine we use yin and yang to describe different manifestations of being. Yin is the quiet, replenishing, state of rest and sleep. Yang is the opposite, being active and expansive. Neither one can survive without the other as they are part of the same oneness, but they can become deficient. When we stay up late drinking, eating, watching TV, etc., we are in a yang state. In order for that yang state to exist, we need enough yin to support it. Our culture puts a heavy emphasis on continued growth, and success is often measured by the amount of work, exercise, or education an individual has. This is all well and good, but in order to maintain the level of energy output our culture demands, many patients need to steal extra yin energy to convert into yang, which prevents restful sleep. By retraining ourselves to listen to our body by cultivating a more yin lifestyle, insomnia can be a thing of the past! Below I have included ways to do this:


Shamatha Meditation

Gentle Yoga

Dietary shifts

Deep breathing exercises

These are just some of the things I often recommend to patients who suffer from sleep disorders.