Insomnia is a common condition that millions of people suffer from each year. It is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor quality sleep that is caused by one of the following:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up frequently during the night with difficulty in returning to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Un-refreshing Sleep
Fortunately, acupuncture can effectively treat insomnia by getting to the root cause of the insomnia. Through acupuncture and herbs, in combination with incorporating insomnia techniques, one can return to a normal sleep routine, in most cases.
General causes for insomnia include:
- Over-activity (both physical and mental)
- Irregular sleep schedules
- Depression or anxiety
- Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain
- Stimulants, such as coffee or tea
Below are some general tips that you can incorporate if you are suffering from insomnia. These can be used in conjunction with treatment for maximum results:
- Establish a regular time for going to bed and getting up in the morning.
- Soak one’s feet in hot water prior to going to sleep (~30 minutes – 1 hour before). You may also apply self-massage to feet after soaking them. This needs to be done regularly to be most effective.
- Use the bed for sleep and sexual relations only.
- Avoid long duration naps. A short nap, 30 minutes or less, in the middle of the day is actually quite helpful to health. However, frequent or long naps can throw the body off of its equilibrium. Napping in the late afternoon or into the evening can especially throw the body off.
- Use low level light at night. This will increase you melatonin levels. Do not use bright lights.
- Exercise before dinner, as a low point of energy will come a few hours later, but not before going to sleep, as it will increase energy levels immediately afterwards. Exercising, in general, is of great benefit to those with insomnia.
- Do something relaxing thirty minutes or one hour before going to bed. Avoid television, computer screens, and bright lights, as much as possible. Going outside would be the most beneficial.
- Do not look at the clock or obsess over time when going to sleep, or waking up at night.
- Do not eat a late dinner, or a large meal, before bed.
- Spend a half an hour in the sun each day.
- Avoid fluids before bedtime so that nighttime urination is less likely.
- Limit or avoid caffeine. Definitely avoid it at night.
- If one can not sleep after 30 minutes, get up and perform a low energy exercise. Avoid watching television, using the computer, or using bright lights as they are very stimulating. Meditation can be extremely helpful here. You may also read but use low light and do not read anything that will stimulate you.
- Taking deep breaths into the abdomen can help reduce stress. Concentrate on the breath and try not to let the mind wander. This technique can be useful if the insomnia is caused by stress or over thinking (which most are).
If you are suffering from insomnia or often feeling tired upon awakening, please feel free to message me. It is a common problem and can typically be resolved through Chinese medicine.