Insomnia treatments are focused on healing different levels of your being – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. One level will affect the other. A particularly stressful time in your life can affect the neurotransmitter levels and affect the physical aspect of your health. Or a gut imbalance can lead to inadequate levels of serotonin (over 90% of it is produced in the gut) and cause insomnia.
Chronic insomnia can alter people’s lives dramatically. If you are one of the people who have been at this for awhile, you know what I mean. Always planning your evenings around your sleep, scheduling your mornings and days just in case you have a terrible night.
At the end of the day, sleep is a barometer of your emotional health. And so if you’re not in the right place where you need to be, then you’re going to have voices keeping you up at night because you have to work through those issues.
– Dr. Oz
It takes resilience and commitment to heal from insomnia after the anxiety and worry have been triggered. One of the main goals with the insomnia treatments is calming down the nervous system. There is a saying, “what do people who sleep well do?” The answer is “nothing,” they do nothing. They do not think about it, worry about it, or have anxious thoughts about it. The aim of the sleep treatments is to find that place again, where you can stay calm and just know you will sleep. Then sleep indeed does come.
Insomnia treatments for women
Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from insomnia than men. Normal physiological periods, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, are associated with changes in sleep patterns.
Pregnancy and menopause in particular are associated with having a hard time falling or staying asleep and can be debilitating for a woman’s life. The acupuncture and functional medicine treatments offer long-term relief.
Some of the most common types of insomnia in women are:
- trouble initiating sleep while feeling wide awake
- hard time winding down
- reading for a while, getting groggy, and when putting the book down feeling wide awake again
- waking up around 1 or 2am, overthinking, sometimes with temperature fluctuations or even hot flashes and night sweats
- waking up at 3am or so feeling tired but unable to go back to sleep
- feeling awake all night, but possibly in a light sleep
- vivid dreams that feel like you have worked all night
Insomnia treatments for men
Even though the number of men suffering of insomnia is lower than that of women, the insomnia can oftentimes be more severe. Studies have shown that chronic insomnia increases the risk of psychological disorders and early death.
Most of my patients complain of waking up early in the morning, but there are many cases when they report not being able to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night. Acupuncture can balance the various neurotransmitters that regulate sleep and mood. Various testing can provide insight on what is the root cause of the sleep problem and which lifestyle changes, supplements and herbs can be helpful.
The patterns I see the most in my male patients in the clinic:
- Waking up early in the morning around 3 or 4am and having a hard time going back to sleep
- Waking up early and staying a a light sleep, tossing and turning and not really fully sleeping again
- Trouble falling asleep, feeling wired and tired
- Waking up in the middle of the night, usually around 12:30 to 1am and taking a couple of hours to go back to sleep
Insomnia treatments for teenagers and students
Most teens and students don’t get enough sleep because of schoolwork overload and various activities. If we add the use of electronics, there is simply not enough time for sleep. The sleep debt leads to more stress at school, attention deficit disorders, and emotional problems. As a result insomnia occurs and the teen is even more troubled.
With the help of acupuncture, functional medicine and gentle guidance, many teenagers and students are able to sleep easily, balance study time with fun activities and leaving plenty of time for rest.
What I see teens and students for in the clinic the most:
- Trouble winding down and falling asleep, usually due to delayed sleep phase syndrome
- Waking up early in the morning around 3 or 4am, feeling tired but stressed and unable to go back to sleep until early morning when it is time to get up
Insomnia in children
With infants we know that sleep may vary in length and continuity but oftentimes with toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children we expect that they could sleep through the night, at least most nights. Research shows that more than 2 out of 3 children under 10 have experienced some sort of sleep issue. It has also been shown that insomnia in children can result in behavioral problems during the day.
The fatigue, irritability and anxiety can further exacerbate the insomnia. Acupuncture and acupressure are excellent treatments to shift the child’s sleep to a healthy pattern. A gentle approach and playful atmosphere make the acupuncture treatment easy for the child.
I see young children in my office usually either for trouble falling asleep, or for light sleep easily disturbed by nightmares.