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Acupuncture for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture as a treatment for insomnia and other sleep issues has been around for over two thousand years. However, it is only in the past few decades that the need for a focused specialty came forth.
Some of the most common types of insomnia and other sleep disorders we see in the clinic are:
- Unable to fall asleep, mind racing, or anxiety
- Waking up at the same time every night
- Waking up in middle of the night after a couple of hours of sleep
- Physical restlessness when trying to fall asleep or in the middle of the night
- Feeling hot, night sweats and hot flashes around 1 or 2am
- Waking up early in the morning either wide awake or slightly groggy but anxious
- Restless throughout the night
- Narcolepsy and seizures associated with it
- Sleep apnea and snoring in both women and men
- Insomnia and bedwetting in children
How acupuncture is used as an effective treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Acupuncture balances the body and aids sleep by altering brain chemistry
- Changes the release of neurotransmitters
- Helps restore your natural circadian rhythm
- It also has been shown to increase melatonin production and increase nervous system substances, including ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noreadrenaline - these are substances that play a crucial role in regulating sleep and mood
- Acupuncture can affect the serotonergic pathways that are related to the caudal raphe neurons that control the muscles of the upper airway and help with sleep apnea.
- It may also act to strengthen the genioglossus (tongue muscle) to prevent collapsing and blocking of the airway.
Insomnia in 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 particularly are associated with having a hard time falling or staying asleep and can be debilitating for a woman's life. The acupuncture treatments we offer are able to offer long term relief, balance hormones and bring your body to a place where it can sleep again, every night.
Insomnia in Men
Even though the number of men suffering of insomnia is lower than that of women, the insomnia can be oftentimes more severe. Studies have shown that chronic insomnia increases the risk of psychological disorders and early death. Most commonly men wake 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 neurotramiters that regulate sleep and mood.
Insomnia in Teenagers and Students
Most teens and students don't get enough sleep because of the 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 and gentle guidance many teenagers and students are able to sleep easily, balance studying time with fun activities and plenty of time for rest.
Insomnia in Children
With infants we know that sleep may vary in length and continuity but oftentimes with toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children we expect that they could sleep through 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 result in behavioral problems during the day. The fatigue, irritability and anxiety can further exacerbate the insomnia. Acupuncture and acupressure is an excellent support to shift the child's sleep to a healthy pattern. A gentle approach and playful atmosphere makes the acupuncture treatment easy for the child.
Bedwetting in Children
About 15% of children age 5 are bedwetters, 8% around age 10, and approximately 2% at age 15. It can be frustrating for both the child and the parents and holding back the child from fully enjoying his life. Sleepovers, camps, and other activities away from home are much easier when bedwetting is not present in a child's life. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for insomnia as it can strengthen the nerves of the urinary bladder and also regulate the child's sleep so he or she can wake up when feeling the urge to urinate. Many children may be wary of needles, however our approach is gradual and gentle so the child feels safe.
Sleep apnea is more common in men than women and is classified as obstructive and central sleep apnea. Most people have one or the other, but it is also possible to suffer of a combination of the two. While some people who snore don't have sleep apnea, in general snoring is commonly found in sleep apnea sufferers. The risk of high blood pressure and heart attack is significantly increased so screening and treatment is extremely important. Acupuncture is an effective treatment that can be used by itself or with mandibular advancement device and CPAP machine.
Nobody should live without getting great sleep. Sleeping poorly impacts us in so many ways, from your overall health, weight control, and emotional health, to relationships, social life, and longevity.
Herbs and supplementation support
When needed, in addition to acupuncture I use herbal medicine. We look at what you have taken in the past and assess what may be useful from that moment on. Chinese herbs are meant to support the body's ability to heal, rather than taking another herb that hopefully will help as long as you take it. We are looking to heal that root cause of your sleep issues.
Overall sleep support
Sleep foundations is one of the most important aspects if your sleep. Many of my patients tell how they are "doing it all perfect" and still cannot sleep. What I found oftentimes is that little changes that are appropriate for you, in combination with acupuncture, can make a difference. I will help you figure out what is it that will make a difference for you. As a support throughout your therapy, I use my program Life After 7pm.