If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how you’ll feel the next day — tired, cranky, and out of sorts. But missing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of nightly rest does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy. The long term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. Science has linked poor sleep with all kinds of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system.
Your body needs sleep. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life.
How does acupuncture help with insomnia?
From a Chinese medicine perspective there are a number of well established patterns which explain why the mind refuses to close down at night even though the person is physically exhausted. A skilled practitioner will want to know not simply about the sleeping patterns but about everything else to do with daily functioning, and it is highly probable that there will be other signs and symptoms which will show or confirm what is out of balance and needs to be corrected and harmonised.
The below studies are for general reading purposes only and treatment outcomes may vary between people. You are encouraged to do your own research and speak to your Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner to how TCM treatments can help.
A preliminary report in 2004 found that in patients with anxiety, acupuncture increased nighttime melatonin production and total sleep time. The patients who received acupuncture also fell asleep faster, were less aroused at night, and were less stressed. The researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.”
Another study found that acupuncture improves sleep quality in patients with HIV, among whom sleep disturbance is a common problem. The researchers found that, “Sleep activity and sleep quality significantly improved following 5 weeks of individualized acupuncture…”
Other studies have shown that acupuncture works for people without health problems, too. A study in 1999 found that acupuncture improved sleep quality in normal people with insomnia.