If you suffer from insomnia and looking for safe, effective, treatment options to help break that insomnia-fatigue cycle. Give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to learn how we can help!
The most effective tactic to curb insomnia
Did you know that up to 30% of the population suffers from insomnia? Insomnia is characterized as problems falling, staying asleep, or not sleeping altogether. There can be many contributing factors in why someone would develop insomnia. A common rationale is the hyperarousal model which states that somatic and cognitive, and brain activation are increased in those with insomnia. Insomnia may also be predisposed due to genetics, change in cellular mechanisms of sleep, and change in blood chemistry. How can you help curb insomnia?
Insomnia is more than just lack of sleep, it affects every aspect of our well-being. The Insomnia-Fatigue cycle, is real. Often we see those who suffer from insomnia also suffer from headaches, dizziness, anxiety, poor concentration, sore muscles as well as mood issues. One large study found that those with insomnia were five times more likely to suffer from depression than those who got adequate sleep. This is in addition to other associated effects on brain health, cardiovascular health, immunity and weight.
Sleep is the foundation of health
Acupuncturists typically always ask about quantity and quality of sleep no matter the initial complaint or reason for seeking treatment. This is because as holistic health practitioners, we recognize the enormous impact sleep has on the overall health experience. If there are any deficits when it comes to sleep, this will usually be part of the focus for treatment. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), night time is yin time, a time for rest, healing and recovery. It needs to be in balance with yang time (daytime) activity levels. This harmony of yin and yang is central to the TCM understanding of health.
Acupuncture takes an individualized approach to insomnia, as everyone is different, and there can be many reasons why someone is out of balance. In addition to external factors such as trauma or stress, a person’s internal environment will be looked at. A pattern assessment is done to evaluate both the abundance and flow of blood and energy (qi) in the body, excess hot or cold type disorders and any organ imbalances. But acupuncture effective?
What do the studies say?
A recent study looked at if acupuncture can affect sleep quality in those suffering from primary insomnia. The research looked at how acupuncture affected nerve electrophysiology and found certain acupuncture points can help to regulate sleep. This study found that acupuncture can effectively improve sleep quality, more than with common medication estazolam, to help calm the hyperarousal state in those with insomnia.
Another study looked at a six-week intervention using acupuncture on sleep quality and daytime functioning in those with primary insomnia. This study used three groups: placebo, estazolam group with sham acupuncture, and acupuncture group. PSQI and Epworth Sleepiness Scales were used to measure progress and outcomes. Results showed that all groups showed improvement but the group receiving acupuncture had more improvement in sleep quality, total sleep time, increase in daytime functioning than other groups.
Other ways acupuncture helps to curb insomnia
Most people are stuck in this “fight or flight” sympathetic response triggered by stress, if we are not able to shut that off and turn on our “rest and relax” parasympathetic state, we may have trouble sleeping and rejuvenating. Acupuncture has been found to turn on our parasympathetic state to help us rest, relax, repair, and rejuvenate, this inherently why it can help regulate sleep.
Acupuncture is also known to stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps shift the whole body into a more relaxed state. When the body goes into this relaxed state, not only does sleep quality improve, the body also turns on the immune and repair systems, cutting down oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
If you are looking to curb insomnia and looking for safe, effective, treatment options to help break that insomnia-fatigue cycle. Give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to learn how we can help!
Acupuncture and Sleep Quality: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29231317/
Acupuncture and Insomnia: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24159338/
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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