Chronic Insomnia: How Acupuncture Can Help
When we sleep, the brain instructs different organs to expel waste from the body. The body repairs damaged cells and secretes hormones that regulate different bodily processes. On average an adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep every day, and yet so many of us do not get this.
What is Chronic Insomnia?
Insomnia is a medical condition that causes difficulty falling and staying asleep. It is estimated that one in four Americans develop insomnia every year. Chronic insomnia lasts more than three months. It can be caused by stress, menopause, respiratory conditions, or bad sleep habits.
Primary vs. Secondary Insomnia
There are two main types of chronic insomnia – primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia isn’t caused by a medical condition. Scientists do not know its exact cause. Many healthcare experts link primary insomnia to changes in levels of certain chemicals secreted by the brain.
Secondary insomnia is caused by a disease or health condition. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, emotional stress, trauma, and certain medications can increase one’s risk for secondary insomnia.
Complications of Chronic Insomnia
Ignoring chronic insomnia could prove to be a grave mistake. It can negatively impact your performance at work or school and slow your reaction time, increasing your risk of potential accidents. People who experience chronic insomnia are at increased risk of mental disorders and long-term diseases or conditions that can wreak havoc on their physical as well as mental health.
Some common symptoms of chronic insomnia include trouble falling asleep, daytime sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, poor memory/forgetfulness, and tiredness after a night’s sleep.
How Can Acupuncture For Chronic Insomnia Help?
Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture therapists in Santa Rosa insert fine needles through their patients’ skin at strategic points on their body to heal energy blocks – believed to be the cause of all diseases. Acupuncture is used around the world to treat several health problems.
Many people with chronic insomnia who want to avoid the side effects of sleeping pills use acupuncture to manage their condition. Acupuncture can treat chronic insomnia by:
➢ Stimulating the body to secrete more melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
➢ Decreasing anxiety and stress
➢ Regulating neurotransmitter levels to promote relaxation.
➢ Increasing the production of nitric acid to boost brain function. When your brain functions properly, you feel relaxed and can fall asleep faster.
➢ Calming the sympathetic nervous system to increase relaxation.
➢ Improving your circulation.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Various clinical trials have found acupuncture to be effective in treating insomnia. In a 2017 study, 72 people with insomnia were divided into two groups. One group received traditional acupuncture and the other group received imitation acupuncture. At the end of the study, researchers noted that the subjects who received traditional acupuncture reported an improvement in their symptoms and sleep efficiency.
In addition to this, a 2013 double-blind study of 180 people with insomnia concluded that traditional acupuncture is more effective than both imitation acupuncture and sedative medication such as Estazolam at improving sleep quality.
Are you trying to cope with a sleep disorder? Acupuncture Mama can help. We use tried and tested TCM methods to calm the body and mind. The calmer your body and mind, the better you sleep. To make an appointment, call 707-303-7200.