Insomnia is characterized by habitual sleeplessness, the inability to fall or stay asleep. Although defining the condition is fairly easy, many factors can contribute to it, which often makes it difficult for those affected to find a treatment that works. Fortunately, evidence suggests that acupuncture for insomnia can be incredibly effective.
More Than Missed Sleep
If you’re struggling with insomnia, you aren’t alone. Medical News Today reports that year after year, 30 to 40 percent of Americans say that they’ve experienced episodes of insomnia within the last 12 months. Some 10 to 15 percent report battling chronic insomnia.
The cost of insomnia is more than a few hours of missed sleep. It can damage a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Insomnia can also increase a person’s risk of injury, negatively impact their professional performance, and interfere with their personal life.
Insomnia can manifest itself in various ways. Some people are unable to fall asleep. Others wake too early or too often. For some, the problem is quality. They sleep, but their rest isn’t refreshing. The trouble can persist for a few nights, for a few weeks, or even for a few years. The following symptoms may indicate that a person suffers from insomnia:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Worry about sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Tension headaches
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- An increase in mistakes or accidents
Causes of Insomnia
Part of the reason that treating insomnia effectively can be challenging is that a diverse array of factors can contribute to the condition. Medical issues and the physical discomfort associated with those issues can make sleeping difficult. Many medications can also interfere with sleep. Disruptions of a person’s circadian rhythm, hormonal shifts, and psychological disorders can also contribute to sleep disorders. Even issues like stress, a snoring partner, or your genetics can be triggers for insomnia.
Treatments for insomnia can include both medical and behavioral approaches. In some cases, identifying and treating the underlying cause allows the sleep issue to resolve. What if the cause is unclear or the insomnia persists? Practicing relaxation techniques and improving sleep hygiene can be helpful. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may also be used to support sleep, although many people are wary of them because of the risk of unpleasant side effects. Acupuncture is a drug-free alternative, and it’s one that can be used alone or in conjunction with other techniques.
Acupuncture for Insomnia
Why is acupuncture recommended as a treatment for insomnia? It works. For a review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers examined the results of nearly 50 randomized trials involving acupuncture for insomnia. Their analysis showed that acupuncture was better than no treatment, that real acupuncture was better than sham acupuncture, and that acupuncture increased sleep duration for more patients than medication did. In addition, acupuncture used in combination with medications or herbs delivered better results than either of those two treatments alone.
How can being poked with needles help you sleep? A time-tested form of Chinese traditional medicine, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to improve general wellness and treat various health complaints.
After talking with and examining the patient, an acupuncturist creates an individualized treatment plan to rebalance the body. Hair-thin needles are gently inserted into a series of specific locations called acupoints that prompt the body’s own healing mechanisms to take action. An acupuncture treatment can spur the release of pain-fighting endorphins and other vital hormones and chemicals that impact wellness. It is also known to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and provide welcome stress relief.
A holistic approach that treats the person and not the condition, this drug-free form of complementary medicine is safe and effective.
How Acupuncture Helps with Insomnia
For those who have never experienced acupuncture, needles may be more strongly associated with anxiety than relaxation, but acupuncture is known for easing stress and helping people unwind. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for people to doze off on the table during a treatment, and many patients report better sleep in the days following an acupuncture session.
How can acupuncture combat insomnia? It helps to reduce stress and relieve pain that can interfere with sleep. It also stimulates the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates sleep and waking. This helps people fall asleep and reduces sleep disruption, improving sleep quality and quantity.
Learning more about acupuncture for insomnia could be the first step in your journey toward a better night’s sleep. To discover more about our acupuncture services or schedule an appointment with one of our expert acupuncturists, contact us today. At Loehr Chiropractic and Acupuncture, we take a holistic approach to chiropractic care to promote healing and enhance the overall well-being of our clients. If you’re interested in acupuncture, we would love to help create an acupuncture treatment plan based on your individual needs. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about acupuncture treatments, call 417-887-8075 or leave us a message.