Picture this: it’s 4am. Your alarm is going to start blaring in a few short hours telling you to get out of bed and get ready for the work day. You’ve been trying to fall asleep for the last three hours to no avail. This is not the first time you’ve sat up at such an ungodly hour only to run over the grocery list in your mind for the umpteenth time.
This probably won’t be the last, either. That is, unless you get treatment.
Chances are you’re suffering from insomnia. That annoying, and potentially deadly, sleep disorder that keeps you up at all hours of the night only to make you feel sleepy and unproductive during the day.
There are various ways to treat sleep issues and they don’t always rely on medication. For a snoring issue, as an example, most folks try the ZQuiet mouthpiece (review here). Meanwhile, for insomnia, a lot of folks turn to sleeping pills. But, many people are afraid to take sleeping pills because they worry about developing a dependence on them. Would you be surprised to know that changing your diet and the practice of acupuncture might help with your sleeplessness?
“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care …”
Truly, it adds insult to injury at 3 a.m. that a quote from Macbeth should rattle around in the head of someone with a life as mundane as mine.
As many as 30 to 35 percent of adults report insomnia ‘” difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep ‘” according to the National Sleep Foundation. The problem is more common in adults who are older, in women, in people who are stressed and those with medical issues or problems such as depression.
While some people have problems such as sleep apnea that require medical attention, alternative approaches and changes in lifestyle can be helpful for many.
Joanne Neville, clinical director at Southwest Acupuncture College, in Gunbarrel, says sleep issues are “probably one of our top five ailments people come seeking acupuncture for in our clinic. We treat about 800 patients (total) a month, so that’s a lot of people who have sleep issues.”
Neville says the clinic generally combines acupuncture with Chinese herbs.
“Auricular (ear) acupuncture is really excellent for resetting the mind,” she says. “It helps to calm a person down. We incorporate a lot of that for sleep issues.”
Clinicians also assess pain levels, since some people sleep poorly because of pain, as well as problems with anxiety and potential issues with diet. The combination of acupuncture and herbs is tailored to each individual.
“Three people can come in with insomnia and three people may go out with a completely different formula,” she says. “We treat what we see.”
Nutritional therapist Esther Cohen says many of her clients report sleep issues. She says our lifestyles are overstimulating us.
While many people think of acupuncture for tension headaches and irritable bowels, not many are familiar with all the benefits of this ancient Chinese medicine. The beauty of a customized treatment is that it makes you special. It targets your specific sleep issues and works at balancing your body. It can be frustrating to try something friends or family have done to combat your particular issue only to have it not work for you. With acupuncture you know that the treatment plan that is laid out for you is specifically for you.
Acupuncture used to be one of those mystical medicinal practices that celebrities used. It was under scrutiny in the West as the benefits weren’t completely obvious. That’s what happens any time a new medicine is brought to a new country. Now acupuncture is more mainstream and easier to find.
If you’re having troubles with your sleep, or lack thereof, it might be in your best interests to meet with an acupuncturist and get those tiny needles stuck in your skin. That is, as long as it won’t make you squeamish.