Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are used by over 1.6 million American adults to treat insomnia and related sleep disorders. Insomnia is a common symptom and may manifest itself as persistent sleepiness despite sleep of adequate duration (non-restorative sleep), early morning awakenings (sleep offset insomnia), difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), or frequent awakenings (sleep maintenance insomnia).
Disturbed sleep patterns can be caused by medication, stress, cardiovascular conditions, digestive disorders, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, environmental noise, and nutrition. These comorbidities should be treated rather than alleviating insomnia as a health condition unrelated to other chronic illnesses.
Allopathic remedies for insomnia may include behavioral/psychotherapeutic, medication, and other somatic therapies typically aimed at symptomatic treatment. Many medications have the side effect of sleeplessness. For people hesitant to take medication, acupuncture is a safe alternative. Acupuncture is particularly indicated for re-harmonizing a disturbed sleep-wake cycle and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Acupuncture can reduce chronic pain that may exacerbate insomnia.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine used in conjunction can be an effective therapy for both chronic and transient insomnia that improves sleeping patterns, decreases pain and promotes deeper breathing. Acupuncture can correct the imbalances causing insomnia without creating side effects and increases production of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, which appear to aid sleep.
If frequent sleep difficulties or daytime fatigue occurs, treatment should be sought. Inform your acupuncture physician so that you can work together to determine a treatment program that corrects the imbalance. For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia contact Dr. Richard Browne.