By Andrew Agoado AP – Parkland, Florida – Chronic insomnia is a problem affecting a large mass of the adult population in America. According to findings by the National Sleep Foundation, around 15% of adults don’t get the sleep they require. What this means is that a portion of the workforce is too fatigued to perform at their best. Lack of quality sleep doesn’t just affect your performance at work; it generally slows you down in everything you do.
Improper sleeping patterns may keep you from going on with your normal life, but there is good news. The problem is completely solvable, and rather quickly as well. Clinical studies testing the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of insomnia show positive results realized after a week or so of treatment. We shall shed more light on the treatment later. First, we delve into this sleeping disorder to find out the types, causes, and treatments.
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia appears in a number of ways, varying between the quality and number of hours spent asleep. Here are ways used to describe the condition;
- Comorbid insomnia – This is a case where the patient’s insomnia emerges due to another condition. Psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression are some of the most likely causes for such disturbed sleeping patterns. Arthritis and back pain also cause discomfort that keeps you up at night. Generally, comorbid insomnia is the result of any medical condition with symptoms that keep you from sleeping.
- Acute Insomnia – This is when you are unable to fall asleep as soon as you get to bed or as you normally do. The period of wakefulness lasts for a short while after which you fall asleep. This kind of insomnia results from a recent life-changing event such as trauma, upsetting news or a job change that forces you to uproot your life for a far-off move. This is typical of everyone at times when they are troubled by different happenings in life. With time, the insomnia goes away without any specialized treatment.
- Maintenance insomnia – As suggested by the name, this is a sleeping disorder where the person is unable to remain asleep. People suffering from the condition stay awake for long periods, unable to fall asleep once their sleep is disrupted.
- Chronic insomnia – This concerns the extent of symptoms for a patient. For instances, you are considered to be a chronic insomniac if, for three months or more, you have had disrupted sleep on more than three occasions per week.
- Onset Insomnia – This is defined as difficulty initiating asleep, is a common disorder with associated impairment or significant distress and is associated with daytime consequences..
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia has a variety of causes, including physical as well as psychological reasons. Many cases of sleep deprivation emanate from one or another medical condition. The patient may be kept awake by the illness or its symptoms. If you are suffering from the condition, below are some reasons you are not able to sleep well;
- Activities that break the circadian rhythm such as mood disorders, jet lag, noise, heat, cold and anything else that may restrict you from sleeping as normal.
- Psychological problems; bipolar, depression, anxiety and such like disorders often bring insomnia.
- Electronic gadgets; the displays on our hand-held devices and other tech gadgets we use often cause insomnia. The bright backlights affect the production of melatonin, thus delaying sleep.
- As a side effect to medication; these are drugs with compounds that affect sleep patterns such as statins, alpha blockers, beta blockers, corticosteroids and ACE inhibitors.
Before you can seek any medical attention for your sleep deprivation, it is important that you start by examining your sleeping patterns and adopting a healthy routine. In addition to setting a time when you go to sleep and sticking to it, one is also advised to stay away from caffeine, nicotine or alcohol before bed. Come up with a ritual to help ease you into bed – it also helps.
In scenarios where the condition affects your energy levels during the day, your doctor may put you on sleeping pills for the short-term. Sleeping medication is best prescribed by your physician, as over-the-counter use can quickly reduce the effectiveness of the pills.
Restoring sleep through Acupuncture
For centuries, acupuncture has been effective in treating different kinds of pain-related issues. The therapy has the effect to calm the patient, which also makes it useful in control and treatment of psychological problems. Research by Huijin Cao, M.D et al (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009 Nov; 15 (11): 1171-1186. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0041) showed how acupuncture could be used in treating insomnia. In a total of 3811 patients, 95% showed improved sleep duration. The study included test subjects with ages ranging from 13 to 84. The medical explanation behind the successful treatment lies in the regulation of neurotransmitters and hormones. Lowering stress levels, such as cortisol for example, help patients to ‘calm their mind’ and therefore fall asleep.
In addition, acupuncture lessens anxiety, stimulates melatonin production, induces sleep onset, and reduce sleep disruption and arousal during the night. In some instances, acupuncture is used as a treatment not for insomnia itself, but for pain from other physical conditions that in turn make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
Are you having problems sleeping and staying asleep? Acupuncture is an effective and safe solution for the issue. At our Parkland, Florida Acupuncture clinic, our success for insomnia treatment is the reassurance we can give. We can and want to help you. Reach out today and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Andrew Agoado.