Health, Insomnia

How Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine help Insomnia

Previously, we discussed how to help yourself get a better night of sleep here and here. Today we will discuss how Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine help Insomnia.

It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity(NH1B1 2003). Researchers have found that restful sleep has incredible benefits: it makes you mentally sharper; increases your ability to concentrate; makes you a more focused worker; maintains healthy blood pressure; reduces inflammation, decreases susceptibility to heart disease and cancer, decreases likelihood of weight gain, helps your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress.

Commonly, Western Medicine usually prescribes sleeping pills and anti-depressants for insomnia and other sleep disorders. These medications can become addictive and patients can find it difficult to sleep naturally without pills in the future.

Fortunately, Acupuncture & Chinese medicine can be very effective for nearly all causes of sleep disorders and insomnia. Before treating insomnia, we strongly recommend that everyone make lifestyle changes which we listed tips previously. Many times a change in the environment or a change in habit is all that it takes to help you achieve a better sleep.

Other times insomnia is caused by medical issues such as allergies, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalance, hot flashes and more. We usually first treat those medical issues before treating insomnia using Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

Chinese medicine recognizes that insomnia can stem mostly from a functional imbalance of Heart. The Heart houses the mind and governs the strong influence of emotional stress. In order for the mind to settle and sleep to occur, the heart must be calm, balanced and functioning normally. Anything that disrupts the heart or fails to be supplied by Qi and blood will affect the quality of sleep. Of course, other organs must function normally for healthier sleep to occur since each organ has a different aspect of our spirit. The heart, for example, relies on the other spirits to support its mastery.

The most effective treatment for insomnia is Acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine. Insomnia has many patterns of disharmony. The common Chinese Medicine patterns of insomnia are Deficiency(inability to provide adequate residence or confidence for the spirit) and Excess(impending or agitating the spirit).

Treatment will not cause a desire to sleep during the day. In addition to insomnia, you may also experience improvement of anxiety, palpitation, frustration, memory loss or mental confusion, dry or itchy skin and pain in the chest or ribcage.

If you suffer from insomnia, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is a great alternative way to help you achieve restful sleep. Give us a call at 972-671-6688 or email us in the contact form.

Health, Insomnia

How to help yourself get a better more restful night of sleep Part II

  • Make sure that your pillows and mattress support your body well: It’s nearly impossible to sleep without good support from your pillows and matress. If you suffer from neck and shoulder issues, look into purchasing a Tempurpedic mattress and pillows to sleep better.
  • Develop a pre-bedtime routine that fits your life: They say it takes about 3-6 months to create a habit, so help your body by developing a consistent pre-bedtime routine. Your biological clock will then be trained to sleep at a certain time after doing certain things.
  • Don’t focus on the clock and allow your body to judge when you should sleep: If you develop a pre-bedtime routine then you will naturally sleep at the same time every day. Focusing on the clock also can create anxiety which will make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Keep a consistent sleep and rise schedule: The above two points explained the importance of having a bed-time schedule. Your biological clock creates a habit and will naturally know when to sleep and when to wake. To help track your sleep and rise schedule, research using your Fitbit or the bedtime setting on your phone(please note that electronics must be placed in another room).
  • Either nap early in the day or not at all: Avoid sleeping in the afternoon and if you must nap, try napping between 11:30-1 pm which is the best time according to Chinese Medicine because of the Yin and Yang energy switch. As an added bonus, it’s during most people’s lunch break so try allocating time during those two hours.
  • To help regulate your internal clock make sure to get plenty of sunlight in the day: Make sure to get enough hours in the sun during the day (try taking walks or runs in the daytime). Most of us spend our daytime hours under Fluorescent lights which does not help regulate your inner clock.

If you suffer from Insomnia and want to have a better more restful sleep, then Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a great alternative choice! Give us a call at 972-671-6688 or email us using the form in the sidebar.

Health, Insomnia

How to help yourself get a better more restful night of sleep Part I

Many patients suffer from not being able to fall asleep, waking up too early, or waking multiple times in the night etc. There are multiple solutions to help yourself get a more restful night of sleep and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed.

  • Limit Caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime: If you truly suffer from insomnia, it is best to avoid caffeine(coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks etc.) after lunchtime. Oftentimes, insomnia can create a negative cycle of needing caffeine to stay awake but that same caffeine makes you unable to sleep at night. Avoid the vicious cycle by cutting out caffeine as much as possible.
  • Avoid Alcohol use 3-4 hours before going to sleep: Alcohol generates heat which disturbs sleep. Even though it relaxes you, it also creates heat which is not conducive for sleeping.
  • Avoid eating too much at dinner and eating late at night: When you are sleeping, the blood should be nourishing the brain making it calm and relaxed. If you eat too much or too close to bedtime, your blood will still be supporting your digestive system which makes it harder to fall asleep. It is also easier to gain weight by eating too much or too late in the day since your metabolism slows after 4 pm.
  • If you do need to eat at night, make sure it’s easy to digest: To elaborate on the above, stick with foods that are easier to digest i.e those low in oil or fat and small in portion.
  • Keep a quiet, dark and cool environment in your bedroom: Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to fall asleep in the winter? Well, that’s because of the combination of the dark and cool environment that winter naturally brings. To achieve this same effect in warmer weather, set your thermostat to a colder temperature and pull blinds over the windows until you can barely see your fingers!
  • Exercise earlier in the day, if you must exercise at night try yoga or stretching instead: Try doing your cardiovascular and strength training exercises earlier in the day. In fact, doing cardio and strength training in the morning right after you wake up will naturally stimulate you without the use of caffeine. If you lead a busy life and must exercise later in the day, try Yoga or stretching before bed since both will calm you down.
  • Leave electronics in another room before sleeping: In this day and age, it feels like we go to sleep with our phone and wake up with it in our hands. Well, the blue light that electronics emit at bedtime is not conducive for sleeping so turn off devices and place it in a different room to get a restful night of sleep. All emails, text messages and social media can wait until the next day! Note, this also includes TVs.

Next time we will continue with six other ways to help yourself get a better night of sleep in Part II of this article. For more information on how Acupuncture can help Insomnia click here. To schedule your free consultation please email us at or give us a call at 972-671-6688.