People with sleep disorders may have difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia), obstructed breathing (sleep apnea), inability to wake up and fall asleep at regular times (delayed sleep phase syndrome), fall asleep spontaneously (narcolepsy), grind teeth (bruxism), enact REM phase violent dreams (rapid eye movement behavior disorder), and move legs while sleeping (restless legs syndrome).
Acupuncture is particularly indicated for re-harmonizing a disturbed sleep-wake cycle and has a calming effect on the nervous system. It clears obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels and facilitates flow of qi. Common noted benefits of acupuncture include deeper breathing, better sleeping patterns and decrease in various pains that cause sleep difficulties. Acupuncture can reduce chronic pain that may exacerbate sleep disorders. Sleep difficulties may be caused by deficiency of endorphins; acupuncture can increase levels of endorphins.
Disturbed sleep patterns can be caused by medication, stress, cardiovascular conditions, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, and sciatica. These comorbidities should be treated rather than alleviating a sleep disorder as a health condition unrelated to other chronic illnesses. Acupuncture can correct imbalances causing the disorder and increases production of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, which appear to aid sleep.
Allopathic remedies for sleep disorders are grouped into three categories: Behavioral/psychotherapeutic, medication and other somatic therapies. Typically these remedies are aimed at symptomatic treatment. Many medications have the side effect of sleeplessness. For people hesitant to take medication, acupuncture is a safe alternative. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), with its focus on treating syndromes as well as individual symptoms, is widely used to treat sleep disorders. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tui na, and qigong can aid in sleep difficulties.
If frequent sleep difficulties occur, treatment should be sought. For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of sleep disorders, contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.