Have you ever struggled to fall asleep despite of severe tiredness? Have you ever got up in the middle of the night, to find yourself lying awake for hours? You are not alone, about 15% of adults have difficulty to fall asleep and about 40% of us experience insomnia at least once in our life.
Insomnia comes in different shapes and forms, there can be short term and long term variation of this intricacy. Insomnia is very unstable condition, as it can come and go with periods of no sleep hardships at all. Acute insomnia can last from 1 night to several weeks. Another, chronic type of insomnia makes people sleepless at least 3 times a week for at month or more. Untreated chronic insomnia can also lead to serious health issues.
Healthy sleep consists of 5 stages, which takes place in specific sequence. The most important is deep sleep phase or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This stage takes around 20% of night’s sleep where the awareness is greatly reduced.
Short awakenings between the stages are normal. However, sleep disorder occurs when the stages of sleep are mixed in sequence with irregular timings and too long waking periods. There are number of physical, psychological and external factors causing sleep disorders and usually combination of these factors is what creates the problem.
What causes insomnia?
Sleep disorders can be triggered by many different factors, some of the most common ones are:
- Stress and anxiety
- Mental health condition (e.g. depression)
- Medical conditions (e.g. chronic pain, breathing difficulties)
- Substances like Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine
- Certain medications (e.g. antidepressants)
- Inadequate sleeping environment
However, no matter what is the actual reason behind the sleep problems – if they are left untreated for long periods of time, they can become autonomous. Sleeping pills are not recommended either, due to actual addiction that might develop as a result of frequent use.
When experiencing sleep disorders for some period of time, you can develop negative though patterns which can seriously hinder your recovery and even turn into vicious cycle. These are self inflicted, harmful thoughts, which trigger tension, fear and mistrust in sound sleep. That leads to increased blood pressure, muscle tenseness and alertness.
How to treat insomnia?
From the perspective of acupuncture, harmony between “Yin” and “Yang” energies determine wellness of body and mind. Dark element “Yin” symbolizes night and vice versa. When one energy flows too deep into another, unbalance is created. This unbalance in our everyday life comes in form of artificial lighting, long hours of work and behind television screens, etc. Eventually this leads to complication of sleep.
Acupuncture therapy harmonizes the day-night rhythm and promotes healthy sleep. Trials have shown that acupuncture therapy releases sleep-promoting and muscle-relaxing substances, such as serotonin (happiness hormone) and stimulates morphine production, hence leading to harmony in balance.
Apart from that, there are other techniques to regulate balance and disharmony. Practice of meditation exercises like Qi Gong, Tai Qi, Yoga, Autogenic Training, Mindfulness Training, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and others, support your sleep disorder.
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