Approximately 51% of the British population suffers from insomnia at some point in their lives and women make up a whopping 75% of this number. If you are one of the many Britons suffering from the condition, you are probably familiar with its harsh effects on your physical and mental wellbeing.
We all have internal clocks called circadian rhythms and if our sleeping patterns become erratic, these rhythms are thrown out of balance. This affects us in many ways such as doubling your risk of developing heart disease. Extensive medical research has also shown links between lack of sleep and worsening symptoms of depression and a decline in general mental wellbeing. Insomnia also leaves you feeling drained, which affects your performance and alertness during the day.
The modern way of treating insomnia involves copious amounts of prescription drugs that will ensure a good night’s sleep in the short-term. However, the long-term side-effects of these drugs include addiction, changes in appetite, daytime drowsiness and sensory impairment, stomach cramps and headaches among many others. These drugs also only treat the symptom itself (insomnia) and not the underlying disruption in the body’s natural rhythms.
Why choose acupuncture?
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) method of acupuncture is used to treat insomnia by focusing on imbalances in the body’s natural rhythms. It also stimulates the production of melatonin, your body’s natural sleeping hormone. Whereas prescription hypnotics and over-the-counter drugs focus only on the symptom of sleeplessness.
A report from a study conducted in 2004 found that people who suffer from anxiety and insomnia had an increase in melatonin production and total sleep time after receiving acupuncture treatment. These patients also reported falling asleep faster and not waking up during the night as often as they used to.
Going for your first acupuncture session
Firstly, you need to find a reputable and qualified acupuncturist. When you meet with him/her, you need to feel comfortable and confident in their abilities. Your treatment will be much more pleasant and comfortable if you get along with your acupuncturist and he/she understands your condition and attitude towards the treatment. Understand that acupuncture isn’t a silver bullet that will do away with all your symptoms in one session. In some cases you’ll notice immediate results and in others it may require several session. Give it time and go for at least a couple of treatments before deciding to continue or end your treatment.
Christine Kleyn is a writer for Sussex Acupuncture in the UK. She has a keen interest in health and fitness, and thrives on multiple cups of coffee per day. You can connect with her on Twitter.