Sleep is an important part of our day and vital for our bodies to rest and reset. How much you need depends on your age and can range from 12-17 hours for babies to 7-9 hours for adults. But when we have trouble with getting to sleep it may seem like the problem is insurmountable, especially in the middle of the night. Prolonged insomnia can make you feel unwell and can lead to concentration difficulties and lack of judgement, mood swings, anxiety and depression. Insomnia is also a contributing factor in diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by insomnia at some point in their lives. Such is its prevalence in today’s society, there are whole organisations dedicated to supporting people with insomnia and sleep disorders. So, what is it and what can we do to help us fall asleep and stay asleep?
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a disorder where people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Many report being tired and ready to sleep, then getting into bed, turning off the light and being wide awake. Others report they wake up fully alert and unable to switch their brains off or relax enough to get back off to sleep.
Causes of insomnia are many and varied. They include jet lag, shift work, physical pain and discomfort, lack of exercise, recreational drug use and care duties. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can be a cause and a symptom of insomnia. Prescriptions drugs, such as corticosteroids, statins and beta blockers have been noted to exacerbate sleep issues. Sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be any tangible cause.
Typical interventions from the medical profession have varying degrees of efficacy. Prescription drugs are used, although GPs no longer prescribe sleeping pills as often as they used to. Counselling and CBT is also an option, sometimes in conjunction with medication. Over the counter sleep aids are available, but not always useful as they can make you drowsy during the day. Sometimes melatonin is available, but is most often prescribed to children with learning disabilities. This, however, is not licensed by NICE as a sleep aid.
Alternative help with Cambourne Acupuncture
There are things that we can all do at home to try to improve our sleep such as reducing caffeine, increasing physical exercise and adopting relaxation techniques. Treatment at Cambourne Acupuncture can be an integral part of your journey back to good sleep too.
During a consultation we’ll assess your recent clinical signs and symptoms and your experience of insomnia to identify the underlying cause of your insomnia and factor this into your treatment course.
Acupuncture aims to rebalance the energy flow around your body so it is in alignment with your circadian rhythms. Certain points on your body are stimulated to encourage relaxation and can have a rather pleasant sedative effect! A course of Chinese herbal medicine may be recommend for certain causes of insomnia. For example, during a woman’s menopause phase when insomnia can be a common issue.
If you are beginning to have sleep issues, or have had insomnia for a long time, do contact us to see how we can help you get a good night’s sleep. We are members of the British Acupuncture Council and you can find out more on how acupuncture can help treat insomnia on their website: https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/1283-insomnia.html