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(Summer) Sleep and Acupuncture


Sleep, or lack of sufficient, good quality sleep, affects us in countless ways:  it affects our energy and mood (perhaps most obviously!), our blood sugar, our appetite regulating hormones (and thus weight), our productivity, our nervous system and other stress hormones, our heart health, our ability to exercise effectively and recover from training, our likelihood of accidents, and--overall - our lifespan!

(check out this podcast or other stuff by Matthew Walker if you need more convincing!)

Sleeping well has been one of my personal challenges over the years, so I totally empathise with the struggles of insomnia and the frustration of what can turn into a vicious cycle at bedtime.  There are plenty of well known hints and tips about sleeping that insomniacs have probably already tried (again see above link), but many of these things go out the window in the holiday period.  Warm nights, long journeys or jet lag*, drinking more alcohol, eating too late, or changing schedules for work or childcare etc. all affect our sleep - and sometimes we need a bit of extra help to get back into a healthy, good quality sleep routine. 

Acupuncture has been proven to help insomnia and improve sleep quality, and I love seeing the improvement in my patients’ sleep when they come for treatment (even if that is not their main priority!).  From a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective, there are many different imbalances which can contribute to disturbed sleep, so for effective treatment, it is important that each individual receives a course of treatment based on their individual diagnosis.

A preliminary report in 2004 showed that acupuncture increased nighttime melatonin production and total sleep time in patients with anxiety. The patients who received acupuncture also fell asleep faster, were less aroused at night, and were less stressed. 

Other studies have shown that acupuncture also helps improve sleep for people with insomnia without significant other health problems. For example this study in 1999.  A key point in this and other studies is that “true and individualized acupuncture” shows efficacy in primary sleep disorders- meaning that each patient may be treated differently -depending on their TCM diagnosis by a qualified holistic Acupuncturist. 

If you need help with your sleep to help you enjoy this holiday time even more, get in touch and see how Holistic Acupuncture can help you :)

* Tips for Jetlag

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