Do you love sleep? Or like many people, do you dread the frustration of going to bed and suffering from wakefulness and interrupted sleep? In 2014, the CDC declared sleep deprivation to be a public health epidemic. Today, 50% of Americans admit to using a mix of 2 or more sleep aids per night, such as prescription medications, over-the-counter sleeping pills, or herbal remedies and supplements for sleep. These statistics are not to be taken lightly! Sleep is so important to both how we feel and our mood as well as how well our body is doing on the inside. While we sleep our body performs a big clean-up ritual and replenishes our immune system so we’re ready for a new day. Chronic insomnia can lead to really profound health issues like chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s just to name a few.
The night after an acupuncture treatment, most of our patients report having their best night of sleep in weeks. Even if we’re not focusing on insomnia! This is because acupuncture can have a regulating effect on the nervous system and studies have shown that acupuncture treatments decrease what is known as the “hyperarousal” state in the brain, the part that easily wakes us up during the night. If insomnia is your primary concern, we have specific acupuncture point protocols that can work more directly on sleep. The most common acupuncture points are needled very shallowly around the head and ears, as well as on the legs and arms. And because acupuncture is a holistic medicine, we of course always take into consideration what may be causing sleeplessness (anxiety, depression, pain, or hormonal imbalances are often culprits) and work on those at the same time.
If any of the above conditions are preventing you from sleeping, we have many herbal remedy options to try. There are also several different Chinese herbal formulas that focus on sleep that are taken before bed. Plant medicine is gentle and has little to no side effects so you can wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy. All of our acupuncturists in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations have many years of experience treating sleep issues. Ask us next time you’re in, we’re happy to use all of our tools to help make sure you get the rest you need!