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Better Sleep with Acupuncture Treatment

Jan 31, 2016 10:30PM
by Shawna E.M. Snyder
We are a sleep deprived culture. Sleep should not be considered a luxury, however, for many, a good night’s rest is hard to come by. If you are an insomniac who finds it difficult to wind down before bed, keep reading. If you’re a caretaker of an infant whose feeding schedule affects your sleep then take as many naps as you can and don’t worry--sleep is in your future.

Factors Affecting Sleep

As you well know, there are a slew of factors that can affect our sleep and we impose some upon ourselves as we say to ourselves: “What’s the latest on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? I must catch up on my episodes on Netflix to avoid the spoilers. Just one more game of online scrabble and then I’ll go to bed.” Sound familiar? Too often we can’t seem to shut our minds off and doze off into the land of sweet slumber.

Are You Sleep Deprived?

When taking a health history from a patient, most will respond that they estimate only five hours of quality sleep a night. They’ll schlepp through the day, supplementing with coffee and sweets to alleviate some of their fatigue. If it gets really bad, they’ll pop a sleeping pill to guarantee eight hours of sleep, but then suffer the groggy consequences in the morning. Sleep is one of the most critical components of health.

If you’re getting less than eight hours of sleep a night, you are putting your health at stake in many ways. Sleep is important for overall health including boosting immunity, sustaining better sex life, reducing pain, being less accident prone, having a better mood, finding success with weight management, thinking more clearly and having an improved memory.

How Can Acupuncture Help?

Fortunately, chronic insomnia can be treated effectively with acupuncture, which has been shown to improve a person’s sleep including better quality and increased rest time. Not all insomniacs are alike though. Knowing what type of insomnia you are experiencing can help your acupuncturist provide the most effective treatment for you. Check if any of these statements sound like you.

  • I have difficultly falling asleep: The active yang qi cannot enter the restful yin areas of the body, leading to insomnia.
  • I wake up often during the night: Internal heat is stuck in the body, causing insomnia.
  • I wake up early and can’t go back to sleep: Poor lifestyle may have damaged your kidney yin energy. Heat from kidney deficiency is rising up, causing insomnia.
  • I have excessive dreaming during sleep: The brain doesn’t quiet down and it is difficult to relax due to liver deficiency heat or heart fire, causing insomnia.
  • I can’t sleep at all: Not enough blood due to either spleen or liver deficiency, causing insomnia.
When receiving an acupuncture treatment, the nervous system begins to calm down. Studies have shown that acupuncture naturally reduces levels of cortisol, regulates serotonin and promotes the release of endorphins all of which relax your mind and body. The acupuncture needles are doing deep work by unraveling subconscious stresses, balancing your qi and releasing the causes of insomnia. It’s quite common for patients to fall asleep on the treatment table. According to a recent study, the relaxation effects of an acupuncture treatment are similar to the restorative healing functions of three hours of sleep.

Usually, the night after an acupuncture treatment will be the best a patient will have slept in a long time; however, several days later, symptoms of insomnia may start to return. This is an indication that the patient should receive acupuncture treatment for insomnia more frequently. It usually takes several treatments per week, for several weeks, to fully resolve chronic insomnia. An acupuncturist can also help create a sleep hygiene plan to improve sleep for the patient. Acupuncture is a side-effect free, non-dependent, natural cure for insomnia.

Shawna Snyder is a licensed acupuncturist at Rose Wellness Center, in Oakton, VA who specializes in pain management using various Chinese Medicine techniques such as cupping, moxibustion and non-needle techniques, as well as a variety of other conditions including stress, insomnia, digestive and women’s health issues. For more information, visit


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