People are familiar with insomnia because it is common. Currently, one fourth of the populations in the world suffer from insomnia. In fact, we all have it in some degree in a short or long term. Yet, maybe we haven’t truly found causes of it and identified effective treatments for insomnia. What is insomnia? Insomnia means prolonged and frequently abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep; it is a sleep disorder characterized by difficult falling and/or staying asleep.
When insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks, it is called acute insomnia. When it goes on at least three nights a week for a month or longer, it is called chronic.
However, none of these are problems unless they make people feel chronically tired. Insomniacs report that they have one or more of the following symptoms that diminish the amount of their sleep: difficulty in falling asleep, tossing and turning in bed, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and feeling tried upon waking. Besides, insomnia is usually accompanied by a sensation of oppression, cavern, or fullness in chest, especially around heart, and other symptoms like dizziness, cerebaria, myasthenia of limbs, ocular dryness, and dry mouth.
Causes for insomnia can include:
- No possible factors responsible for an abrupt insomnia (as most of the insomniacs experiencing)
- Prolonged physical and mental toil
- Psychological factors, such as longtime conflicting thoughts and chronic stress, which cause anxious and intensive psychological reactions of insomniacs
- Those who are prone to nervousness. This kind of persons often experience relatively intensive and continuing psychological reactions, even when the psychological factors no longer exist
- Signs of early stage of neurasthenic syndrome, anxiety disorder, depressive neuropathy, hystera, compulsion, depression, reactivity depression, climacteric syndrome, and neural schizophrenosis
- Hyperthyroidism. People with hyperthyroidism tend to have insomnia
- Drug-induced mental disorders. Inhibitors like hypnotic, sedatives, diazepam, hypnotic, etc. that affect the central nervous system, some diuretics, and hypotensors like reserpine, etc. can cause insomnia
- Senile dementia, cerebral arteriosclerosis, brain trauma, and cerebroma
- Abnormal dioptre of eyes, sinusitis, and hepatitis.
When you have insomnia, recall your medical history and check the followings:
- Are you currently worried about something? If so, fix it. If you can’t make it out, let it out of you mind. Anyway, heath is weighed against fame and wealth.
- Bad living manners such as staying up late at night will affect the shifts of yin and yang, resulting in malfunction of the central nervous system which is responsible for inhibition and stimulation. If you behave like a night owl, change this harmful manner; follow a routine to help you have a good night’s sleep.
- If you neither fall into case 1 nor 2, visit your doctor for insomnia to have these tests done: blood, thyroid function, liver function, kidney function, blood-fat, and blood pressure. Tell your doctor in detail where you don’t feel well to catch his or her attention. If your doctor diagnoses your illness as hyperthyroidism, treat it. This way your insomnia won’t occur again.
- Do you take any hypnotics? Some individuals who don’t have insomnia take hypnotics accidentally or occasionally. However, one week after they stop taking these drugs, insomnia develops.
- When you have a severe mental disorder accompanied by anxiety, fear, impulsiveness, impetuosity, paranoid, rag, and discontinued thinking, seek a psychiatrist.
When you have insomnia without what I’ve mentioned above, do the followings:
- Set a normal sleep schedule. Sleep hygiene can help you get a good night’s sleep. Traditional Chinese medicine theory explains that the best period for a good night’s sleep is from11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. At this time, yin and yang shift. When yang enters yin, yin is warmed by yang, and yang is nourished by yin. This way, they both get refreshed and move smoothly. If you miss this time for a sleep, yang will float outside above without yin’s restaint, and yin can’t get yang’s heat for flowing. Soon or later, both yin and yang in your body will get hurt, and you will feel ill.
- Get regualar exercise. Exercise for at least two hours in the late afternoon, but not to exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. The reason is simple: If you don’t consume the energy stored in your body by exercising, the energy will leave you via your brain activities. Then, you will have insomnia when your brain is working.
- Lessen the way of your thinking. If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try to make a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you not concetrate on those worries overnight. To insomniacs, they should first learn how to loose their psychological knots. If they can’t do that, try to let their psychological worries go. When insomniacs are in an emotional turmoi, how can they fall asleep. The key we should keep in mind is that a healthy body is more important than anything elso in our life.
- Avoid relying on sleeping tablets and other sedatives to get rest. All sedatives have the potential of producing psychological dependence where people cannot psychologically accept that they can sleep without these drugs. Certain kinds of sedative drugs like benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine also cause physical dependence which shows withdrawal symptoms such as palpitation, hidrosis, and tremo of hands if the drug is not carefully titrated down. Plus, over-the-counter sleeping pills for insomnia may have undesired side effects and tend to lose their effectiveness over time. Then, a safe way to treat insomnia is simply take those drugs one or two times and see your doctor to check the causes for it.
You may also try some other natural therapies to fall asleep, which include drinking a cup of warm milk or a bowl of millet congee before you go to bed and counting sheep several thousands of times. If you fail in doing all the above, come to my office to receive natural Chinese treatments — acupuncture and moxibustion.
I have used acupuncture and moxibustion to treat insomnia for more than ten years. In Vancouver, for instance, there were over 600 successful cases; 85 percent of my patients no longer suffered from insomnia.
In my office, I will teach you step by step how to adjust your mood by relaxation and make a specific healing plan according to your heath condition. The most effective is scalp acu-therapy, which regulates the function of cerebral cortex and eliminates the failure of inhibition and stimulation in cerebral cortex. When inhibition and stimulation of your cerebral cortex become normal, you will again enjoy a good night’s sleep.