Notes from a Portland Acupuncturist: Insomnia Relief

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12:48.  2:32.  3:26.  Don’t look at the clock.  Don’t look at the clock.  Here it is, the middle of the night, and once again, you can’t sleep.  You have been lying on the edge of sleep all night.  Never really falling asleep, tossing and turning, your brain running endless cycles through every and any anxiety-causing thoughts it can turn up.  It has been getting worse lately.  None of your regular tricks are working.  You start to worry that there is something really wrong with you.  Are you reading this in the middle of the night?  You are not alone, and you are not out of hope.

Here are 3 ways that acupuncture can resolve your insomnia:


1. Acupuncture is an amazingly calming medicine.  Many people fall asleep during their treatments, and nearly all of the people who come through my doors say they sleep great the night after an acupuncture treatment regardless of the reason they are coming in.  One of the reasons acupuncture is so calming is because it can increase your production of melatonin.  This is a sleep hormone that your body needs in order to get into a nice restful state.  Combine the increase in melatonin with acupuncture’s proven ability to reduce anxiety, and you have a recipe for improved sleep without negative side effects.

Want to sleep as well as he does?  Acupuncture can help.
Want to sleep as well as he does? Acupuncture can help.

2. Acupuncture is individualized.  Unlike your prescription of Ambien, or the Benadryl you’ve been taking to help you get fall asleep, an acupuncturist gets to the root of why you are not sleeping.  Is is it stress or anxiety that is keeping you awake?  Can’t shut off your brain?  Do you wake at the same time every night unable to fall back to sleep?  Your acupuncturist acts like a detective to find out any and all significant clues that will point to why you are not sleeping well.  Together you will pinpoint when and why the issue started, and then you will be given a treatment plan that will be aimed at resolving your specific problems.  It could be hormonal — pregnancy and menopause are two times that insomnia runs rampant for women, it could be general anxiety, pain, a blood sugar issue.  There are countless reasons that you could be having a hard time sleeping, and your acupuncturist will not only aim to find out why, but will individualize the treatment that best suits your particular needs.  There are no generic one-size-fits-all treatments in acupuncture.


3. Acupuncturists can make you a customized herbal sleeping “pill” that will not only help you fall asleep, but will treat the root of your sleep issues at the same time.  While your pharmaceutical sleep aid can help you sleep, it cannot make your sleep issues go away.  It is symptomatic relief, but if you take it away the sleep problems come back.  With a practitioner who is skilled in prescribing Chinese herbal medicine, a good custom formula will, after time, make itself unnecessary.  Your sleep will improve because the reason for the insomnia will have been resolved.


Don’t wait another night before getting help.  You lose out on so much when you can’t sleep.  I know — I’ve been there.  I suffered from terrible insomnia while I was pregnant with my second child, and it made my life miserable.  Everything suffered.  I began to fear nighttime and to dread going to bed because no matter how tired I was, I knew that within two hours of falling asleep I would be awake.  Once I woke up, I would be gripped by heart-pumping anxiety.  I had both general anxiety, and the terrible fear that I would not be able to fall back to sleep.  Many nights I didn’t and would see the sun rise after my two hours of sleep.  Acupuncture saved me.  It helped me be able to sleep, to relax, to manage my anxiety and to enjoy my pregnancy.  I don’t want you to have to suffer any longer.  Insomnia is highly treatable with acupuncture and herbal medicine, so schedule your appointment today with downtown Portland acupuncturist Erin Brockmeyer, LAc.