Insomnia and Sleep Disorder

Are you facing so many sleepless nights in today’s fast paced stressed-out world?

Do you seek help from sleep medicine yet fear the side effects and addiction?

If your answer is YES, you may be one of the 30% American adults having insomnia. 

What are insomnia and sleep disorders?

Most adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep on average a day, but more than 3 million American adults consistently do not get this amount of rest. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder defined as difficulty initiating and maintaining asleep for at least 3 nights per week, in addition to complaints of sleep-related daytime impairment.

What are the signs and symptoms of insomnia and sleep disorders?

•         Inability to fall asleep at night despite being tired

•         Waking up frequently throughout the night

•         Waking up too early in the morning but not being able to get back to sleep

•         Not feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep

•         Sleep that is chronically non-restorative or poor

•         Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating or remembering, and impaired ability to perform normal activities or increased error or accidents

•         Ongoing anxiety as bedtime approaches

•         Tension headaches

Why is good sleep important?

Sufficient and restful sleep is a human necessity. It is critical to maintaining Qi and the body in a harmony. Lack of sleep causes the body to over produce "stress hormones" such as adrenaline and cortisol, which causes people to be nervous and more aggressive. Increased level of cortisol due to chronic stress is also linked to high blood pressure, suppressed the immune system and weight gain.

Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life. While occasional restless nights are normal, prolonged sleep disorders lead to headaches, depression, anxiety, impaired memory, increased risk and severity of long-term diseases, poor concentration, judgment, and job or school performance, slowed reaction time while driving or operating machinery and a higher risk of accidents, and increased risk of substance abuse, etc.

What are the causes of insomnia and sleep disorders in Oriental medicine?

Insomnia may stem from a disruption of the body's circadian rhythm, which is an internal clock that governs the timing of hormone production, sleep, body temperature, and other functions. On-going anxiety/stress and daily coffee/alcohol are the most common culprits. Oriental medicine recognizes the importance of adequate sleep for physical, psychological and spiritual well-being. Insomnia is considered as an imbalance of the Heart function. Stress and poor diet leads to Qi stagnation. This stagnation of Qi travels as fire to the Zang of Heart, which is also the repository of the mind and spirit. The damage caused by the Heart fire results in insomnia and sleep disorders.

What Oriental medicine and acupuncture can do for insomnia and sleep disorder?

Oriental medicine and acupuncture for insomnia do not just treat a symptom but correct the root of body disharmony causing the condition. Therefore, those who use Oriental medicine and acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only improved sleep quality, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.



Acupuncture has been used very effectively by Oriental medicine practitioners to treat insomnia and improve sleep, without side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.



Chen, H. Y., Shi, Y., Ng, C. S., Chan, S. M., Yung, K. K. L., & Zhang, Q. L. (2007). Auricular acupuncture treatment for insomnia: a systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(6), 669-676.


Cao, H., Pan, X., Li, H., & Liu, J. (2009). Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 15(11), 1171-1186.


Cheuk, D. K., Yeung, W. F., Chung, K. F., & Wong, V. (2012). Acupuncture for insomnia. The Cochrane Library.


Spence, D. W., Kayumov, L., Chen, A., Lowe, A., Jain, U., Katzman, M. A., ... & Shapiro, C. M. (2004). Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 16(1), 19-28.

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