Having Difficulty Sleeping? Read this.

What is insomnia?

If you have been having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too soon, or not feeling well-rested for more than 3 nights a week for at least 3 months, you may benefit from some sort of treatment for a condition called insomnia. People with insomnia report feeling dissatisfied with their sleep, feeling fatigued or having low-energy, they may have difficulty concentrating, experience moodiness, relationship trouble, and decreased work or school performance. It’s important to seek help if you’ve been experiencing insomnia because it can affect all aspects of your life.

What are some of the causes of insomnia?

There are many causes of insomnia such as anger, worry, grief, trauma, and clinical disorders such as bi-polar disorder and depression. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other issues that can cause insomnia include medical conditions, changes in environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, eating too much in the evening, certain medications, drugs and alcohol. In the case of alcohol, which can actually help a person fall asleep, it actually negatively affects the second half of the sleep cycle causing poor sleep throughout the night.

How can you try to prevent or improve insomnia?

When we talk about insomnia we talk about a term called “sleep hygiene”. What is sleep hygiene? Sleep hygiene means cleaning up your sleep act! One does this by getting rid of or cutting back on unhealthy and unproductive sleep habits.

Tips for cleaning up your sleep act:

Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, get regular daily exercise, establish a cutoff time for screen time 1-2 hours before bed, avoid eating for 2 hours before bed, avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, avoid too much alcohol, don’t schedule workouts too late, try to avoid worrying about not being able to fall asleep, avoid emotionally upsetting conversations before bedtime.

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that helps your body recognize its bedtime. Try a warm shower, bath, reading, or a meditation app.

Set-up a conducive sleep environment like a cool room with blackout curtains, put the phone on “do not disturb”, no television, an eye shade, and ear plugs, or a noise machine with a rainstorm setting (my personal favorite).

What about sleeping pills?

I recommend trying everything else first before taking prescription sleep medications. These medications can be habit forming and can have some serious side-effects. Many prescription sleep medications are prescribed on their off-label uses. For example, Trazodone is an antidepressant and Seroquel is an antipsychotic medication. Incidentally, both can help with sleep as more of a side-effect rather than their actual mechanism of action. Which is the alteration of specific chemicals in the brain. Ambien is another common sleep medication. Ambien is a benzodiazepine, a “benzo”. “Benzos” are addictive and can become less and less effective every night if you take it for more than a couple of weeks. So, essentially, you can end up addicted to benzodiazepines and still not be able to sleep. Ambien also has dangerous side-effects such as sleep-walking, sleep-related eating disorder and sleep-driving.

Pharmaceutical treatment of insomnia can be necessary and beneficial. It absolutely has its place in certain situations. But, if you prefer to take a more natural approach, start by evaluating your sleep hygiene and try improving it. Look at what your possible causes of insomnia may be. Stress? Worry? Anxiety? Lack of exercise? Eating too late? Try to sort some things out or seek some counseling to try to get things in check. Sleep is essential to your physical and emotional health. During sleep is when the body repairs itself.

Melatonin and Valerian Root are natural alternatives that are sold over-the-counter in most grocery stores, pharmacies, and health food stores and help improve sleep for many people. Please be sure to check with your primary care physician regarding your insomnia if it’s been going on for awhile. Especially, if it’s been longer than 3 months for more than 3 nights a week and sleep hygiene recommendations aren’t helping. Your insomnia may be related to a serious medical or psychiatric problem that requires treatment.

What are other beneficial natural treatments for insomnia?

Acupuncture and herbs have shown immense benefits in treating insomnia and is widely used by many people wishing to avoid taking medications. Here’s a scientific study on the use of acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia. read the study Acupuncture and herbal therapy strive to balance your body’s inner energy. This balanced state of Yin and Yang improves sleep quality and also improves general states of anxiety, and stress.

When reviewing the research focused on acupuncture, it tells quite a positive story. In 2018, a clinical trial study released by the prestigious Zhejiang Chinese Medical University read the study found acupuncture to be more effective than certain drugs types similar to those routinely prescribed for the treatment of insomnia. Another study conducted by Yuexiu District Second Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers also found acupuncture more effective than benzodiazepines. read the study

Not only does acupuncture help with better sleep but it helps us achieve a balanced state that improves sleep quality and also improves symptoms of anxiety, and stress and gets to the root of what is keeping you up at night. Acupuncture utilizes fine needles to access specific points on the body to restore balance, alleviate pain, stress and anxiety, enhance sleep, and improve overall well-being. When systemic balance is restored, symptoms diminish and greater overall health and well-being is achieved. Many notice better sleep that same night, reduced stress, and a feeling of calm and well-being even after just one treatment.

Food as medicine

Evening snacks that could help you sleep would include cottage cheese, banana, herbal tea (chamomile) , white rice, milk, almonds, cherry, yogurt, turkey meat, whole grains, and dark chocolate.


If you’re suffering with insomnia, schedule your appointment today, with me, at Innovate Acupuncture and get ready to finally experience a healthy night’s sleep!

Call today 303-506-1043 or schedule online at

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