I am a 38-year-old working adult and have been exercising to manage my stress. For the past two weeks, I am having trouble sleeping at night, as I keep tossing and turning. When I do fall asleep, I have trouble staying asleep as my sleep is short and interrupted. I am feeling really lethargic. What are some remedies?

The general reason why people find it difficult to fall asleep is that body activity is unable to quiet down at night. The most fundamental thing you should do is to avoid doing your exercises at night and go to bed at a regular time. In order to be functioning optimally, the body needs to be in harmony with the environment.

Related: 3 Ways to Improve Sleep Quality

Patterns of Insomnia

Young woman who is experiencing insomnia

The first pattern of insomnia is due to hyperactivity of emotions. Patients exhibiting this pattern would also experience irritability, giddiness or headache and pain in the flanks. This pattern is usually directly linked to unmanageable stress.

The second pattern is due to poor nourishment, caused by poor nutrition or weak digestion, leading to pale complexion, heart palpitations, absent mindedness, fatigue and excessive perspiration.

The third pattern is due to imbalanced digestion, where sufferers experience bloating, acid reflux, frustration, and/or bitter taste in the mouth.

From the Chinese medicine perspective, any or a combination of these patterns could be the underlying reason for your sleep problems.

Related: Sleep Deprivation

Acupuncture Treatment for Insomnia

Acupuncture is one way that could help with this health condition and it involves needles that are placed and manipulated in specific points in the body. These points are mostly found on meridians or channels that are linked to functions in our body.

Acupuncture aims to correct imbalances that manifest as symptoms like the ones you described. Generally, points on the head and limbs will be selected, but would vary slightly based on the different patterns exhibited.

Modern research has shown that acupuncture affects our nervous system, and it triggers the release of chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. These are our natural painkillers and substances that relax us, and at the same time, improve mental health and promote the sense of wellbeing.

Related: 11 Healthy Habits to Sleep Better

It is recommended to undergo treatment in the afternoon or evening as compared to the morning. Your condition has been on-going for two weeks, which is considered relatively short and easy to rectify.

Pamper Your Feet for Better Sleep

When you cannot sleep or are not getting enough sleep, you can also try doing foot soaks before sleep. There are various acupuncture points on our foot and calf. A warm foot soak promotes circulation to these points and stimulates them to ease the mind and promote better sleep.

Reply by Ms Melissa Ong, Acupuncturist,
Specialist Outpatient Clinic, KTPH

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