Insomnia has becoming a common health problem in our community as our lifestyle becomes increasingly stressful and we found ourselves “unable to switch off” is the most common term heard from the patients.

Insomnia is a term expressed when a person is unable or has problem falling asleep. It may also include poor sleep or light sleep that can be waken up easily.

Sleep is the only time that our body goes into a resting state. “Unable to sleep” or poor sleep can have serious effects on our physical and mental health. Therefore, insomnia is a problem that needs to be treated seriously. In our clinical practise, there are strong linkages between poor sleep/ insomnia with overweight, over-eating and obesity as well as anxiety, fatigue and depression.

Accompanying signs & symptoms

Key symptoms: Unable to fall asleep, can be wake up easily, having problem going back to sleep, does not wake up fresh in the morning, “unable to switch off”

anxiety, uneasiness, nervousness, agitation and impatience, food craving, binge eating, uncontrolled appetite, shallow breathing, snoring, rapid weight gain, fluid retention

Accompanying symptoms include: thinking too much, worrying too much, feeling tense and uptight, unable to concentrate, headache, neck and shoulder tensions, stiff neck and shoulders, hair loss

Possible Causes

Stress, tension
Menopause or hormonal imbalance
Pressure from work, family or relationship
Unpleasant event
Environmental factors such as noise, busy surroundings
Accumulated physical and mental exhaustion
Poor diet and lifestyle such as smoking, excessive caffeine intake
Working night shifts and frequent changes in shift hours

Physiological Mechanisms

Insomnia is very common condition seen in clinic. It often combine with other health problems including stress, anxiety, fatigue, food cravings, poor digestions, depression. Insomnia can be seen as a complication of poorly managed stress and anxiety problems.
When a person is under stress either physically or mentally, the body produced large amount of adrenaline, corticosteroids as well as other stress related hormones. As the result, this rapidly increase the blood sugar level, blood pressure and heart rate. This is known as the fight or flight responses. Consequently, the person becomes agitated, restless and hyperactive. This is also known as anxiety.
Working long hours is like an overheated car engine, unable to cool down in time, therefore when the person goes to bed, the body is still “too tense” or “too stressed out” to relax. He/she consequently has problem to “switch off” and fall asleep.

Treatment Modalities

Specialty acupuncture for 12 sessions. 2 sessions per week for the first 3-4 weeks.

Mechanism of action of the herbs used

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treats the condition by doing the following:
Relaxing the body
Regulating the balance and activities of our central nervous system.
Releasing muscle tensions
Reducing harmful hormones in the body
Correcting hormonal imbalances
Reducing physiological stress in the body
Promoting deep relaxation of the body
Calming your mind and spirit

Health Advice

Reducing the intake of caffeine and cigarette smoking
Eat a balance diet
Establishing a regular eating habit
Encouraging moderate, regular and outdoor exercises