In order to treat insomnia, we need understand sleep and insomnia from TCM perspective.
Yin and yang are the basis of our body. They are separate, and yet interchangeable. Throughout the day there is a waxing and waning of active yang and quiet yin. Normally, a person’s yang is higher during the day while yin is more prevalent at night. At night yang should return to yin, so his mind won’t be disturbed. However, if there is disharmony between yin and yang, and yang is still active when it shouldn’t be, insomnia occurs. In other word, our human body is designed to live in harmony with the nature.
Shen (spirit) also plays an important part in sleep. Shen refers to state of consciousness and mental functions that keep our mind sharp and alert. Shen hides in organs during night recharging, and comes out during daytime to exert its duties. When shen becomes over-excited due to some reasons, sleeplessness occurs.
Insomnia can be described as: having difficulties falling asleep, waking up often during night, restless sleep, waking up early and can’t go back to sleep, dream-disturbed sleep, or can’t sleep at all.
Before we treat insomnia, we need find out if there is any underlying reason of insomnia. If it is caused by pain, itching, asthma etc, deal with it.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine aim to treat insomnia by restoring yin–yang harmony and a balanced state of mind. Normally benefit should be expected after several weekly acupuncture treatments with many reporting an immediate improvement after the second session. Having said this, Chinese herbal medicine is often recommended to those who have suffered long time (months, even years, or more than ten years). With tailored (individually prescribed) herbal medicine taken daily, patients usually find their sleep improved quicker and stayed longer.
Do not scare of your bed (as I often hear patients say so). With some help, you can have a restful night’s sleep.