Photo by  Justin M. Silles  -- Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Photo by Justin M. Silles -- Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

"Insomnia is a symptom of a sleeping disorder characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Insomniacs have been known to complain about being unable to close their eyes or "rest their mind" for more than a few minutes at a time. Both organic and non-organic insomnia constitute a sleep disorder."

Many people depend on sleeping pills. Let me give a word of caution. A patient taking any sleeping pill should be under the supervision of a physician to closely evaluate effectiveness and minimize side effects. In general, these drugs are prescribed at the lowest dose and for the shortest duration needed to relieve the sleep-related symptoms. For some of these medicines, the dose must be gradually lowered as the medicine is discontinued because, if stopped abruptly, it can cause insomnia to occur again for a night or two.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), disturbances of the spirit are regarded as manifestations of functional disorders in and among the organs, especially the heart and liver and kidney. This strategy calms disorders with symptoms of palpitations and anxiety.

There are two major reasons of disorders, deficiency and excess. Manifestations of deficiency include palpitations with anxiety, forgetfulness, disorientation and insomnia. Manifestations of excess include a feeling of being overstressed, manic behavior, bad temper and agitation. Other causes include heat, phlegm, and blood stasis.

We define which causes affect patients who suffer from insomnia. As soon as we find the cause, we approach the solution with two methods, acupuncture and herbs. Both are very effective for insomnia. If there is deficiency, we tonify. If there is an excess, we sedate. It is a simple idea, but the effect is profound. We have seen many times that as soon as needles are inserted, the patient falls asleep on the table.

When you take sleeping pills for a long time, you have to increase the dosage and depend more on pills. On the contrary, when you take herbs, your organ function is improved. Once all organ functions have improved, you don't have any more sleeping disorders and don't have to depend on herbs or sleeping pills.