What are the consequences of inadequate sleep?

Other than auto-accidents, nowadays, researchers have made an association between insomnia and other mental diseases, such as depression and anxiety. It not only robs you from enjoying good relationships with friends and family members but also decreases your performances and concentration at work place.
Healthy men deprived of even a single night’s sleep have a 30 percent drop in the activity of their immune system’s tumor-fighting cells the next day.
Lack of sleep also results in reduced function in repairing worn-out tissue.
People who had inadequate sleep in a night were found to experience a surge of high blood pressure when they wake up in the morning. In some cases, that surge can lead to stroke or other heart problems.
Long-term sleep deprivation may increase the severity of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, chronic stress, chronic pain, inflammation, reduced immunity and diabetes… etc..

Different stages of sleep.

Sleep occurs in a series of cycles, each lasting between sixty and ninety minutes. On average, people have five or six sleep cycles during a normal nighttime sleep session.
Each cycle has different stages namely stage 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (Rapid Eyeball Movement) stage. The stages are defined according to the types and intensity of brain wave activity as measured by EEG tracings, and also by the ease with which the sleeping person can be aroused. Each stage has its physiological functions. Poor sleepers tend to spend less time in deep sleep, particularly Stage 4, as well as less time in REM.

How does the use of sleeping pills affect sleep?

Sleeping pills help us to fall asleep fast. However, most sleeping pills induce sleep by depressing brain function as a whole. As a result, the quality of sleep produced is different from normal sleep. Most healthy people spend about a quarter of their total sleep time in REM sleep. When you take sleeping pills, REM can drop to as little as a tenth of total sleep time in the beginning. As you continue to take the pills for a few weeks, the proportion of REM will gradually return to normal.
The proportion of deep sleep is also seriously affected by sleeping drugs. Some people who take sleeping pills spend as little as five per cent of their total sleep time in deep sleep.
Side effects & dependency also concerns patients.

Causes of insomnia.

Insomnia can originate by a number of factors.
Mental health problems may contribute to insomnia include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and learned insomnia.
Caffeine, nicotine and ingredients in several nonprescription drugs for weight loss, asthma, and colds, can interfere with sleep. Smokers may take longer to fall asleep than non-smokers. Life style factors such as use of alcohol, erratic hours, sedentary behavior, activities in and around the bedroom, intolerance to certain foods, eating excessively can all contribute to insomnia.
Many medical problems can disturb your sleep. Angina, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, allergies, congestion, coughing, indigestion, reflux, or ulcers, bladder problems, arthritis, chronic pain conditions, headaches, epilepsy, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes and hypoglycemia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep apnea, obesity, particularly if the obese patient also has lung problems from chronic smoking or heart disease; and periodic leg movements.
A significant number of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can disturb sleep either by causing stimulant or withdrawal effects.
Environmental factors such as ventilation, humidity, noise, light, stale air or an uncomfortable mattress can cause insomnia or reduce the quality of sleep, even when they don’t actually keep you awake.

What can I do to improve my sleep?

Some common sense remedies may improve sleep:

  • Exercise daily in the late afternoon or early evening- but not before bedtime.
  • Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Get up at about the same time every morning, no matter when you go to bed.
  • Do not go to bed until you feel sleepy.
  • Have a light snack or read for 10 minutes before you turn out the light.
  • Set an alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time every morning no matter how you slept the night before. Once normal sleep patterns are reestablished, most people find that they have no need for an alarm clock.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 5 pm or 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Do not read anything related to work just before going to bed.
  • Avoid reading mysteries or other exciting books before going to sleep. You may find it hard to put down.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet and dark with adequate ventilation and humidity.
  • Reduce activities, watching television or being on the Internet just before bedtime. A quarter hour of quiet conversation, light reading, or soft music may make a big difference.
  • Learn to put worries out of your mind.
  • Spend some time in bright sunlight each morning during the morning hours for at least fifteen minutes to set the biological clocks.
  • Making a break between daytime activities and the inactivity associated with night helps to encourage sleep. Review the activities of the day and prepare a plan for the following day.
  • Take a warm bath before going to bed.
  • Sex is a great aid to sleep if you have a willing partner.
  • A bedtime massage can also help.
  • Don’t go to bed angry.
  • Some common sense remedies may improve sleep.
    Exercise daily in the late afternoon or early evening- but not before bedtime.

Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Get up at about the same time every morning, no matter when you go to bed.

Do not go to bed until you feel sleepy.

Have a light snack or read for 10 minutes before you turn out the light.

Set an alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time every morning no matter how you slept the night before. Once normal sleep patterns are reestablished, most people find that they have no need for an alarm clock.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 5 pm or 6 hours before bedtime.

Do not read anything related to work just before going to bed.

Avoid reading mysteries or other exciting books before going to sleep. You may find it hard to put down.

Keep your bedroom quiet and dark with adequate ventilation and humidity.

Reduce activities, watching television or being on the Internet just before bedtime. A quarter hour of quiet conversation, light reading, or soft music may make a big difference.

Learn to put worries out of your mind.

Spend some time in bright sunlight each morning during the morning hours for at least fifteen minutes to set the biological clocks.

Making a break between daytime activities and the inactivity associated with night helps to encourage sleep. Review the activities of the day and prepare a plan for the following day.

Take a warm bath before going to bed.

Sex is a great aid to sleep if you have a willing partner.

A bedtime massage can also help.

Don’t go to bed angry.

Is acupuncture beneficial for me?

“Acupuncture appears to be a useful treatment approach for a common clinical problem. … This is an area in patient care where acupuncture could be a beneficial addition to standard allopathic treatments.” Published on Medical Acupuncture A Journal For Physicians by Judith R. Peterson, MD.  (http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/aama_marf/journal/vol13_3/article4.html)

Using acupuncture in treatment of insomnia has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). It has helped many patients with sleep disorders; it is certainly a reasonable natural modality that has its potential to help. However, “It works for many” doesn’t guaranty that it works for you. As for you, there is only one way to find out…

How many sessions would I need? How much does it cost?

As mentioned before, there are many different causes for sleep disorder. Some cases have better prognoses while the others don’t. We charge $74 (subject to change without notice) per acupuncture session subject to change without notice. Please call 403-233-0498 for current rate.

Alberta Health Care does not cover acupuncture treatment. However, most of the group insurance and company benefits cover acupuncture treatment. You may get clarification from human resources department in your work place.