There has been much discussion lately in the media about the role of sleep in maintaining good health. This made me reflect that I see a lot of patients whose main complaint is insomnia. Many have suffered for years without respite, and have received no help from conventional Western medicine.
To highlight the approach of Eastern medicine, insomniacs might find it interesting to see the questions I ask before I make my diagnosis and devise a treatment plan. I won’t explain the rationale behind my questions, because Kidney Yin Deficiency will only make sense to someone with at least three years’ training in acupuncture! However, the questions do show how I try and evaluate the different types of sleep deprivation that patients experience.
- When you put your head on the pillow, do you go to sleep straight away?
- If your answer is no, approximately how long are you awake before you nod off? Whilst you are awake, are your thoughts going round and round in your head?
- Approximately how many times do you wake in the night?
- Do you wake quite frequently, i.e., more than twice, during the night and go back to sleep quite quickly?
- Do you always wake at the same time and find you can’t go back to sleep until a certain time has passed?
- If you have long periods of wakefulness, are you thinking about future-oriented matters?
- Do you wake from your sleep feeling anxious, having had a disturbing dream, and are hot or sweaty?
- During the day, is there a time when you find your energy dips for a while, and then picks up later? If the answer is yes, what time does your energy decrease and what time does the increase occur?
There may be additional questions depending on the answers given.
Why not try acupuncture to help you get a good night’s sleep and feel much better about life in general?