Insomnia And Anxiety
Many people ask me if there is a natural cure for insomnia. This often comes after a series of attempts to ‘cure’ their condition using sleep medication. I am happy to say that there is. But before treating sleeplessness with hypnosis or acupuncture, I distinguish what form of insomnia the person before me is experiencing. One distinction is between what is called primary and secondary insomnia. Some people simply sleep less than the general populace, getting some four or five hours per night without feeling exhausted. Working from my New York clinic, I usually help these people handle the anxiety around the fact that they’re not sleeping as much as they would like (even though their body is in fact, okay with the amount of sleep they are receiving). That is called primary insomnia.
Secondary insomnia develops from a background of a normal sleep pattern. Therapy is focused on restoring the ‘lost’ sleep to its baseline state. This form of sleep disorder is often characterized by general hyper-arousal ,a cognitive overactivity. If there is difficulty staying asleep (early morning waking) then it is typically due to a form of depression, and is treated as such. Difficulty in getting to sleep generally indicates an anxiety-based condition, and a Report of Findings indicates a different treatment protocol. When utilizing hypnosis I often teach the patient self-hypnosis so that they have a way of dealing with the condition. Acupuncture is more energetically based medicine, and requires that we use a completely different set of filters. In short, we would work toward either boosting the immune system and adrenals, which often are exhausted, and/or simultaneously unwinding the Sympathetic Nervous System (‘flight or fight mechanism). Often the SNS is ‘stuck’ in permanent overdrive. That can lead to a tightening of the body’s muscle system, setting off a cycle of dysfunction:
- A constricted lymph system leads to immune system breakdown
- Constricted arterial flow cuts off oxygen to the body
- Constricted venous flow creates a buildup of toxins such as lactic acid.
- Muscular Pain throughout the body which can leads to depression.
We can see how sleep deprivation can create a cycle of dysfunction that leads to greater problems down the road. A buildup of toxins and simultaneous lack of oxygenation leads to a compromised immune system, physical pain and, finally, emotional chaos. Chemical solutions only mask the problem, only exacerbating the cycle. This is how larger disease takes root in the body. It is our job, our duty even, to present alternative methods that address not only the symptom, but the cause of your sleep disorder. In this way we have a great chance to help you sleep better and be more vibrantly awake in the day.