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Are You Lying Awake at Night?

It’s the middle of the night. It feels like the entire world is asleep except for you. No matter what you try, you just can’t get to sleep — or maybe you can get to sleep but you always wake up at 3:00 a.m. no matter what you do. You feel exhausted and on the verge of tears, because you just want to sleep. 

This has probably happened to many of us at one time or another. Sometimes you know the cause is stress and sometimes you just can’t pinpoint exactly why you can’t sleep. 

Read on to learn more about insomnia and how we treat your unique type using our evidence-based approach. You can also see some insomnia tips and typical treatment plans to improve your sleep.

  1. Questions About Insomnia
  2. Natural Remedies for Insomnia
  3. Treating Insomnia with Chinese Medicine
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Questions About Insomnia


Types of Insomnia

There are four different types of insomnia. There’s acute insomnia, chronic insomnia, onset insomnia, and maintenance insomnia. Acute insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. It’s short term and only lasts a few days to a few weeks. This is common with jet lag or stress causing insomnia. Insomnia is considered to be chronic if it lasts for at least a month.

The two types of insomnia most commonly discussed in Traditional Chinese Medicine are onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep), and maintenance insomnia (difficulty staying asleep or waking too early). These types of insomnia both respond well to treatment including acupuncture, customized herbal medicine for insomnia, dietary changes, and lifestyle guidance including sleep hygiene.

What Causes Insomnia?

Acute insomnia often has a cause that can be easily pinpointed such as high stress events, pain, or jet lag. Chronic insomnia usually falls into one of two categories, idiopathic and comorbid insomnia. Idiopathic insomnia means that the cause can’t really be understood. Comorbid insomnia is insomnia due to another condition such as anxiety, thyroid disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or diabetes. Psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, PTSD, and depression are the most common causes of both chronic and acute insomnia.

What are The Symptoms of Insomnia?

Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased performance at work or school, and not feeling well-rested.

Can Insomnia be Cured?

Yes! It is important to discuss all of your symptoms and rule out underlying causes of insomnia that might also need to be addressed, but insomnia is absolutely treatable.

How to Know if You Have Insomnia

People with insomnia regularly have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Some common signs you may have insomnia include:

  • Finding it difficult to fall asleep at night.
  • Waking in the middle of the night and finding it hard to fall back asleep.
  • Waking too early (before your alarm) and finding it difficult to fall back asleep.
  • Feeling tired during the day.
  • Lying awake at night.

Does Menopause Cause Insomnia?

Menopause is known to cause many sleeping problems. Many women start to feel hot at night and are plagued by hot flashes and night sweats as they try to sleep. Because your estrogen and progesterone levels naturally decrease during perimenopause and menopause, this can trigger insomnia. This is partly because progesterone is a hormone that tends to make you drowsy. This is why insomnia is a common symptom of menopause.

Can Anxiety Cause Insomnia?

Anxiety can contribute to insomnia. When the body is in a state of tension, that feeling can make it very difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. A common insomnia symptom related to anxiety is waking in the night, and then after waking lots of thoughts and worries rush in and then it can even feel like your head is spinning with worry.

Acupuncture for Insomnia and Anxiety

Acupuncture can help calm the nervous system and take the body out of the state of hyperarousal which can make sleeping quite difficult as daytime worries can carry over into the night.

Acupuncture Points for Anxiety and Insomnia

There are many great acupuncture points to treat insomnia. Some of these are located on the head, ears, inner wrist, legs, feet, neck, and back. If you are being treated for insomnia with acupuncture, you can expect your acupuncturist will use some combination of these points.

Is Insomnia a Mental Illness?

While insomnia can be a symptom of mental illness, insomnia in and of itself is not a mental illness. Insomnia can also have physiological causes such as hypertension, thyroid disease, pain, and even lack of exercise.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

It’s 2:00 A.M and you still have not fallen asleep. You have been in bed since 10:30. You didn’t even play on your phone as you usually do and you are still awake thinking. … Did you turn off the stove?… What are you going to wear tomorrow?… You should probably go for a run in the morning. 

Insomnia is defined as trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, waking too early and not being able to fall back asleep, and feeling tired or fatigued upon waking. Insomnia can be considered chronic when it persists at least three times a week for a period of three months. It is considered acute when it lasts from one night to a few weeks. 

At Cherry Blossom Healing Arts, we use holistic approaches for insomnia which can include: acupuncture, herbal medicine, tea recommendations, mindfulness exercises and overall general health modifications. We treat your whole body in conjunction with your presenting symptoms.

In most cases, insomnia usually has a root cause–especially if it is chronic. We use a multifaceted approach to treat the root cause of your Insomnia to ensure that we are addressing the deeper layers of dysfunction and imbalance.

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Acupuncture for allergies

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Chinese herbal medicine for allergies

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Cupping for allergies

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Gua Sha for allergies

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Nutrition and allergies

Acupuncture for Insomnia

Acupuncture treatment for insomnia promotes overall relaxation, stress reduction and a calm mind. When the body is not preoccupied with everyday life stressors, it is able to attune to its natural circadian rhythms which helps to promote more regular sleep. Acupuncture works to facilitate a more relaxed state of the mind and the body.

Can Acupuncture Help Insomnia?

Acupuncture can be very beneficial for the treatment of Insomnia. When we are able to facilitate overall relaxation, the body can more easily and more readily promote the biochemical process of sleep, helping your body transition into that state with more ease. Acupuncture can help nourish and relax your body so it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Acupuncture Points for Insomnia

There are many, many great acupuncture points to treat insomnia. Many of these such are found on the head, the ears, the wrist, and even the feet. Your acupuncturist can easily add points to help relax you and improve your sleep even if you are working on something else such as back pain.

How Many Acupuncture Treatments Are Needed for Insomnia

The number of acupuncture treatments vary from person to person depending on their overall health condition. Generally, we recommend anywhere from four to six sessions because it takes time to treat your whole body. That being said, insomnia treatments can have an immediate effect. Many patients who are being treated for things other than insomnia report a big improvement in sleep quality once they begin acupuncture!

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Insomnia

Our patients tend to have the best outcomes for insomnia treatment when we combine acupuncture, custom herbal medicine prescriptions, and lifestyle guidance. Herbal medicine can help nourish the body so you are able to fall asleep and stay asleep. We have also found that patients tend to have less daytime anxiety when using herbs in conjunction with their acupuncture treatment plan for insomnia.

What Herbs Are Good for Insomnia?

Some herbs that work wonders for Insomnia include jujube fruit (Suan Zao Ren),  schisandra fruit  (Wu Wei Zi),  biota seed (Bai Zi Ren), poria (Fu Shen) and so many more. They work to calm the mind, supplement and support the heart, and increase an overall feeling of relaxation. 

Many of our herbal formulas are not sedative but nourishing, so we recommend those be taken twice per day, to give your body continuous nourishment that will, in turn, help you sleep that much better.

What Tea Is Good for Insomnia?

While you may find over the counter teas that can help insomnia such as chamomile or lavender, we highly recommend a customized herbal formula. This is because we can tailor the formula to you and your unique body so that you sleep well and feel better.

Cupping for Insomnia

Cupping helps with overall relaxation and feelings of well being which might be helpful for insomnia that is stress-induced. Cupping helps promote better circulation and by doing so, can have a positive effect on overall quality of sleep.

Gua Sha for Insomnia

Gua Sha like cupping also helps release muscle tension but more superficially. Gua Sha can be helpful in easing tension and help your body achieve overall relaxation. This can then help your body relax deeply and therefore aid your body’s biochemical processes that facilitate sleep.

Nutrition and Insomnia

Nutrition can play a big role in insomnia. It’s really important to look at what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat. 

Nutritional Causes of Insomnia

Some common causes of Insomnia include: late night eating, too much caffeine and/or alcohol, too much processed foods in the diet, greasy and fried foods, undereating, overeating and so much more. Eating too much too late at night can be a cause of Insomnia as much as eating too little or eating foods that increase inflammation, such as fried foods. All these factors require your body to expend energy that would otherwise be used for activities such as cellular repair, blood detoxification, memory formation all of which happen when you are sound asleep. 

Best Nutritional Tips for Insomnia

Eating a diet that nourishes your body is an important factor for overall health but also, for the quality of sleep. To help your body function properly, eating whole, fresh foods is ideal. There are certain foods however that help with sleep and these include: bananas, kale, nuts, eggs, yogurt, fish, rice, cherries, chicken and turkey. These foods have been shown to increase the production of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that aid with sleep.

Helping You to Get Restful Sleep Naturally

VSSleep, Stress, Pain, Allergies

You can feel the difference from the first visit

Very grateful to have found this place. I would recommend Cherry Blossom to anyone facing issues with sleep, pain, stress, seasonal allergies etc...

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Treating Insomnia with Chinese Medicine

When treating insomnia with Traditional Chinese Medicine we treat your whole body. We do this by using diagnostic tools such as the pulse, the tongue and your overall medical history. We determine the root cause(s) of your insomnia and treat that as well as your Insomnia symptoms. 

You can expect to start with weekly or bi-weekly acupuncture treatment, depending on the severity of your insomnia. The treatment might also include other modalities such as cupping, gua sha and/or an herbal medicine formula. All of this is determined by your general presentation and what we think would be best for you. The treatment should be relaxing and restoring. Many of our patients describe the feeling of acupuncture as a warm, calming sensation that transports you to a state of relaxation between sleep and meditation. Zzzzzzz.

patient on treatment table in field of cherry blossoms

Your Acupuncture Treatment Plan

Your journey to better health begins before you step through our doors. You'll be able to easily schedule an appointment online as well as fill out your health history form before you arrive at our office—maximizing conversational and treatment time with your acupuncturist.

At your first appointment, your acupuncturist will discuss your health history, get input from you on what your treatment goals are, and develop a treatment plan. They'll then treat you using whatever services are best suited to your specific symptoms.

Although plans vary depending on the patient, most typically run for four weeks. At the end of your first visit, your acupuncturist will give you a written treatment plan. At subsequent visits, you'll discuss your symptoms and whether they've improved, regressed, or stayed the same. Your acupuncturist will adjust the treatment plan based on your input and their ongoing diagnosis of your condition.

When your main complaint is resolved, you can reduce treatment or work on another symptom. Still thinking it over? Take a look at our Testimonials page to see what other patients are saying. 

You Deserve to Sleep Better

Sleep is a foundation for good health. When you sleep better, everything else tends to improve. You deserve to sleep and feel better! Ready to experience this for yourself? Head to our Booking page and schedule your first appointment. If you’d like us to check your insurance benefits, we’d be happy to take care of that for you. We’re in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross and Aetna.

Be well,
The Cherry Blossom Team

Cherry Blossom Healing Arts
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Open 7 days a week:
Mon 10:45 am – 8:00 pm
Tue 10:45 am – 8:00 pm
Wed 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thu 9:45 am – 8:00 pm
Fri 8:15 am – 5:15 pm
Sat 8:15 am – 5:15 pm
Sun 9:45 am – 7:00 pm

2639 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite C-101
Washington, DC 20008
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