More than 1.6 million U.S. adults use complementary and alternative therapies to treat insomnia, according to the results of a national survey published in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Approximately 10 to 34 percent of Americans regularly experience difficulty sleeping. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used to treat insomnia include acupuncture, herbal medicine and relaxation techniques.
Nancy J. Pearson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., analyzed data from a national survey of 31,044 adults conducted in 2002. Respondents answered one question about whether they regularly had insomnia in the past 12 months and completed a survey on the use of 27 types of CAM therapies. Four items assessed behavior and motivation for using CAM therapies.
Of the adults interviewed, 17.4 percent reported that they regularly had insomnia in the past year. Difficulty sleeping was more common in women than men, most prevalent between ages 45 and 64. Of those with insomnia, 4.5 percent reported that they had used CAM to treat the condition, which is equal to about 1.62 million adults in the general population. Survey respondents who were younger and who had a higher level of education were more likely to use CAM to help them sleep.
Among those who use CAM therapies for their insomnia, 65 percent used biological methods, which include herbal medicines, diet interventions and vitamin therapy; 39 percent used mind-body therapies such as meditation. The survey results provide valuable information about the use of CAM that can guide future studies of these therapies, the researchers conclude.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine used in conjunction can be an effective therapy for both transient and chronic insomnia. Acupuncture for insomnia improves sleeping patterns, decreases pain and promotes deeper breathing. Acupuncture can regulate disturbed sleep patterns caused by cardiovascular conditions, stress, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, neurological disorders, environmental noise, and nutrition.
Various malfunctions in the endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive body systems that cause insomnia can be regulated with acupuncture. A combination of acupuncture, moxibustion and lifestyle changes may be recommended for the treatment of insomnia.
For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.