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Do you have sleepless nights despite not being stressed or jetlagged? If so, TCM can help find and address the cause of your insomnia.

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia refers to difficulty falling asleep and the inability to sleep soundly. According to Senior Physician Zhong Xi Ming, a TCM physician at the Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre at Orchard Paragon, insomnia can be regarded as the branch of a disease. The root of the disease is a dysfunction or imbalance within the body.

Some examples:

• Nightmares that keep you awake may indicate a gall bladder meridian disorder. 

• Difficulty in falling asleep could point to an excess condition of the liver, or liver and gall bladder.

• Waking up easily from sleep could mean you have a deficiency in a particular part of your body.

A TCM practitioner will look out for further signs of the underlying disorder. “For example, people with spleen or heart deficiency tend to be forgetful, have poor concentration and appetite, tire easily, and are always worrying about something,” explains Zhong.

How can TCM help?

A customised combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can offer fast and lasting results.

• Acupuncture – A TCM physician would select specific acupoints depending on the type of disharmony and use stimulating hand techniques to stimulate Qi. 

Sour date seed – This seed is one of the most popular Chinese herbs for insomnia caused by a liver or heart imbalance. It is said to nourish the liver and Qi, calm the spirit and combat stress.

• Gui pi wan – This herbal formula in pill form is particularly effective for overworked students with a spleen or heart disorder.

Getting enough sleep is one of the best things we can do for good health. If you find yourself short on Z’s, TCM can help trace the roots of your insomnia and design an effective treatment for you.

This article was adapted from “Triple Therapy” by Stella Thng in the Apr-Jun 2012 issue of NATURA, a magazine about the holistic path to good health.