I couldn’t sleep well. When I slept, I would have nightmares/vivid dreams that made me reach for my concealer every morning to cover up dark circles under my eyes. It was exhausting, frustrating, and draining.
I tried going to bed early and turning off technology an hour before bed. I limited my caffeine intake to ONE coffee a day and did my best to stay away from added sugars. Nothing helped.
After months, yes months, of trying, I began to adjust to the lack of sleep. I stopped fighting it and relied on shots after shots of espresso to get me through the day and pre-workout to get me through morning runs and yoga sessions. I was a walking, talking, caffeine-stimulated member of the undead.
Somewhere in a yoga studio in New York City, a newly relocated, surfing, Hawaiian ray of light (now a good friend of both of ours), suggested for me to give acupuncture a chance. I wasn’t a stranger to alternative medicine. Growing up I was fed concoctions of herbs, sweetened with honey, to cure pretty much anything ranging from sore throats to poison ivy. I figured that maybe a few needles could poke the insomnia right out of me.
I was in.
After my first session, I felt lighter and happier. I committed to three sessions a week and worked with my acupuncturist to jot down notes on how I was feeling/sleeping. Five sessions in, the nightmares stopped. Eight sessions in, the vivid dreams went away. Acupuncture has since become a part of my self-care routine. My success has allowed me to cut down the frequency of sessions to once a week/every other week.
What I learned:
Inquire with your insurance company to see if they cover services. Luckily, my provider covered all costs besides a small co-pay fee.
Read reviews and check professional accreditations. Acupuncture is considered an invasive procedure. You want to make sure that your practitioner is certified, has undergone proper training, and has plenty of experience under their belt.
Consider and do your research on Chinese medicine. My practitioner gently suggested that I try a natural supplement made of dates, tart cherries, and herbs known to improve sleep. This was a game changer for me.
Don’t be afraid to try different acupuncturists. You are exposing your body and energy to this individual. To make the experience enjoyable and not awkward, make sure you find a professional that you vibe well with.
Drink a lot of water and eat a light, healthy meal after your session. You will be thirsty. I made sure to have coconut water on hand to replenish electrolytes, followed by a salad or RX bar.
You will most likely be laying with the needles for twenty to forty minutes. Stop thinking about the needles and enjoy the stillness. Take this time to meditate or simply relax.