15/02/2013 06:50 GMT | Updated 16/04/2013 06:12 BST

Are You Waking with the 'Twilight' Look?

Restless sleep, tossing and turning through the night? A recent survey commissioned by my professional organisation, the British Acupuncture Council, has revealed that we're a nation of zombies. One in five of us claim to feel like one after a disturbed night's sleep.

As such, the British Acupuncture Council has chosen insomnia as the theme of this year's Acupuncture Awareness Week (25 February to 3 March 2013)

The idea is to let people know about how traditional acupuncture can help improve sleep and aid relaxation. Traditional acupuncture is known to be enormously beneficial for helping to correct sleep problems. Most of my clients find treatment wonderfully soothing and soporific. And yes I use needles! but they are hair fine and only cause a very short-lived mild sensation. The end result is so relaxing because acupuncture is able to calm the nervous system and also increase endorphin production.

Stress a major factor

Results show that over two thirds of people surveyed in the UK are getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. Poor quality sleep or inability to doze off is not an illness in itself, there's always an underlying cause. In the survey it was stress that came out tops with money (53%) and work worries (35%) causing the most unrest. Another contributor was waking needing to go to the toilet.

Other reasons

There are other disturbances of course...I always check in with my clients general health as well as how late they eat and ask about their caffeine intake. Getting enough exercise so that you are physically and not just mentally tired is also very important.

An unwelcome habit

The research revealed that many people resort to medication with 1 in 10 saying they take sleeping pills to help them sleep. Medication is only intended as a short-term solution and prolonged use is not advisable as it does not address the underlying problem.

Statistics also show that when having trouble sleeping, many of us engage in activities that actually make it harder for the brain to switch off. Nearly a third of us read a book while almost one in five say they watch TV or a film.

A different approach

But if poor sleep is disrupting your life, I would recommend a course of traditional acupuncture. It can be an extremely beneficial way to ease you back to good healthy rest and acupuncture's traditional diagnosis will help to identify the root cause of the sleeping problem. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture has a track record of at least 3000 years and is based on the principles of yin and yang. Yin is calm and nourishing while yang is active and dynamic. Acupuncture works to restore your natural balance of yin and yang so that you are rested and restored at night ready and enthusiastic for action the next day.

Newly published medical research has shown how acupuncture benefits sleep according to current scientific understanding. Brain activity was measured with EEG (electroencephalography) before, during and after an acupuncture treatment. Results were conclusive, acupuncture significantly increases slow wave activity of the brain relative to fast wave activity in both the frontal and central lobes. This phenomenon is known to benefit the quality and duration of sleep.