Insomnia Simple Type
Here the focus is on the more common types of simple insomnia patterns, meaning insomnia that involves fewer systems, not that it isn’t debilitating to the sufferer. The patterns addressed on this insomnia simple type are:
Liver Yin Deficiency
Heart Yin Deficiency
LIVER FIRE PATTERN
This insomnia type is represented by a number of distinct symptoms. Initially, these patients have restless sleep patterns. They tend to toss and turn rather than wake and not be able to return to sleep.
In addition, they tend to have disturbing dreams, often described as rising to the level of nightmares. The subject matter of the dreams is often fire and things burning. In addition to symptoms directly related to sleep, these patients often present with irritability, bitter taste in the mouth, headaches, excessive thirst, dark urine, dry stools and dizziness.
The treatment approach for these patients will include selecting acupuncture points that drain liver fire, calm and sooth the liver, moisten, anchor and calm the shen. Herbal treatment may involve formulas that support this treatment approach.
As will be seen below, the liver fire insomnia symptoms are distinct from those associated with other patterns.
HEART HEAT PATTERN
These patients also complain of waking frequently and having nightmares. Their dreams, however, tend to be focused on flying as contrasted with the fire related dreams of the Liver Fire patient. They also have other similarities with the liver fire patient, such a bitter taste in the mouth and thirst. However, unlike the liver fire insomniac, these patients exhibit signs of mental restlessness and may have tongue sores and heart palpitations.
The treatment approach for these patient is different then one designed for the liver fire patient. For these patients, the focus will be on draining heart fire and calming the shen.
Techniques used for this treatment would not be the same as those used for treating liver fire. The point prescription would be different and the herbal formula would include herbs that have an effect on the heart and related channels, not the liver and it related channels.
LIVER YIN DEFICIENCY PATTERN
These patients have symptoms that are yet again different from the previously discussed patterns. These patients have sleep disruptions during the night and many report excess dreaming, sleep talking and sleepwalking. As with the liver fire patients, these patients report they are irritable, have dry throats, feel hot, have blurred vision, sore dry eyes, dry skin and feel dizzy.
While all patients will not have all symptoms, they will report a sufficient number of them which will allow the practitioner to make a differential diagnosis.
The treatment approach for these patients will include selecting a point prescription that boosts liver yin, drains liver heat and generally tonifies the liver. Similarly, an herbal formula designed to tonify liver yin and drain liver heat will be the preference.
Points and formula’s for addressing the liver heat in these patients will be different than those used for the Liver Fire patients. Often, the type of heat experienced by the Yin Deficiency patients is a heat that is the result of lack of fluids. In these patients the yin (fluid) is insufficient to cool the yang (hotter)substances or to moisten the body, thus these patients need to have the yin fluids boosted. Simply introducing cold substances used with liver fire patients, will in the longer term create more problems. A liver fire patient has a heat condition which is excess — a much different condition than the yin deficiency patient.
HEART YIN DEFICIENCY PATTERN
Again, while these patients have some symptoms that overlap with other patterns, they also have symptoms that are unique to this pattern. The sleep disruption is of a kind in which the patients wake frequently during the night. They are mentally restless and report heart palpitations. This last symptom is unique to this pattern. Heart palpitations reflect that the patients heart is undernourished — in this case there in insufficient heart yin.
Other symptoms include dry throat, night sweating, poor memory and a sweating in the center of the chest, the palms and the feet. (This type of sweating is known as five center heat.)
As was the case will the other patterns, the treatment will be based on eliminating/treating the underlying conditions. The point prescription will include points that boost heart yin, clear heart deficiency heat and boost kidney yin. The herbal formula will include herbs that travel to the heart, tonify heart yin and clear deficiency heart heat.