A common complaint I hear from patients is "I'm not getting enough sleep" or "I don't get quality sleep". Statements like this are music to my acupuncture ears. If you are experiencing insomnia or poor quality of sleep, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine thrive at getting the body back into a healthy sleep rhythm.
In my opinion, other than water, sleep is one of the most important aspects in our lives, its the ultimate “down time.” Many critical physiological functions occur when we sleep and its when our body has time to repair itself. Unfortunately for many people out there, sleep, or going to sleep, is not the daily ritual it should be.
Lack of sleep can lead to a number of problems like increased chronic pain, poor memory, decreased sex drive, lead to accidents (like car crashes or at work), depression, anxiety, increased look of aging, increased weight gain, impaired judgement, and serious illness like heart problems, diabetes, and risk of stroke.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the importance of adequate sleep for physical, psychological and spiritual well being. Factors like physical injury, stress, illness, and poor diet all contribute to an imbalance that can lead to insomnia or poor quality of sleep. Since in Chinese medical terms there is no one prescription for insomnia, your acupuncturist will often ask many questions about your overall health to try and pinpoint the factors leading that are leading to your poor sleep. Everyone's treatment plan and suggestions will vary depending on your unique symptoms but most patients begin seeing some relief with in the first 4-5 sessions.
Tips for Treating your Sleep Problems with Acupuncture
Tips for Better Sleep
If you try some of these ideas, let me know how they work for you. Or, send me your sleep tips (or comment below) and I will share them – people reading the blog post in the middle of the night might be grateful
1. Keep A Regular Sleep Schedule
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle—your circadian rhythm—is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. Doing things like keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, and be smart about taking naps are great strategies for getting better sleep.
2. Naturally Regulate Your Sleep Cycle
Melatonin hormone occurs naturally and is controlled by light exposure. Melatonin main job is to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain should secrete more in the evening, when it’s dark, to make you sleepy, and less during the day when it’s light and you want to stay awake and alert. However, many aspects of our daily modern life can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin and with it your sleep-wake cycle.
3. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Chance are that if you make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply. A relaxing bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses
4. Eat Right and Get Regular Exercise
What you eat during the daytime and how much you exercise play a role in how well you sleep. It’s particularly important to watch what you put in your body in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
5. Work on Cutting Down on Stress and Anxiety
Stress, worry, and anger leftover from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. When you wake up or can’t get to sleep, take note of what seems to be the recurring theme. That will help you figure out what you need to do to get your stress and anger under control during the day.
6. Ways to Get Back to Sleep
7. Know When to Seek Help
If you've tried it all and are still having trouble sleeping or not feeling rested upon waking, it might be time to consider seeking outside help. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: