rest is essential to good health, and sleeplessness is a sign of
imbalance. If your sleep is habitually disturbed it can be very damaging
to the vital energy of the body and immune system. If this is the case
it is important that you inform your acupuncturist so that you can work
together to determine the cause of the imbalance and treat it
appropriately. You will be amazed at how a good night's sleep can change
your life. With more rest your energy and focus improve, the immune
system and your body's ability to deal with stress are strengthened, and
nagging health conditions resolve more easily.
medicine, sleep is seen as one's yang energy moving inward to be
enfolded by yin. Many different patterns of imbalance can hinder this
process. Sleep can be disrupted by pain, hormonal imbalances, digestive
or cardiovascular disorders, anxiety, and depression, and many
medications have the side effect of sleeplessness. The effects of
imbalance can be as simple as difficulty quieting the mind when
preparing for sleep, or sleep which is easily disturbed by light or
sound, to very restless, agitated or dream disturbed sleep.
Our own energy
is ruled by the energy of the world around us and the rhythm of our days
should naturally reflect the sun's course. As the sun is setting the
ruling energy is that of yang (day) transforming into yin (night). This
is the appropriate time to start slowing down, quieting the mind and
preparing for sleep. This of course is not always possible, but those
suffering from sleeplessness should be aware of the influences of
universal energy and try to adjust their habits to better reflect this
natural pattern. Stimulating food and drink including spicy foods, heavy
meats, rich sauces, alcohol and caffeine should be avoided in the
evening. Stressful mental work should be avoided if possible in the
evenings and vigorous exercise should be scheduled earlier in the day.
Activity should be restful, meditation or gentle stretching and
breathing exercises can help prepare the body for sleep. Some people
find a tea of chamomile or valerian beneficial, for some soaking the
feet in warm water helps to draw the energy down from the head and quiet
the mind, a gentle foot massage can relax the body and the mind as well.
For more serious sleep disturbance a personalized herbal remedy can be
prescribed along with acupuncture treatments directed at benefiting
sleep and restoring balance.
also benefit from proper sleep. Many parents whose children are poor
sleepers, or wake frequently or early, worry that an earlier bedtime
would make things worse. Just the opposite can be true. An earlier
bedtime can lead to a deeper more restful sleep with fewer
interruptions. Chronic or frequent colds, ear infections, extremes of
energy (highs and lows) throughout the day, can be brought into balance
with good restful sleep.
In our fast
paced society sleep can be taken for granted, and many of us develop
unhealthy patterns of sleep early in life, but lack of proper sleep does
eventually take its toll. Those with chronic sleep disturbance know too
well what they are missing. If you feel that you are not getting the
rest you should, take steps to change it now; you will be truly grateful
for the benefits you receive.