Get Your Sleep On: How Acupuncture Can Improve your ZZZZ’s
I have noticed in the last 18 months ( especially in the functional medicine camps) that sleep has become seriously cool again. Every hip wellness person is all over the necessity for sleep. Thank ZZZZ’s for that.
If you wonder why your sleep isn’t up to scratch I cover possible causes from both Western and Eastern perspectives below.
There have been a plethora of studies to demonstrate how much our sleep patterns have decreased with longer working hours and our new obsession with ‘being busy’ and plugged in to ‘Insta’ everything. Constant interaction with blue light from devices, wi fi and EMFs turns the brain on – not off. Over stimulation is a major factor in poor sleep and performance.
Additional medical factors I see in my clinic are lack of Vitamins B ( mainly B12) and D. Low ferritin levels ( iron) is a major cause of fatigue, especially in women. Thyroid function is worth considering.
It’s definitely worth asking your GP to test for the levels of the above as this is easily fixed with supplementation. It’s worth mentioning medical test ranges don’t always take into account the impact of low or sub-optimal clinical levels on the individual. A low test result may not be flagged as a concern by the system so always get a print out of the numbers to be sure.
In Chinese medicine (CM) there are varied explanations for a reduction in sleep quality.
● Disturbed emotional state ie (stress). Pretty standard for many people but easily addressed with points like Yintang or Shen Men which works on the parasympathetic nervous system. Ren 14 calms an anxious heart.
● In CM , blood that is deficient cannot carry energy sufficiently. This stems from over doing things, lack of rest, constitutional factors and poor diet.
The blood and qi analogy was explained in college simply as the blood is the sea and the qi ( your energy) is the boat that floats on top. So low tide, low energy. In fact, blood nourishing points are called ‘sea’ points. Bl17 and Sp 10 (Sea of Blood) get things ‘ship shape’ and should get the wind back in your sails! (I do enjoy a nautical theme).
● Hormonal imbalances can be adjusted through treating the Kidney channel bringing things into harmony. This is a major area of success in the clinic.
● An imbalance in one organ or meridian that is keeping the system from flowing, like leaves blocking a gutter. This is both the easiest to diagnose and also to correct.
The brilliant thing about using acupuncture to improve sleep hygiene is that I have so many options in my tool- kit to address each individual case.
It’s not new news that first-rate sleep is vital for optimal health. It’s easy enough to address and let’s face it, is an incredibly enjoyable past time.
It is also worth noting I am more affordable than a memory foam mattress in a box! Sweet dreams.