Do you suffer from insomnia?

Are you not able to fall asleep easily at night or do you wake up often?

Millions of Americans each day suffer from sleepless nights. Insomnia statistics from sleepeducation.org indicate that:

  • 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia.
  • 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months
  • 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months. 

Sleep education mentions the dangers of having insomnia including increased errors and accidents, loss of memory or focus, fatigue, moodiness, and low motivation and productivity, to name a few.

Sleep provides time to rest and heal your body and mind. When not getting enough sleep, your body and mind will accumulate tension and stress, which can lead to many chronic diseases including obesity and heart diseases.  

Be aware of the dangers of sleep medicine

If you’re taking prescription or OTC sleep medicine including Ambien, Lunesta, trazadone or melatonin, please read the side effects on the label and take them with caution. For instance, Ambien and Lunesta have a side effect of “sleep walking.” I have also seen people “sleep eat and drink” on them. Some of common side effects of trazadone ironically, is “trouble sleeping and remembering”. When you’re taking these medications, make sure that you have at least 8 hours to sleep so that you can wake up without some of the chemicals still circulating in your blood.

What are some of the common root causes of insomnia?

A vast majority of the causes of insomnia are related to stress and anxiety. This is when you’re awake and your mind is racing or going through the to-do list for the next day, or worrying about work, family or friends, health, etc. Some other causes may be pain, restless leg, hot flashes, nightmares, or sinus and allergy issues.

What can you do to help ease the stress and anxiety?

In Chinese Medicine, it is important that we live with our natural cycles. So when it is dark outside, we should be sleeping and when it is light, we should be awake and working. So naturally, we’d be sleeping a bit longer during the winter months. It also teaches us that sleep is when our “shen” or spirit goes back home – so you want the “home” to be a very inviting, comfortable place so that the spirit would want to go back home. Home is external as well as internal.

External space is your bedroom. How is the temperature? Is your bed comfortable? Does the room have a nice feel to it with some air flow so that it will not get “stuffy”? Do you have good breathable sheets, comforter, and pillow so that your body temperature can be regulated easily?

Internal space is your body and mind. Are you feeding your body good, nutritious food throughout the day, focusing on vegetables and fruits?  Eliminating caffeine or sugar is also important as they are very stimulating and inflammatory for the body and mind. There is no separation between body and mind, so what you put in your month and expose your body to, the mind also feels and absorbs. So feed your body well. Taking a bath with your favorite essential oil, such as lavender, also helps calm your nervous system in preparation of sleep.

Speaking of feeding your mind – we’re inundated and overstimulated with information every single day. Turning off your electronics (cell phones, computers, tablets, and TV) is the best way to turn your mind off and start to unwind in the evening. We suggest that you do so after dinner or at least an hour before bedtime. Make sure to be in bed before 10 pm especially if you’re waking up too early, or before 6 am.

Watching TV in bed or right before bed is a very bad idea – especially watching the news filled with negative information, shows that have terror, violence and drama – how can you create a comfortable “home” for your spirit to come back and stay?

Listening to white noise, relaxing sound or music, meditation or hypnosis is also very helpful. Just make sure whatever you’re listening is not stimulating or negative – you may not remember what you hear while sleeping but your body and mind will.

I recommend these two things before bed;

Acupuncture and insomnia

The way acupuncture helps with insomnia is by creating the perfect internal home. It will help you relax your body and mind so much so that most patients we see get the best night of sleep they’ve ever experienced in the long time after each acupuncture treatment. If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, please book an initial appointment at http://mayacrockettacu.com/booknow. We look forward to working with you on your health!

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