Ahhh, sleep. My favorite non-active activity. Sleep is one of those things that can totally make or break your health and/or happiness. If you’re a good sleeper... Bravo! Keep doing what you’re doing. Unfortunately, there are tons of people that experience insomnia (or lack of sleep) in some way and the results are the same: you’re tired and cranky and just want to rest. Some people have trouble falling asleep at the beginning of the night, some wake up in the middle of the night due to one thing or another, toss and turn, or can’t get back to sleep easily. Nighttime shift work is another reason people’s sleep is disrupted (obviously.. It’s just not the same in the daytime). The list can go on and on..
To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything more tortuous than losing sleep for any of the above reasons. We’ve all been there. Sleep isn’t talked about as much, but without a doubt, is just as important as diet and exercise. In fact, according to The National Sleep Foundation, they site that people who don’t get enough sleep have an increase in appetite! There’s a hormone in the body called leptin, an appetite regulating hormone, that decreases if a person doesn’t get the recommended 6-8 hours of good sleep. Consider that a double whammy: tired and hungry; a recipe for weight gain. Because of that, your metabolism is regulated just as much by sleep as it is by diet and exercise during the day time. (Mind Blown). When we stay up late, or continuously lose sleep, it only sets us up to have potential health complications like compromised cardiovascular systems, gut disregulation, and increased risk of cancer. Research shows that here.
So what does this mean in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)? Because we are a form of natural medicine, we believe that your circadian rhythm should match that of nature. IE. When the sun starts to go down earlier, you should wind down earlier and vice versa. In the summertime, the sun is out until 9 pm some nights, so its OK to enjoy the lengthy days and go to sleep a little later.
In TCM, sleep is a very “yin” or restorative, nourishing activity (vs. exercise which is very “yang” or active). Chinese medicine believes you get your best rest between the hours of 11:00 pm and 1:00 am. Those hours are considered to be the most “yin” or nourishing time on the Chinese clock, so doing the most yin activity, during the most yin time of day is ideal! Talk about rejuvenation. If you can solidify a deep sleep pattern during those hours, your chances of maintaining through the night go up.
Now, no matter what type of insomniac you might be, we can help! If you can’t settle the “monkey mind” or you just pop awake at 3:00 am, we can take a look at what is going on in the system and treat whatever pattern is showing up for you. Through acupuncture and Chinese herbs, we can help reset your system so you’re getting deeper rest and can function on a higher level throughout the day. Let us know how things are going next time you’re in for a tune up!