alpenglow acupuncture

Delivering high-quality, personalized acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine services to the awesome people of Wheat Ridge, Golden, Arvada and Lakewood, Colorado with flexible appointment options to fit your lifestyle and budget.

Filtering by Tag: sleep

Sleep Matters!

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!

A Good Night’s Sleep

As the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, it makes me think about the winter, and hibernation. I really think it’s a lovely idea - such a nice, long period of deep, restorative rest. Mmmmm…

Just think of the marmot, whose heartbeat slows down to 3-4 beats per minute for up to 8 months! While I don’t really want to miss out on 8 months, I would like to get that kind of rejuvenation, and I bet you would too!

As you may know, I have had some struggles around sleep myself, so I thought I’d write down all those little things I have learned about to help keep my sleep on track and share them with you. Maybe there’s a gem in here that will get you back to sleeping like a baby. Not a newborn, but an older baby...when they sleep thru the night. :-)

Tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. If you can't escape a noisy environment, invest in a white noise machine, humidifier or fan to mask the offending sounds.

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake time. Yes, even on the weekends! When your body has a consistent rhythm it is easier to wind down.

  • As part of your bedtime routine, shut off your electronics and dim the lights at least one hour before bed. Do some light stretching, read an old-fashioned book with real pages to turn, or listen to some relaxing music.

  • Try a hot bath with Epsom salts and/or essential oils. The cooling of the body after a bath can help to induce sleep. Some experts suggest doing this about 2 hours before bed.

  • Exercise can help, but try not to do it in the evening, as it can have a rousing effect on your mind and body.

  • Avoid napping, if possible, especially in the afternoon, as this has been shown to disrupt nighttime sleep in some individuals. If you must nap, keep it under 30 minutes.

  • Avoid stimulants, like nicotine and caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening. These can make it hard to fall asleep, or sometimes even cause trouble staying asleep.

  • Get daytime light exposure. Making sure to expose yourself to natural light/dark cycles can help maintain a good circadian rhythm.

  • Eating before bed can be bad for some people, as it can contribute to indigestion and discomfort, making it hard to sleep.

  • Conversely, some people need a bedtime snack to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the night. If you wake in the night, try eating half an avocado before bed. The fat can help sustain you through the night, and avocados are also high in magnesium, which can help you relax.

  • Meditation or visualization can be helpful to quiet your mind and relax your body.

As we’ve mentioned in several past articles, sleep is very important for so many aspects of our health. Why don’t we all do a little for our own wellness and get sleeping!

Let us know if you have any additional tips on great sleep, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below!


Your Immune System And Sleep

When it comes to keeping our immune systems healthy, one of the most important factors is also one of the most overlooked: sleep. This has been a big factor in my health since we started sending the kiddo to daycare. Sure, he’s bringing home bugs left and right, but admittedly, my biggest failure is not getting enough sleep to combat those meanies.

Quantity and quality of sleep are both important when it comes to keeping those bugs at bay. Why? There are a number of factors. First of all, your body produces certain sleep-enhancing cytokines as part of a whole concert of physiological actions that help you fall asleep. Some of these cytokines are also beneficial in fighting infections. So when you sleep less, you produce less of these helpers and are at higher risk of getting sick.

In addition to a decrease in beneficial cytokine production, sleep deprivation also reduces the total number of antibodies produced. This creates the perfect storm - just introduce a virus and you’re toast.

Experts recommend at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night for adults, and more if you feel like you might be coming down with something.

Luckily, research has shown that acupuncture is beneficial for both the immune system (read the research here) and sleep (read the research here).

We also have herbal formulas that we can individualize for you - whether you need help with sleep, your immune system, or both!

As we talked about back in February, there are other things you can do to improve your sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. If you can't escape a noisy environment, invest in a white noise machine, humidifier or fan to mask the offending sounds.

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake time. Yes, even on the weekends! When your body has a consistent rhythm it is easier to wind down.

  • As part of your bedtime routine, shut off your electronics and dim the lights at least one hour before bed. Do some light stretching, read an old-fashioned book with real pages to turn, or listen to some relaxing music.

  • Try a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils. The cooling of the body after a bath can help to induce sleep. Some experts suggest doing this about 2 hours before bed.

  • Exercise can help, but try not to do it in the evening, as it can have a rousing effect on your mind and body.

  • Avoid napping, if possible, especially in the afternoon, as this has been shown to disrupt nighttime sleep in some individuals.

  • Download the Relax into Sleep Meditation (#50 on the page) from the Meditation Oasis podcast page and listen in bed.
    ***This is the one exception to the no electronics rule. Get it cued up before you start your bedtime routine, and then just hit play and look away quickly!

    A good night's rest is an important piece of your immune system health, as well as your overall health. Don't skimp - make it a priority!
    Please feel free to talk with us about any sleep or immune system trouble you may be experiencing, we’re here to help!

Sleep and Heart Health

We all know that diet and exercise are important for the health of our heart. Did you know that sleep is too? Trouble sleeping has been linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease, according to a 2011 study by the American Heart Association. It's not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation, which can all contribute to poor heart health. 

Do you know what helps insomnia? Acupuncture! 

In a 2009 systematic review of randomized controlled trials, acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with improvement of total sleep duration. In addition, acupuncture along with medications or herbs showed better effect than either medications or herbs alone.

Other things you can do to improve your sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. If you can't escape a noisy environment, invest in a white noise machine, humidifier or fan to mask the offending sounds.

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake time. Yes, even on the weekends! When your body has a consistent rhythm it is easier to wind down.

  • As part of your bedtime routine, shut off your electronics and dim the lights at least one hour before bed. Do some light stretching, read an old-fashioned book with real pages to turn, or listen to some relaxing music.

  • Try a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils. The cooling of the body after a bath can help to induce sleep. Some experts suggest doing this about 2 hours before bed.

  • Exercise can help, but try not to do it in the evening, as it can have a rousing effect on your mind and body.

  • Avoid napping, if possible, especially in the afternoon, as this has been shown to disrupt nighttime sleep in some individuals.

  • Download the Relax into Sleep Meditation (#50 on the page) from the Meditation Oasis podcast page and listen in bed.
    ***This is the one exception to the no electronics rule. Get it cued up before you start your bedtime routine, and then just hit play and look away quickly!

A good night's rest is an important piece of your heart health, as well as your overall health. Don't skimp - make it a priority!

Please feel free to talk with us about any sleep trouble you may be experiencing. 

(303)593-0731

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