Acupuncturist & Chiropractor, Dr. Allison Heffron explains why sleep is a necessary function in life and how acupuncture can help you get better sleep.
Becoming a Sleeping Beauty…or just sleeping at all.
We’ve all had restless nights of sleeping, or a complete lack thereof, where our minds are racing, we toss and turn and can’t let go. The sporadic nights of troubled sleeping are not usually a thing to be concerned about because they won’t have a long term effect on your health.
The people who suffer from cyclical patterns of sleeping issues or those who never get a deep sleep are the ones who need to be concerned about fixing that problem.
First, let’s dive into why it’s a concern at all.
You may know Wolverine, from X-Men, and his incredible powers to regenerate/heal himself. Well, that’s what sleep does for us. Simply put, sleep is our special power of healing and regenerating from what pressures and tolls the day has put on us. You don’t have to be a gym rat or manual labor worker in order to justify sleep and it’s effects.
In my last article about gut health, I discussed how the body is constantly in a state of fight or flight versus rest and digest. Our own internal monologues throughout the day create stress in our bodies influencing hormones to chaotically fluctuate, and require time to calm down and reorganize.
When you consistently lose sleep you will consistently put your body in that fight or flight mode and you’ll eventually feel burnt out due to a physiological burn out. That end stage of “burn out” is a much longer and difficult process to heal from than just helping you attain sleep to avoid those issues.
Why does insomnia, nightmares, or any amount of insufficient sleep happen?
If you’ve been reading my blog posts then you probably know the answer word-for-word: it depends.
Some people may experience insufficient sleep due to imbalanced emotions and others may experience trouble falling asleep due to an inflammatory reaction from diet.
The causes are variable.
Rather than masking the sleep problems with melatonin, alcohol, recreational drugs, etc., it is important to attack the root cause of the issue.
The diagnosis of insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or anything of the like is usually just a symptom- the tip of the iceberg, if you will. We all know that what we are looking at, when we can see an iceberg, is just the tip of it. That is just like symptoms. When we finally experience or feel discomfort, or any stray from our normal, it is only the visualized tip of the iceberg; and it will continue to root itself further underneath the surface the longer we wait to address it.
Within Chinese Medicine, as usual, there are always many questions to help understand why your sleep troubles are happening.
Depending on what your internal environment is expressing will determine a specific set of acupuncture points to be needled. If you are experiencing these issues due to diet then, as the patient, you will receive homework that can vary from writing a food log for assessment, omitting certain foods, or adding certain foods.
Of course, it is always recommended in Physio Logic to take advantage of the services we offer, i.e. nutrition and integrative medicine. Acupuncture combined with nutrition and the integrative medical approach is extremely powerful to help assess and direct our patients to better sleep.