Our bodies are amazing machines designed to perform countless intricate mental and physical tasks every day of our lives. We come carefully calibrated “from the factory” like a precision timepiece to be able to meet the demands of each day with grace and ease. Indeed we are synchronized with the rhythms of the earth and heavens. We wake with the rising of the sun and retire for the night at sunset. At least that’s how it used to be!
Flash forward one hundred years or so to today and life looks very different. We wake to the sound of an electronic alarm clock set to the rhythms of the free market economy. We drink a 24oz coffee or an energy drink. We turn night into day with the flip of a switch. We stay up late and watch television. We take a sleeping pills desperately hoping for a good night’s sleep. And the next day we wonder why we are so foggy-headed, groggy or low in energy.
It can be frustrating, but even those of us who are doing “everything right” find that our high levels of stress make quality sleep elusive. How long do you think your body can take this roller-coaster ride before something breaks down?
Thankfully, and despite our best attempts to thwart it, our bodies retain the fundamental ability synchronize with the rhythms of nature. Acupuncture provides a powerful way to re-balance the sleep/wake cycle to provide a restful night of sleep and a day full of energy and alertness. The controls for the body’s sleep/wake mechanism are accessible through acupuncture. In fact, acupuncture provides a way to synchronize the body’s internal clock to the external environment, no matter what time of day it happens to be. Acupuncture for sleep is a natural method to maintain and restore the “seat of the consciousness” so when we sleep we can do so deeply, without disturbing dreams or interruptions. Waking to go to the bathroom prevents an uninterrupted sleep for millions of people, but even this does not have to keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
These are just some of the ways acupuncture for sleep can be used to create a productive night’s rest that will provide you with ample alertness and energy throughout the day.
Life is demanding. What would it feel like to sleep like a baby again? How would your days be different with energy and clarity?
Habits for Better Sleep
A regular sleep schedule is critical for optimal health and mental acuity. There are some indications that cognitive impairment may be taking place as late as two weeks after any change to a person’s sleep cycle. You simply can’t “catch up on your sleep”. This means that if you are going to bed later and/or sleeping in on weekends that you could be effectively putting yourself into a constant state of jet lag!
Virtually everyone can benefit from setting a bed time and a time for waking. Set the times too sleep and wake that work for you in your life, but stick to them. Chances are you will notice that you start to fall asleep easier, experience less insomnia, sleep more soundly, wake easily and have more energy throughout the day.
You should also consider changes to moderate your caffeine consumption. Highly caffeinated drinks after 3pm are a common source of poor sleep. You can try cutting back on the caffeine by choosing smaller serving sizes and/or substituting green or herbal tea for some or all of your coffee consumption.
Avoid moderate to excessive alcohol consumption right before bed. From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, the alcohol fires up the liver. This extra heat agitates the heart, preventing restful sleep. Wikipedia has an article about alcohol and sleep you may find interesting.
If falling asleep is an issue, build into your day a “wind down” period before bed. Over a period of an hour or so before bedtime, create a progressively more restful and relaxed environment. You should strive for this quiescence internally and externally. Start turning off or dimming more and more lights. Listen to calming music or a sleep noise generator (the kind that produces the sound of rain, jungle, ocean waves, etc.). Adopt restful activities- instead of rushing around the house completing chores or playing video games choose activities like reading, meditating or watching a nature program on television. Slowly transition to bed.
Acupuncture for Sleep
Quality sleep makes a huge impact in your well-being and quality of life. Acupuncture can help you find better sleep, find relief from insomnia, and have lots of energy to get through the day.
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