Sleep disorders are a widespread problem plaguing modern man. According to The National Sleep Foundation, 15% of us are struggling with chronic insomnia. Why?
If you have problems sleeping,hygiene is the best place to start making changes. It’s important to have a regular bedtime in a room that is dark and quiet. Dinner should be four hours or more before bedtime.
Alcohol, caffeine and spicy food may need to be curtailed. Unplug from computers and cellphones several hours before bedtime. The last hours of the day should be spent relaxing, not working!
Physical exercise should be completed in the earlier part of the day so our core temperature has a chance to drop, long before we try to ease into slumber. In sleep, the autonomic nervous system kicks in, our metabolism slows down, and as a result our core temperature drops. This slow down provides an important opportunity for our body and mind to rest and repair.
Sleep disorders are not always due to poor sleep hygiene. Sometimes, health problems (physical or psychological) contribute to sleep issues. Digestive and respiratory problems can interfere with sleep. Hormonal imbalances, anxiety and depression can also affect sleep. What should you do?
Pharmaceuticals sleep aides are never a good long-term solution to sleep disorders. Typically, they mask symptoms without addressing underlying causes.
If you are struggling with a respiratory problem including allergies, asthma or obstructive sleep apnea, consider buying a good quality HEPA air cleaner. The National Sleep Foundation teamed up with Austin Air to design the Bedroom Machine, a premium air cleaner with a five-stage filter.
Acupuncture can also be a great tool to help you get a good night’s sleep. One approach I use considers the Chinese Clock. Each of our 12 meridians has a two-hour peak within each 24-hour cycle. From 1AM – 3AM the Liver meridian has it’s peak. At 3AM – 5AM the energy moves into the Lung meridian. Sometimes our energy gets stuck and the energy transition does not occur. This energetic block can cause us to wake up (in this particular case, at 3AM.) Acupuncture can remove the energetic block and restore the smooth flow of energy from the liver meridian to the lung meridian and restore the sleep pattern.
Additionally, acupuncture can help you restore the balance of your autonomic nervous system and help set the stage for restful sleep.
Acupuncture can also be used to mitigate stress, improve digestion, reduce respiratory issues, balance the endocrine system and a treat host of other problems that affect our overall health and sleep.
At Frome Physical Therapy we can help you to overcome sleep problems. Contact us with questions or schedule an acupuncture session online. The contents of this article are not meant to be diagnostic or prescriptive. Always consult a physician before choosing a course of treatment.
The National Sleep Foundation and Austin Air Bedroom Machine™
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