Insomnia, or the inability to experience restful sleep, can be a complex issue. People may have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, or wake frequently, have vivid dreams, have shallow or restless sleep and may not feel rested upon waking. I’m going to discuss the Chinese Medical Perspective on insomnia, to illustrate how complex of an issue it is.
The amount and quality of sleep depends on the “Shen” or “spirit” (for lack of a better word) of a person. The Shen is related to the Heart Blood and Yin in particular. The Liver also controls dreaming, and the Liver Blood/Yin can act as an “anchor” to help you stay asleep. If the Liver is weak, you may have restless sleep. Liver depression can also transform into heat, keeping you awake at night. Phlegm, with or without heat, can also affect your sleep by “harassing” the Heart. And also, if the Kidneys and Heart are weak, this can affect sleep. Influences to these systems, and sleep, include: emotional stress, improper diet, pensiveness, and body constitution. For each cause/pattern there is a different approach to healing the body. To correct these imbalances may take some time before insomnia is eliminated, and it also takes some effort by the patient as well. For example, not looking at screens at least 1 hour before bed, not eating close to bed-time, creating a sleep routine with a regular schedule, and having some regular activity/exercise are all important in helping one sleep better. I understand that some of this language/medical theory may not make sense, but I wanted to briefly explain how complex of an issue insomnia can be. If you are having any issues with sleep, please come by so we can discuss your case, and we will do our best to help you sleep well.
❤️ Acupuncturist Joel