Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac Registered Acupuncturist
Sleep is Related to the Healing Process
Modern science agrees, and much has been written about the adequate amount of sleep humans need and how this affects our functioning and overall health. “If you are operating on less than five hours of sleep for five days in a row, you are actually functioning as if you were legally intoxicated” says Lt Gen. Patricia Horoho, former US Army Surgeon General.
So whether you are focused on repairing your health, improving fertility, slowing down the aging process or getting a higher quality of energy – sleep quantity and quality must be addressed. Even if you feel ok and think you naturally do fine on only a few hours of sleep – your body inherently disagrees.
Quality and Quantity of Sleep are important
5 Tips for a Healthier Sleep Tonight
- Lights out. A dark bedroom is best, without any lights on at all during the night. Light interrupts the body's production of melatonin – the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Even if you are getting up to use the washroom, try to keep lights off as much as you can.
- Keep it cool. A cool bedroom is optimum, as our body's temperature also drops at night.
- Keep worries in a box. If you have trouble winding down due to constant worries or thoughts of things that must get done, try this simple visualization: picture sitting at a desk with an empty box in front of you. Picture each worry as a miniature item in front of you on the desk. For instance, if you're worried about work, picture a tiny desk. Then, when all the worries are assembled in front you – pick them up one by one and drop into the box. Close up the box and set it up high on a shelf. Consciously tell yourself that nothing will change between now and tomorrow and the worries will be there for you to take care of in the morning.
- Aim to be in bed by 10.30pm and asleep by 11pm. In TCM, each organ system has a time slot on the “Body Clock” - which is also related to the more familiar Circadian rhythm. This is the start of the time (11pm-3am) when the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems begin to detoxify, process emotions and restore blood. According to modern research this is typically the period of your deepest, most restorative sleep.
- Acupuncture can help with sleep. Sleep quality and quantity can be greatly improved with acupuncture in combination with the above sleep guidelines.