22 Jan 2019

Treatment for Sleep Disorders with Chinese Medicine

The accelerated pace of the modern world has created an increase in sleep disorders. Chinese medicine offers relief for these conditions. Some of the most common diseases in clinical practice are apnea or sudden cessation of breathing while sleeping; hypersomnia or excessive sleep; narcolepsy or falling asleep suddenly; insomnia or the inability to maintain sleep. All these disorders are relieved or cured through treatments with medicinal herbs and acupuncture.

A disorder is considered insomnia when there is an inability to stay asleep through the night. The most important approach when evaluating insomnia is to determine if the patient feels revitalized and rested upon waking. Another aspect of great importance is the continuity and depth of the dream. The hours of sleep are considered of secondary importance. Insomnia manifests itself in different ways.

For example:

1) difficulty falling asleep

2) light or superficial sleep

3) difficulty returning to sleep in the middle of the night

4) intermittent sleep

5) in severe cases, the complete inability to sleep

Many people who suffer from insomnia also have symptoms of tachycardia, dizziness and vertigo, headache and memory impairment.

Insomnia can be the result of a chronic problem or a sporadic problem. For example, an intermittent problem would be the loss of sleep due to a cold, fever or severe pain. In chronic cases, the root of the problem may be a result of repetitive emotional states, stress, inappropriate diet, excessive sexual activity or a weak constitution. The condition of insomnia can be due to a state of excess or a deficiency. The deficiency occurs due to age, chronic excess or nutritional or constitutional insufficiency.

For example, if the body constitution known as Yin is deficient (either by advancing age or by habits and diet), the active aspect known as Yang has nowhere to rest. The night is the time where the Yin must manifest itself more strongly.

When the Yin is deficient, the Yang gets out of control causing anxiety, palpitations, overactive mind, and insomnia. In our modern western society, it is common to see that the problem is because of excess. For example, stress affects liver function, which generates free internal heat. This excess of temperature accelerates the heart and creates feelings of restlessness, anxiety and overactive mind.

The result is that the person can not fall asleep because the mind does not stop thinking. Another condition of excess is an obstruction in the digestive system. When food is not digested correctly, the system becomes blocked creating excess gas, stomach swelling, heat buildup and phlegm. Phlegm can disturb the respiratory rhythm causing fitful sleep, apnea, and nightmares.

An easy and efficient exercise to improve sleep is to stretch the back muscles or the back of the legs. Then lie down comfortably and breathe slowly, deeply and continuously. While breathing let the attention naturally rest in the area of the feet. In a few minutes, you will find yourself relaxed and descend to rest.

If you suffer from chronic or sporadic problems, consult with a doctor of Chinese Medicine to determine the primary root of insomnia or sleep disorder. With the diagnosis in mind, the doctor helps you balance the function of the body through acupuncture and herbal treatments.