There is no denying that our society has been affected by the widespread indulgence of technology. Online television, social websites, texting, and surfing the Internet have become significant distracters to following the body’s natural sleep routine. Furthermore, shift work and nighttime computer use disturb our natural sleep pattern, making the body feel overtired and restless. Statistically, insomnia is occurring more frequently than ever before. This lack of proper sleep increases with recreational addictions like caffeine, alcohol, food, and nicotine by increasing sleep deprivation or insomnia incidents.
We also know that living the typical American lifestyle, in general, is taking a toll on our sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 20% of Americans admit to getting, on average, less than six hours of sleep each night and that the number of Americans resting a full eight hours has been on the decline. The amount of sleep a person needs changes with age; therefore, it is essential to consider the patient’s age when evaluating insomnia and other sleep disorders.
The damage that insomnia causes the body is real and includes not functioning correctly at work, depression, anxiety, and being overweight, which leads to a host of other illnesses. These conditions, and others, persist because we are not letting our bodies, our systems, rest and renew themselves. We must understand that each night from 9:00 to 3:00, some critical physiological detoxification activities occur in the liver and kidneys. If we do not respect our bodies’ natural programming, we contribute to their demise and inviting insomnia. A 16-year study of 70,000 women over 40 years old showed that women who slept less than five hours each night were more likely to develop obesity than those who regularly slept more than five hours, as revealed at a 2006 conference of the American Thoracic Society.
According to Oriental medicine, insomnia is a Yin-Yang disorder where Yang is restless and increased, and Yin is suppressed and decreased.
Insomnia is a result of the Yin-Yang disharmony. It is essential to sleep well to rejuvenate the body and eliminate waste and toxins that the body has accumulated during the day due to activity, stress, metabolic waste from food, etc.
In Oriental medicine, a critical aspect of the patient interview is asking about sleep patterns and sleep quality, such as finding it difficult to fall asleep or maintain sleep. If dreams occur, how bad are they? This aids practitioners in identifying patterns of deficiency or excess sleep.
For millennia, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been helping patients balance their bodies and restore the sleep and rest they need to return to optimal and productive functioning.
This aids practitioners in identifying patterns of deficiency or excess sleep.
By Consuelo Camarillo De G., Lic. Ac.