Sleep can be our best friend or worst enemy. Along with diet and exercise, sleep is one of the leading ways we can impact our quality of life. While poor sleep quality is linked with depression, obseity, diabetes and cancer, a good quality of sleep is linked to emotional well-being, healthy brain functioning and physiological health. It can be said that a high quality of sleep equals a high quality of life.
Despite the importance of sleep, it is a rather unpredictable activity: some people are great sleepers, others are not. Many adults in America suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea and other conditions. Conventional medicines that treat sleep disorders are often linked to addiction and side-effects and very rarely offer a good long-term solution. Acupuncture is a traditional form of medicine that stimulates specific points in the body to promote natural healing, circulation and regulation of the various physiological systems. As it pertains to sleep, traditional chinese medicine focuses on two areas: mental quietude and physical rest. An imbalance in the body can upset either or both of these fragile harmonies.
There are certain acupuncture meridians which pertain to sleep: one which regulates circadian rhythms and one which supports the restfulness of sleep (depth and quality). Furthermore, Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on balancing the yin and yang: Yin represents the night time, including sleep and restfulness while yang corresponds to the day time: energy and activity.
Using the power of acupuncture, we encourage restful, productive sleep. Sleep is a time of restoration and repair: if you feel that you are missing out on the benefits of a restful night’s sleep, give our office in Park Slope a call. We provide chiropractic care and acupuncture treatment, combined with counseling on lifestyle adjustments that will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C., L.Ac.
behavioral and lifestyle changes can help
When attempting to sleep, most of us follow the same adage: put yourself in the most comfortable position. Unfortunately, not all sleeping postures ar made equal and spending a night in a bad position can lead to poor circulation, neck and back pain, increased tension and headaches. Furthermore, a healthy nights sleep encompasses a whole range of conditions that need to be just right to get you the full refresh.
Improving your sleep conditions could mean chucking out your old, unsupportive mattress and upgrading your pillows, but this is not a financial option for everyone. Here are ways you can immediately improve your sleeping posture to start waking up refreshed rather than refried:
1. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach. If you must, use a pillow under the stomach to avoid letting your stomach sink into the bed. Changing your sleep position is difficult, as it won’t feel natural at first, but given enough time, you can start sleeping on your side or back with no problems.
2. Use pillows properly: your head should not be resting with your neck cricked up or down. This is a great way to wake up with a stiff neck and a headache. Instead, your pillow should support your head while allowing it to remain parallel with the rest of the spine. Pillows can also be used as props: if you sleep on your back, stick one underneath your knees. You can even use pillows to help you stay in the same sleeping position by propping them behind you or on your sides to prevent you from rolling onto your back in the night.
3. Bed time should be a ritual: treat it as such. Cut out the electronics before bed, as they can suppress melatonin production. Instead, have a bath or wash your face. Gentle stretching is another a great thing to do before bed. A spoon of honey in a sleepytime tea is a great way to relax.
If bad sleep patterns have wrapped a vice around your life, call our office in Brooklyn to get the help you need to fall asleep. Acupuncture and chiropractic are both great at helping you relax, and we can have a serious discussion about what your posture, nutrition and exercise habits that could be holding you back from a restful night’s sleep.
We can be reached at our office in Brooklyn at (718) 398-3100.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.