A common byproduct of stress is changes to sleep patterns.
Night-time, unless one is a shift worker, is a time of rest and recouperation. In this down-phase our Yang energies retreat into the Yin and are nourished. In other words, the daytime consciousness drops down into the lotus of the heart, which receives and envelops it in stillness, resulting in quiescence. Nice hey? That is the picture of quality sleep.
Chinese Medicine sees sleep disturbances as emanating from a state of either some energy deficiency, excess, or a mixture of the two. Therefore the type of treatment or Chinese herbal remedies utilized can vary greatly in their makeup, as can the choice of acupuncture points used in a session.
Sleep is disturbed when the mind (Shen) is not at ease. Disturbed sleep is the night-time equivalent of daytime restlessness. Daytime fatigue or exhaustion is often related to poor, unrefreshing sleep, which is an aspect of insomnia. Insomnia is a byproduct of a great many disease states. However it doesn’t take long for a lack of quality sleep to become another major problem in one’s life as it greatly affects daytime functioning. Unlike a vitamin supplement, you can’t take a pill to compensate for lack of sleep.
You cannot make sleep occur without getting in your own way. I view falling asleep as a surrender, rather than an effort. The mind must be calm and the nervous system chilled to allow easy entry into sleep. Chinese medicine has a handle on dealing with sleep problems. It explores the factors colluding to interrupt this essential state. Acupuncture facilitates the ability to fall asleep and the quality of the hours that follow. Some research had found acupuncture and electro-acupuncture effective influential on the underpinnings of sleep and often acupuncture was as effective as medication.
Massage is a wonderful sleep aid. I focus on the neck, shoulders, head and feet if I want to create a more relaxed, calm, internal, sleep-friendly body environment.
I regard disturbed sleep, teeth grinding, and restlessness as potential indicators of ‘unfinished business’. Too much of the day is breaching the citadel of the night. This is especially so for people who cannot switch off their endless streams of thought processes. Unfinished business can refer to work-related activities, unprocessed relationship issues or emotional reactions, performance anxieties, too much projection into the future or dwelling on the past.
There is a lot of scope here for sitting down in a counselling setting and laying all the cards on the table. It is useful to examine ‘the nature of the mind’, its modus operandi, its habits and preferred style of problem solving and getting things done. Often there are easier mental paths that can be followed to our goals. It is easier for someone looking in from outside to see the one’s mind map, thereby to suggest any appropriate processing modifications. All in the name of how best to ‘catch some Zs’.
To find out more how Counselling, Acupuncture & Massage might help you with stress related insomnia or sleep disturbances, please contact Michael Finn on 0411 537 394 or use the Contact link on the Homepage to send him a message.
Asian J Psychiatr. 2012 Sep;5(3):231-5).
Chin Med J (Engl). 2009 Dec 5;122(23):2869-73).
Rossi, E. (2002). Shen. Psycho-Emotional Aspects of Chinese Medicine.