As the weekend went by, daylight savings occurred and our 24 hour clock fell back. There was some contemplation in the clinic about if this may or may not be beneficial to our health. There was a time that I used to enjoy this; or at least I enjoyed that time in the spring where we regained an hour of daylight.
After studying sleep issues and circadian rhythms with Hamid Montakab (Chinese Medicine sleep expert) for a few weekends, I can now see the error of my thinking. Daylight savings can really disrupt an individual’s circadian rhythms, and in turn exacerbate sleep issues whether chronic or acute.
Sleep is foundational for optimal health and mental clarity. Lack of it can affect our emotional, mental, physical and immune function. It must be important since we spend up to one third of our lives in bed: for the average 50 year old that is around 20 years spent asleep!
There are 2 Primary ways in which sleep can get out of balance. Both involve the deeper seas in the workings of the yin conformations of the body.
1. Time/Quantity: The first is being out of sync in time.
· You find yourself too alert later at night.
· You find your physical body has more energy than you would like.
· You wake in the middle of the night, or too early in the morning – in both cases being wide awake.
This indicates an imbalance in deep rhythms and timing systems of the body/mind.
2. Depth/Quality: The next type of Insomnia is characterized by restlessness.
· You feel tired but can’t sleep.
· Your mind is restless or anxious.
· You can’t get comfortable.
· You wake up and go back to sleep frequently.
· You feel that you can’t get into a deep sleep.
This is a problem of depth of Yin, and the ability to access deep sleep.
There are many factors that can affect sleep: diet, shift-work, alcohol, drugs, body pain, etc. These can change sleep patterns in terms of time or depth. Sleep is so foundational to our health that chronic disturbances can be indicative of other health issues. Or even contribute to other problems. With this new insight, I feel extra foolish that I actually voted to keep daylight savings. Now I think about this in terms of how this is going to mess with deeper seas of time and depth.
If you are having issues sleeping, acupuncture can be beneficial in helping to reset the underlying mechanism and help you get a good nights’ rest.
Call the office to talk to one of our acupuncturists @ 403 253 3103