Research Update – Insomnia Natural Light Treatment

Before the regular use of artificial lighting, humans spent their evenings in a slow transition to nighttime darkness. With the regular use of cell phones, computers, tablets, and TVs, it is easy to see the correlation between nighttime light stimulation and insomnia for adults and children alike. Unnatural light exposure, specifically blue light exposure, throws off our body’s biological clock or circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythms run on average for a length of 24.25 hours. For those of us who stay up late, our circadian rhythms begin to be stretched, and those who wake up before the body is fully rested will tend to have shorter circadian cycles. Both of which come with a plethora of negative side-effects. If you fall into one of these categories, rest assured knowing that you are NOT ALONE. As many as 35-50% of adults are right there with you, right now.

In 1981 Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School was able to show that proper light exposure is an essential part of aligning the circadian rhythms with the environment; thereby achieving more restful and regular sleep.

But how can we do this?

  • Align with nature: be outside as often as possible during the day.
  • Red light is less likely to suppress melatonin and mess with the circadian rhythm. Consider changing a few of your lights to red light spectrum bulbs for the evening hours.
  • Turn off all the digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed.
  • If you must be exposed to light at night, say for example your work night shift, dim your screens as much as possible and consider purchasing a pair of blue light blocking glasses.

Sleep is an essential part of your wellbeing. Some studies suggest a link between improper sleeping habits to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Insomnia is a complex issue involving cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and physiological factors. There is no one size fits all cure. BUT the good news is Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) offers a vast array of unique diagnostic tools to evaluate and treat the main cause(s) for your sleeplessness. TCM has been proven by multiple studies to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Treatments include acupuncture, at-home acupressure routines, breathing exercises, lifestyle changes, environmental adaptations, herbal prescriptions, even nutritional recommendations and so much more.

Don’t wait. Schedule your TCM evaluation and start feeling better today!

Blue Light Has A Dark Side – Healthy Harvard Article
Blocking nocturnal blue light for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Children’s Insomnia

With the “go-go-go” attitude of mainstream culture, sometimes it can be hard for the young ones to slow down enough to find rest. If this is something you are struggling with at home, please know that Traditional Chinese Medicine can help.

In his article Treating Infants and Small Children with Chinese Herbal Medicine Dr. Fratkin brings attention to the fact that in China, the experience of a young pediatric patient is very dissimilar to those here in mainstream Western medicine. Pediatric medicine in China (as with many pro-Eastern medicine cultures) follows a more natural and non-invasive approach to healing and wellness.

Is acupuncture safe for my child?

So many people can benefit from this wonderful medicine. Treatments are individualized to each patient, regardless of age. Acupuncture and TCM look at each individual as a complex and holistic system; therefore can be an incredibly effective treatment for common childhood ailments. In fact, children often respond more quickly to acupuncture than adults. This makes sense when you consider that in children, there are three systems most commonly affected, those are digestion (spleen-stomach), respiration (lungs), as well as common colds and infections from their building immune system. All three of these are known to benefit from TCM modalities including cupping, Gua Sha, Tui Na, acupuncture, and acupressure – all of which are safe, natural, and minimally invasive.

Consider a gentler approach with your precious little ones, consider TCM. If needles are an issue, don’t let that discourage you. TCM offers a great set of modalities above and beyond acupuncture. If your child suffers from insomnia, schedule their appointment today, we will discuss ALL of your options.

Research Update – Natural Alternatives to PM Medications

Sleep is a complex physical and mental state of restfulness and rehabilitation. The field of sleep disorders has become increasingly complex with more than 90 disorders of sleep described, each with clear diagnostic criteria. If you are suffering from insomnia or unable to get a good night’s rest, you are not alone. Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids and even stronger prescription medication without first considering a more natural alternative. If you are one of those people, consider this:

Antihistamines: over the counter sleeping pills including Benadryl, Aleve PM (aka Diphenhydramine), and Unisom (aka Doxylamine succinate) all contain antihistamines. Unfortunately and among other adverse reactions to antihistamines, our bodies are able to develop a tolerance to the consequent sedative effects quite quickly.

Benzodiazepines – estazolam, flurazepam (Dalmane), temazepam (Restoril), quazepam (Doral), and triazolam (Halcion) are approved by the FDA and often prescribed to treat chronic insomnia. Benzodiazepines need to be taken with caution to long term side-effects including chemical dependency, Ataxia (balance problems), loss of coordination, memory problems, slurred speech, and more.

– Most people’s bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. The brain begins to release melatonin mid-to-late evening and continues production throughout the night.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is sold over the counter as a “dietary supplement” and is a less invasive sleep aid with fewer harmful side effects. However, studies show that melatonin is really only effective when used for the short-term treatment of insomnia — such as from jet lag or from night shift work.

Tips to help ditch the sleeping aids

  • Begin to titrate off of your sleeping pills. Do this slowly and allow the body time to adapt.
  • Stick to a regular schedule.
  • Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Stay active. Exercise regularly, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Don’t eat large meals or sugar before bed.
  • Try not to nap. If you really need to nap, try to keep it short, less than 45 minutes.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can add to sleep problems.
  • Relax. Try taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading to wind down before going to sleep.

Consider acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) is a centuries-old practice that has proven to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment for insomnia.

Sleep aids: Understand over-the-counter options – Mayo Clinic
Medications for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview

6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sleep

  1. 12 percent of people dream in only black and white. Some wake up with vivid detail from their dreams, others with no recollection at all, and some recall their dreams exclusively and specifically in black and white.
  2. ⅓ of our lives will be spent asleep. If you think that’s a lot, cats spent TWICE that at ⅔ of their lives spent sleeping. In order to function at an optimal level, adults need 7-9 hours of restful shut-eye per night.
  3. Ideally falling asleep at night should take you no longer than 20 minutes. Typically insomnia is the term for difficulty getting to sleep, but as we all know “insomnia” is a vast and complex term. Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) and known more often in the medical community as “delayed sleep phase syndrome” or “delayed sleep-wake disorder” is a more specific name to describe chronic dysregulation of the circadian rhythm.
  4. One in four married couples sleep in separate beds. This fact speaks volumes to the importance of achieving restful sleep. The ideal sleep environment is cool, dark, and, quiet. If sleeping next to someone makes you too warm, if your partner’s movement or snoring wakes you regularly, consider adaptations to your sleep environment that best serves your individual sleep needs.
  5. Parasomnia is a term used to describe unnatural sleep movements. Have you ever seen someone sleepwalking or sleep talking? If so, what they were experiencing was called parasomnia. Those with parasomnia can experience symptoms during any phase of sleep.
  6. Sleep deprivation can kill you faster than food deprivation. An article in Archiv Fur Kriminologie states the body can survive for 8 to 21 days without food. The longest recorded time without sleep is just over 11 days. Though it is not known exactly how long humans can live without sleep, serious symptoms of sleep deprivation will begin to show after only three to four days. Symptoms most commonly involve visual and auditory hallucinations.

If sleep is on your mind, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index™ over 45% of Americans report weekly insufficient sleep affected their daytime activities. Good news! Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) can not only help with insomnia but also help you achieve higher quality sleep overall. Schedule your appointment today by calling us at (218) 724-3400.

Tune into Health

Remember the days of rabbit ear antennas on your television sets? If you were lucky enough to find the exact seating position in your living room to optimize your body’s own magnetic field and the tilt of the earth’s axis, these beauties could tune in your favorite show with the crystal clarity of a thick San Francisco fog. If – heaven forbid – you wanted to tune to another channel, this required a coordinated, two-handed effort of spinning and rotating the antennas, the likes of which would rival even the most skilled of Olympic fencers.

The point here is that no matter what show you wanted to watch, you could pick it up on your set, but only if the antenna was functioning properly and only if it was aligned in the right position. The signal was always in the air, but whether or not your show came in clearly depended upon the antenna’s ability to transfer the signal to your TV set.

For those of you struggling with your health, keep in mind that you always have the potential for improvement. Your body was created by an intelligence that is unerring, infallible, and always on the job, and this intelligence is expressed through the body’s energetic meridian system.

Research shows that acupuncture can help with many more health problems other than just for pain and aches. The problem is usually not with the meridian system itself, but rather with the transmission of energy through the body. Just like the old VHF signals being broadcast over the air, the energy is always present; the signal is always there. Remaining healthy is a matter of transferring that signal as efficiently as possible to all parts of your body, and in this case your meridian system functions as the antenna. The farther out of balance your system becomes, the weaker the signal gets. Bringing the meridians back into its proper balance allows for the signal to broadcast at full strength.

Imbalances choke off vital energy traveling throughout the body, but instead of a fuzzy picture, you get sciatic pain, headaches, asthma, fatigue, numbness, digestive disorders, allergies, chronic sickness, etc.

Acupuncture works by supporting and balancing the “signals” being broadcast by your body and laying the ground for optimum expression of health. Clearing the meridian system of imbalances allows the free flow of energy to every cell, organ, nerve, and tissue, resulting in crystal clear, HD reception and picture-perfect health. If you have been feeling under the weather, exhausted, tired or just plain worn down, it may be time for you to come in for a tune-up. We are located on 205 W. 2nd Street, Suite 502, in Duluth MN.

3 Indicators You Need a Tune-Up

Here is a list of three signs indicating that you should immediately come in for an acupuncture tune-up. Both your body and mind will thank you for getting tuned up as soon as possible.

Chronic Back and Neck Pain
If you experience chronic back and neck pain, it is highly recommended to come in and receive acupuncture. Back pain is one of the leading reasons that people seek out acupuncture. So if your neck or back are bothering you, it is time you sought out acupuncture.

Trouble Sleeping
Acupuncture is a great cure for those who have trouble sleeping. If you experience restlessness, tiredness or overall fatigue you should try acupuncture. Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes overall health due to the needling of specific acupuncture points on the body. Try acupuncture to improve the sleep problems you are currently experiencing.

Digestive Problems
A healthy digestive system is important to living an active, healthy and worry-free lifestyle. In order to maintain a high-functioning digestive system it is important that the whole body has a smooth and consistent flow of energy. Acupuncture will help regulate this and promote a smooth flow throughout the entire body, in turn alleviating the symptoms of poor digestive function.

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