Text: Qiu Yufeng (TCM physician)
(Hong Kong News) Long-term sleep deprivation makes people listless and difficult to concentrate. Chinese medicine believes that it will deplete righteousness and Yinjin essence and blood, which can cause dry mouth, irritability, and acne at the least, and can cause dizziness, depression, anxiety, and increased Risk of injury or death due to errors in judgment.
We should actively pay more attention to sleep and create a sleep-friendly atmosphere. People with sleep disorders (insomnia) can regain a good night’s sleep through traditional Chinese medicine treatment and health regimen.
Ideal sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours
I believe many people are wondering: Why do we sleep? From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, in short, it is necessary to maintain the balance of yin and yang, follow the natural rhythm of day and night, and follow the natural rhythm of day and night. Human work and rest are closely related to the rise and fall of the sun: during the day when Yang Qi is strong, activity increases; at night when Yin Qi is strong, activity decreases.
As night falls, we need to gradually move towards a state of rest and stillness to relieve the fatigue of the waking state during the day and restore energy the next morning. According to research, the ideal sleep time for adults is 7 to 9 hours per night. Because children and infants grow and develop rapidly, they need more sleep. As for the elderly, their physical functions are inactive and they require relatively little sleep.
Sleep is a biological instinct, and humans are the only animals in the world that actively deprive themselves of sleep. The variety of urban life, heavy work or study, mental stress, and negative stereotypes about sleep (such as sleeping equals laziness and harming productivity, etc.) will all prevent people from getting adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation may appear to bring economic benefits, but in fact the benefits outweigh the benefits.
Continuous lack of sleep leads to excessive consumption of qi and blood, and at the same time, the yin, fluid, essence and blood cannot be replenished, which will lead to a state of yin and yang imbalance such as qi deficiency, fluid damage, yin deficiency, and lack of blood.
Easily restless, anxious and distracted
Mental and physical strength will be overdrawn due to reduced sleep, leading to loss of Qi and blood. Common discomforts include fatigue, fatigue, and lack of energy. Qi deficiency will weaken the function of the spleen and stomach in transporting food and water, and will easily generate “internal dampness”, hindering digestion and making people more sleepy. The depletion of liver blood and kidney essence often makes people poor in energy, causing dizziness, tinnitus, dizziness, forgetfulness, and even hinders growth and development.
Deficiency of yin and body fluids can easily lead to internal heat due to yin deficiency. People who lack sleep are often prone to irritability, dry mouth, night sweats, prickly heat, and acne due to strong deficiency fire. People with yin deficiency and excessive fire are prone to inflammation, which may even be related to diabetes, eczema, herpes zoster (snake), tumors, etc.
In addition to causing physical discomfort, lack of sleep can also affect mental and emotional health. If the liver blood is excessively consumed and cannot be properly replenished, the functions of the “liver” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to relieve stress and regulate qi will be greatly affected. Liver stagnation will often make people depressed and unhappy. If coupled with the loss of kidney essence, it can make people lose interest in life, lose consciousness, and fall into a state of depression and negativity, which affects work and study performance. People are more likely to behave irrationally when they are depressed.
As for the other extreme, when the yin essence is deficient, the deficient fire is inflamed, and the heat disturbs the gods, the person concerned is prone to restlessness, anxiety, and distraction. His thoughts may become more and more extreme, and his behavior may become more and more impulsive and violent. The result is What we extremely don’t want to see. Due to lack of sleep, you may doze off while driving or operating machinery, which may lead to disastrous consequences. Some studies have shown that fatigue driving is as harmful as drunk driving and requires vigilance.
Reduce exciting activities after dark
Adequate sleep is very important to maintaining physical and mental health and cannot be replaced. We must pay more attention to sleep, get rid of negative perceptions of sleep, and actively create an environment conducive to sleep. After hard work during the day, you should have a leisurely and relaxing space at night to balance movement and stillness, and to recuperate your body and mind.
After dark, it is necessary to reduce exciting and exciting activities, limit overtime work, avoid stimulation by bright light and noise, do not do strenuous exercise or overeat, and use light-emitting screens in a controlled manner. Doing leisure cultural and artistic activities, chatting with relatives and friends, listening to relaxing music, reading physical leisure books and newspapers, or taking a relaxing walk, or learning mindfulness, stretching, meditation, etc. can all help relax and reduce stress and promote sleep.
Don’t be too full or hungry
Take a warm bath to relax before bed
Difficulty falling asleep, waking up early, having many dreams, or feeling tired after waking up are all common clinical manifestations of insomnia.
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the overall pathogenesis of insomnia is “yang not entering yin”. When the body is in a state of hyperactivity and excitement, it is difficult to rest still.
Heat in the internal organs, deficiency of yin and excessive fire, insufficient heart qi, and food accumulation are all common causes of insomnia. In terms of traditional Chinese medicine treatment, it needs to clear away heat, nourish yin, calm the mind, calm the mind, and help digestion.
No strong tea or coffee in the afternoon
Health advice for insomniacs:
1. Sleep is not achieved overnight. You need to cultivate your sleepiness and start preparing 1 to 2 hours before going to bed.
2. Before going to bed, you should put down your work, dim the indoor lights, and reduce the sound; lower the room temperature slightly to maintain air circulation; choose suitable bedding to create a comfortable sleeping environment; avoid being overly excited, and also Avoid strenuous exercise. Try not to develop a nap habit on weekdays, and avoid falling asleep in places other than your bed (such as on the sofa).
3. You should not be too full or hungry before going to bed. Eat less spicy, fried, stir-fried and other foods that are easy to cause heat and irritation. Do not drink strong tea or coffee in the afternoon, and avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed.
4. Avoid using light-emitting screen devices at close range before going to bed, such as mobile phones, tablets, etc. The stimulation of bright light and the irresistible social and information temptations can easily make the body excited and are the enemies of a good night’s sleep.
5. Before going to bed, you can take a warm bath, or soak your feet in warm water, or massage your ears until you feel a slight heat sensation, and gently stretch your limbs. It can also stimulate acupuncture points to help relax. Drinking a small amount of warm milk or flower and fruit tea can also relax and help you sleep.
6. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep, do not toss and turn in bed in agony. Instead, get up and do some light activities to cultivate drowsiness and then try to sleep again.
Diet therapy to clear away heat, calm the nerves and nourish yin
In terms of dietary therapy, those who suffer from insomnia due to restlessness can drink jujube and Ophiopogon japonicus tea, which has the effects of clearing away heat, calming the nerves, and nourishing yin.