Sleep is an important part to being healthy. In a study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, they examines the correlation between how much a person sleeps and how diet changes can help improve the amount of sleep a person gets. For example, if you
- SLEEP up to 4 hrs/night, you can try infusing your diet with high antioxident foods along with eating red peppers or pink grapefruit to see if this will help you increase the number of hours you sleep.
- SLEEP 5-6 hours a night, you can try taking vitamin C and selenium and see if this will help you increase the number of hours you sleep.
- SLEEP over 9 hrs/day, you probably are not getting enough of the stimulant theobromine or the compound choline, so the suggestion is to try eating 1 ounce of dark chocolate per day or eat more eggs, turkey, or scallops to help you reduce the number of hours you are sleeping a day.
There are other tools available to help you sleep, too. Acupuncture is an effective tool to help with sleep disorders, including insomnia. The National Institute of Health conducted a study of 40 patients, placing them into two different groups. One group received true acupuncture for 3-5 sessions and the others were needled at “non acupuncture points. The outcome of the therapy was assessed in several ways, first and foremost by an objective measurement of the sleep quality by polysomnography in a specialized sleep laboratory, performed once before and once after termination of the series of treatments. Additional qualitative results were obtained from several questionnaires. The objective measurement showed a statistically significant effect only in the patients who received the true acupuncture.
There are also some other lifestyle changes and suggestions which can also help improve the ability to get a good nights sleep:
- No caffeine after 3:00 pm or give up caffeine completely
- No sugar after 7:00 pm (or reduce sugar in your diet)
- Don't exercise for at least 2 hours before going to bed
- Avoid bright lights and LCD screens for at least 1 hour before bed
- Go to bed before 11:00 pm and keep a consistent schedule for going to bed and getting up (such as go to bed at 10:00 and get up at 6:00 even on weekends)
- Don't watch TV in your bedroom
- Turn off all lights in your bedroom and get it as dark as possible where you sleep
- Rub the bottom (the balls) of your feet for about a couple of minutes before going to bed or soak your feet in warm water before going to bed.
- Drink chamomile herbal tea before bedtime
- Melatonin has been shown to help some people with sleep
In this short video clip, Eric Kerr LAc, gives some helpful advice on how to help insomnia.
A good nights sleep is important to helping you feel and be well. There are tools available to help you improve the quality and quantity of sleep. If you have made all the lifestyle changes and are still not getting the sleep you need, my recommendation is to visit an acupuncturist and get that treated with acupuncture.