It is January and I know many of you will be at the gym or attending a new exercise classes to counter the excess of the festive season, but actually Chinese Medicine would ask you to think about your yin (not your yang)! By this I mean we should take advantage of the dark nights and sleep more. Sneak an extra 30 minutes in bed in the morning or go to bed earlier, or do both; as I have been doing post-Christmas. We should be aiming for between 7-9 hours each night. In Chinese Medicine we are ‘nourishing our yin’ by prioritising our sleep. Yin is a term that embraces physiological processes in the body as well as emotional. It is important for our fertility, particularly egg quality and the morphology or shape of sperm. Optimise your fertility, by optimising your sleep both in quantity and quality.
Sleep neuroscientist, Matt Walker, has found poor sleep is associated with many diseases: cancer, diabetes, infertility and depression to mention a few. In biomedical terms we see sleep as a time when the brain is doing ‘housekeeping’; repairing damaged cells, storing memories and much more. If we routinely lack sufficient sleep we are storing up problems for the future. You can’t ‘catch-up’ sleep at the weekend by sleeping an extra few hours.
If you are trying for a baby and every month is disappointing or going through IVF, this can be extremely stressful and takes its toil on sleep. Many hard working couples are wired, tired, and stressed; yet sleep can be elusive.
Matt Walker is conducting research which is looking at how electrical stimulation of the brain (through the scalp) can induce sleep. I find this particularly fascinating; as for a long time electrical stimulation has been used with acupuncture over the scalp for a range of conditions, including insomnia, depression, anxiety and for some neurological diseases. I use a fantastic protocol of electrical scalp acupuncture which induces a deep relaxation and later refreshing sleep. One client describes how her body feels extremely heavy but her mind light as a feather. If your sleep is becoming a problem, contact me to see how I can help you.