A patient that I am treating for insomnia recently told me that her doctor said that her body will force her to get enough sleep to survive and that she shouldn’t worry about a lack of sleep. While the doctor was technically correct let me ask you: can you survive with two broken legs. Can you survive on a diet of Doritos and Soda? You certainly can but it is also certainly not optimal. In order to be healthy, vibrant and to thrive instead of just survive, you need sleep.
What Happens While You Sleep?
Just about every cell in your body is replaced every seven years. Some, like white blood cells in just a few days, others, like red blood cells, every few months and still others, like fat cells, take years. And when does your body regenerate and replace all the cells. That’s right, when you are sleeping. This is because a part of your nervous system, known as the parasympathetic nervous system (or the rest and digest part) is engaged when you are sleeping. This is the only time your cells regenerate. This is when your immune system is regrown, your organs are regenerated, and wounds and injuries are healed. What happens when you sleep...think about what doesn’t happen when you don’t sleep!
Why You Can’t Sleep?
There is another part of your nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight or flight part). This is a survival mechanism that gets us ready to fight the bear or run away from the bear and is also known as your adrenal response. When this part kicks in, blood flow is shunted to your muscles, your heart rate accelerates and lung capacity increases, all things that will help you survive a life-threatening situation. This also shuts down the parasympathetic nervous system. Many of us are stuck or locked in sympathetic dominance due to high levels of stress, overstimulation, lack of exercise and more mindful, grounding activities. Therefore, many of us do not get enough restful, quality sleep.
How Acupuncture Can Help?
At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, we use specific protocols that will help your body engage the parasympathetic nervous system. We also have protocols that will “switch off” your adrenals, giving them a much-needed break and stopping them from producing stress hormones that will affect your sleep. Diet, lifestyle and other factors can also affect your sleep and we will give you a comprehensive plan to help you break the cycles that have put you on the path to poor sleep. Using this multi-pronged approach, we help your body do what it is supposed to do and help you make the changes that will enable you to get deep, restful sleep on a regular basis. Just think about what doesn’t happen when you don’t sleep and decide if you want to survive or thrive!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!