Complementary Approaches to Sleep Disorders

May 5, 2019 Joe Brady

Many times we don’t get enough sleep because we just don’t get to bed a decent hour. Some of us do get to bed on time and still cannot get a decent nights sleep. Fortunately there are complementary approaches to sleep disorders that are showing promising results in research. Meditation and relaxation techniques as simple as reading a good book can really help.

My wife and I have a friend George Kerin, who spent 30 years of his life in a mental institution. As a therapist, not as a patient. George once told one of my classes that after thirty years of watching people that had driven themselves crazy, “the best friend you will ever have is a good book, keep one handy at all times.” Turns out george may have been correct all along.

One study was done at the University of Sussex, cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis found that reading a good book before bed can help reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent, better than sipping tea, listening to music, or going for a walk. Dr. Lewis found that it takes just six minutes of reading to significantly relax your body and your mind

What the Science Says About Complementary Health Approaches and Insomnia

Research has produced promising results for some complementary health approaches for insomnia, such as relaxation techniques. However, evidence of effectiveness is still limited for most products and practices, and safety concerns have been raised about a few.

  • Relaxation techniques can be helpful for insomnia.
  • Melatonin supplements may be helpful for sleep problems caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin may also be helpful for people with insomnia, but its effect is small.

Read more from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative health

Guidelines for better sleep.  from the National Sleep Foundation 

Maintain a regular sleep schedule, including weekends. 

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music. 

Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool with a comfortable mattress and pillows. 

Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. Don’t eat too close to bedtime. 

Avoid nicotine caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolate) close to bedtime. They can keep you awake. 

Alcohol too close to bedtime can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night. 

Regular physical activity leads to improved sleep quality, longer sleep, and a shorter time to fall asleep.It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. Exercise too close to bedtime can keep you up.

Acupoints for insomnia

KI 3, “Great Creek” Taixi

Shu Stream: Earth
Source Point
LOCATION: In the depression between the medial malleolus and the tendocalcaneus, level with the tip of the medial malleolus
IMAGE: The depression in which this Shu Stream point is located is like a creek: one of the banks of the creek is the Achilles’ tendon; the other bank is the medial malleolus.
FUNCTIONS: Benefits the Kidneys
Cools heat
Strengthens the lower back and knees

Ht 7 “Spirit’s Door” Shenmen

Shu Stream: Earth
Source Point
LOCATION: At the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist, in the depression on the radial side of the tendon of m. flexor carpi ulnaris.
IMAGE: Ht 7 is the “door” through which the “spirit” or shen can be calmed & regulated.
FUNCTIONS: Calms the Spirit
Pacifies the Heart
Clears the Channels
Benefits Heart Qi, Opens the Orifices, benefits the brain, and sedates the mind, Benefits the Tongue,

P 6 “Inner Gate” Neiguan

Luo point
Confluent point of Yin Wei meridian
LOCATION: 2 cun above the transverse wrist crease, between the tendons of m. palmaris longus
and m. flexor carpi radialis.
IMAGE: This is the “inner” (anterior) arm gate to the San Jiao channel & the Yin Wei channel
(See SJ 5)
FUNCTIONS: Calms the Heart & Spirit, Regulates the qi, Suppresses pain

Sp 6, Spleen 6 “Three Yin Junction” Sanyinjiao
Meeting point of 3 Lower Yin Meridians

LOCATION: 3 cun directly above the tip of the medial malleolus, on the posterior border of the medial aspect of the tibia.
IMAGE: The three yin channels of the leg connect here.
FUNCTIONS: Strengthens the Spleen & transforms Dampness
Spreads the Liver Qi
Benefits the Kidneys