Sleep: How Much Do You Need and How to Get More of It

Guest Post from The Sleep Help Institute By: Ellie Porter (Managing Editor)| SleepHelp.org

ellie@sleephelp.org

On an average day, 28 to 44 percent of adults sleep less than seven hours, the recommended daily amount. Anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep is considered healthy with a few people falling above or below the average. Many people treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, sleep is vital to your physical, mental, and emotional health and is key to reaching your personal and professional goals.

The Need for Sleep

There are key processes that only take place while you sleep. During the first of the deep sleep stages, the body releases human growth hormone to stimulate the repair of damaged, worn out muscles. The immune system recharges and transports white blood cells through the bloodstream. And, the brain cleanses itself of toxic proteins, prunes and strengthens communication pathways, and consolidates memories all while you sleep.

Sleep is also important for your functioning during the day. Without enough of it, the body releases more of the hunger hormone ghrelin and less of the satiety hormone leptin. The brain’s reward center also goes haywire for high-fat, sugary foods, causing intense cravings for unhealthy foods.

Emotional stability relies on sleep too. The portion of the brain that processes your emotions goes into overdrive if you don’t get enough sleep, especially over negative experiences and feelings. The logic part of the brain that normally balances your emotions becomes less active, leaving you prone to mood swings, irritability, and overreacting.

How to Get More

Thankfully, the regularity and length of your sleep cycle are highly responsive to your personal habits and behaviors, giving you the power to change your sleep results. However, it will take a consistent effort on your part.

  • Commit to a Bedtime: The body is designed for sleep, and one of the best ways to promote it is to commit to a regular bedtime. Consistency allows the brain to recognize and predict to start the sleep cycle.
  • Make a Routine: Trouble falling and staying asleep? Try developing a soothing bedtime routine. Routines provide another way to trigger the sleep cycle while giving you a chance to address stress and tension. Those who need to bring their heart rate and blood pressure down before bedtime may benefit from adding five to ten minutes of meditation to their routine. Meditation improves the connection between the logic and emotion center of the brain, and with time, trains the body to elicit it’s “relaxation effect.” Yoga is another option for those who may experience stress and tension in their muscles. It has been shown to reduce stress-related inflammation while improving mood.
  • Address Sleep Issues: Sometimes there’s more at work than poor sleep habits. If you’ve struggled with insomnia for an extended period of time, snore excessively, or struggle with restless legs, you may have an underlying issue that needs medical attention. There are medications, devices like anti-snore mouthguards, and other treatment options that may help.
  • Turn Off the TV (and other electronics): Electronic devices can disrupt your sleep cycle in more ways than one. Some emit a blue spectrum light that suppresses sleep hormones. And, depending on what you watch or read, the content can stimulate your brain and emotions, making it difficult to sleep. Give yourself at least two to three hours of screen-free time before bed.

Conclusion

Changing your habits may take time, but the benefits you’ll see make it worth the effort. When adequate sleep is coupled with good nutrition and regular exercise, you’re creating a foundation on which to build a happy, fulfilling life.

At Better Health there is also a few services that can even further enhance quality sleep. From Nutrition to Acupuncture to Osteopath all can add different healing modalities to bring you that full nights sleep, you truly need.

The Author ~ Ellie Porter ~ Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org 1601 5th Ave, Suite 1100 Seattle, WA 98101ellie@sleephelp.org

Have pain? Try Abdominal Acupuncture with Heechan (Hee-Chan), Registered Acupuncturist!

Often enough I get patients who are very nervous about the needles. Hence, they don’t even give acupuncture a try. I have met with many patients who are nervous about needles and after the first one goes in, they ask me, “That’s it?” Pain medications are good temporarily but they do not focus on the root cause hence the pain is felt again until another dose of painkillers is taken or your body heal itself of the pain. Acupuncture needles that I will use has a thickness of 0.22mm, so they are very thin. Abdominal Acupuncture is really powerful and effective but very gentle! And it can treat pain of all kinds and pain that is anywhere on the body!

The Abdominal acupuncture is so powerful it can treat pain that are years old. The earlier you seek an abdominal acupuncture treatment for pain the less treatments it takes! Abdominal acupuncture is still being used mainstream in parts of China and has been used for many decades. The abdomen is considered the 2nd brain in the body because it has the highest number of neurons outside of the brain and spinal cord, it regulates numerous homeostatic systems through its actions on the nervous and endocrine systems. It also contains approximately 95% of Serotonin which is the happy hormone. This happy hormone plays an important role in many emotional, digestive and immune functions.

In the treatment, the most you would feel during treatment is a prick or you might not feel anything at all. There are different sensations that can be felt after needling and these are normal sensations. Sometimes burning is felt due to remnants of alcohol left on the skin after wiping. Sometimes dull, sore, ache or heavy, sharp, pressure is felt. All of these sensations go away within a matter of seconds. And on rare occasions when the pain intensity is high the needle is adjusted so that rest of your treatment will be relaxing and calming.

My goal is for you to have a comfortable, relaxing, and calming treatment all the while addressing your chief complaint.

Did you know there is a BIG difference between Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac) vs. other ‘practitioners’ without the title R.Ac providing acupuncture service? R.Ac has a minimal of 2 years of studies of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine theories that explains diseases with relation to the organs, emotions, diet, pulse, tongue and much more. Hence Registered Acupuncturist are able to treat more than just pain! Not to mention, more than 1200 hours of clinical experience. Other ‘practitioners’ without Registered Acupuncture (R.Ac) title who is providing acupuncture service has more likely have taken a weekend course to get the certification to provide acupuncture service. They have clinical experiences ranging from 20 hours to 500 hours of clinical experience. This does not mean it’s not effective at all but the approach of treatment is limited.

Explore and discover what Abdominal Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can do for you! Book an appointment with Heechan Lee, Registered Acupuncturist in Better Health Clinic today!

About the author ...

Heechan Lee graduated with honours from SSC Acupuncture Institute in the Acupuncture program and Traditional Chinese Medicine Program. He is currently a registered Acupuncturist and an active member of CTCMPAO and working towards in becoming a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.