Silent night

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By KRISTINA ALLRED

Vital Health

Insomnia: That terrible curse haunting millions of us nationwide — many would favor a disturbed dream over the waking nightmare of recurrent sleeplessness. According to the U.S. National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a public health issue affecting an estimated 50-70 million adults, nationwide. When the number of teens, children, and adults getting insufficient sleep are added to this equation, the tally skyrockets. Perhaps this helps to explain our national fascination with zombie shows?

While it might seem extreme to compare insomniacs with the undead, lack of sleep will leave you with a lack of focus, reasoning, and perhaps even the basic decency to make it through the day without “ripping somebody’s head off.” We are a nation literally falling asleep at the wheel. Insufficient sleep is linked to auto accidents, industrial disasters, medical errors, occupational errors and lack of overall productivity. People experiencing inadequate sleep are also at greater risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer, and reduced quality of life in general.

Our body systems all work together to achieve balance on a daily (and nightly) basis. An insult to any one of these systems will disrupt the whole. A dysfunction in the digestive, nervous, or endocrine system affects not only that system, but the body as a whole. This explains why some treatments work well for some, and dismally for others. To achieve lasting and profound results, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine look at this complex picture and apply it in an individual way. There are no “cookie cutter” treatments, each person is seen as a unique combination of physical, environmental, and present time circumstances. By treating the underlying factors that CAUSE insomnia, we can address not only the lack of sleep, but improve overall health and function.

In addition to therapies that address the physiologic causes, we can look at what is called “sleep hygiene” Sleep hygiene refers to healthy habits and practices that can be learned and applied daily to improve and restore sleep. A dark and clutter free bedroom is a great start. Insomnia can be caused by social factors like round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role. For many of us, it is as simple as the daily habits and choices that we make that affect our physiology, and thus, our sleep.

There is a way to get your peace back and enjoy a silent night of restorative sleep. When we improve the health of our whole body with great nutrition, stress reduction therapies and practices, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications, peaceful sleep comes naturally. Sweet dreams!

• • •

Kristina Allred holds a Master of Science degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist, and is board certified in acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has extensive experience in nutrition as well as herbal medicine. Kristina is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Kristina is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Visit our website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Kristina, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Kristina can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.

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