Is your spleen to blame for your insomnia?

by Martin Reed on 27 February 2015 in insomnia cures

Chinese medicine suggests that those who suffer from insomnia are experiencing an imbalance in their spleen.

This imbalance can reduce nourishment to the heart which can lead to anxiety, worry and other thoughts that make sleep difficult.

Before you dismiss these ideas entirely, it’s worth being reminded that Chinese doctors discovered a connection between sleep and the digestive system thousands of years before Western medicine.

So if you suspect your spleen may be the cause of your insomnia, what do you do?

One doctor recommends ginseng, hawthorn, alisma, astragalus, atractylodes, ceanothus and lycopodium.

(I hadn’t heard of most of those before today, either.)

These ingredients are thought to help the spleen by increasing bloodflow, aiding digestion and promoting urination.

As for specific formulations, you’ll have to consult the experts for that!

Source: Epoch Times

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Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (otherwise known as CBT for insomnia or CBT-i) is universally recognized as the most effective insomnia treatment.

That’s because CBT works by tackling the root cause of most cases of insomnia (incorrect thoughts and behaviors towards sleep).

Researchers recently set out to determine which component of CBT for insomnia was the most effective – cognitive therapy (which addresses incorrect thoughts and attitudes towards sleep) or behavioral therapy (which addresses negative behaviors and lifestyle issues that affect sleep).

188 individuals with an average age of 47 and an average persistent insomnia history of 14.5 years were split into three groups.

One group underwent eight weeks of behavioral therapy, one group underwent eight weeks of cognitive therapy and one group underwent eight weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Researchers found that full CBT was the most effective when it came to treating insomnia and improving sleep.

At the end of the course, 67% of those in the CBT and behavioral therapy groups and 42% of those in the cognitive therapy group saw improvements in their sleep.

Six months after treatment, over 67% of those in the CBT group saw additional improvements in their sleep, compared to 62% of those in the cognitive therapy group and only 44% in the behavioral group.

These findings show that although improvements in the behavioral therapy group were fast, they didn’t persist over time (unlike full CBT). Improvements in the cognitive therapy group were slower to emerge, but lasted over the long term.

Although behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy are both effective when it comes to improving sleep, this study demonstrates that full CBT should be regarded as the preferred treatment option.

My free sleep training course uses CBT techniques to improve sleep. Over 2,500 insomniacs have completed my course and 98% say they would recommend it to a friend.

Source: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

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A recent study set out to determine the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as a way of improving sleep in older adults.

The research involved a small group of adults with an average age of 66 who had moderate sleep disturbances.

Half were taught mindfulness awareness practices and half were taught sleep hygiene techniques over the course of 6 weeks.

Those in the mindfulness meditation group saw significant improvements in their sleep quality, depression symptoms and levels of fatigue compared to those in the sleep hygiene group.

When looking at anxiety, stress and inflammation, there was no difference between groups.

Researchers therefore concluded that access to mindfulness awareness techniques may help improve sleep in older adults (at least over the short term) and alleviate symptoms of sleep deprivation such as daytime impairment.

If you want to give mindfulness meditation a try, UCLA offers a free 12 minute body scan for sleep (and other guided meditations).

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

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About 5 years ago I wrote about the possibility that some insomnia sufferers may be getting more sleep than they think they are.

A new study appears to back this up – at least in older adults.

Researchers in the United States found discrepancies when comparing self-reported insomnia symptoms and data gathered from a sleep monitoring device in those aged 62-91.

Previous studies have suggested as many as half (or more) of older adults report at least one insomnia symptom – but it now appears these claims may not be entirely accurate.

In the latest study, over 700 older individuals were asked to record their opinions about their sleep. Their sleep was also measured objectively using a wrist sensor.

The data collected by the wrist sensor found that most of the participants were getting sufficient amounts of sleep (an average of 7.25 hours) and that those who reported waking the most frequently during the night were actually getting the most sleep.

This research confirms just how easy (and common) it is for us to have incorrect assumptions about our own sleep habits. That’s why it’s important to rely on more objective measures (such as sleep tracking devices).

Recording a sleep diary for 1 or 2 weeks can also give you a far more accurate picture of your sleep health.

Source: The Gerontological Society of America

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3 drug-free insomnia remedies put to the (scientific) test

by Martin Reed 5 February 2015

Researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles recently set out to determine which natural insomnia remedy was more effective at treating insomnia; cognitive behavioral therapy, Tai Chi (a Chinese martial art) or sleep seminar education. 123 older adults with chronic and primary insomnia were divided into 3 groups. Those in the cognitive behavioral […]

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Your body clock may influence the effectiveness of your medication

by Martin Reed 3 February 2015

Our body clocks have a huge influence on our sleep. A new study now suggests that our body clocks experience a pair of ‘rush hours’ – periods of large shifts in activity just before dawn and just before dusk. Researchers examined samples from various parts of the body that are affected by our body clocks […]

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