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Sleep Patterns and TCM

As a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (which includes acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine) I have often found that a patient will present to me with one or more health issues where poor or broken sleep is an additional problem rather than their prime reason for consulting. However, taking a detailed case history will begin to suggest possible links and patterns to an experienced practitioner.

In Chinese medical theory, different meridians (body energy channels) are affected at different times during the body’s daily cycle of rhythm during the day and night. Western medicine has taken up these principles to acknowledge what are also called ‘Circadian Rhythyms’.

Put in a very simple and concise form, bodily states or occurrences which happen at, for example, around 2am relate to the Heart meridian; 3.00am relates to activity within the small intestine and also, between 1.00am and 3.00am the liver begins it’s heavy detoxification workload (best achieved while fast asleep). TCM finds that 4.00am relates to bladder function while 5am relates to the Lung Meridian.

Therefore, when people wake up and cannot immediately get back to sleep around those times, this suggests to me an imbalance in the energy within those organs or body areas. That person may knowingly, or unknowingly, be suffering or likely to suffer from some disease of those organs in the future. It is also thought that the possible hidden effects of disruption in sleep quality may also contribute towards the development of conditions like insomnia, depression, SAD and bi polar disorder.

Using acupuncture to re balance all the relevant different meridians and/or herbs to tone the efficiency of all those energy channels can result in improvement or complete resolve of symptoms which is always enhanced by the restorative qualities of a really good night’s sleep!

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Dr. Dapeng is a Chinese Medicine specialist and acupuncturist, qualified via the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Having worked in the UK for ten years, developing a number of specialist techniques, his treatments release and restore the body’s energy channels from the effects of blockage, resulting in the reduction of stress-induced conditions and resolution of pain, male and female infertility, distress and digestive problems.
• Chinese Medicine Specialist
• Qualified and Accredited Acupuncturist
• Specialisms in Facial Acupuncture


Health, Sleep

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