What do sleep patterns tell us about Health?
Every single one of us faces challenges in the area of relationship – to our self or to another, money, our job or career or our health – at one time or another. Whether we are feeling needy, vulnerable or insecure in a relationship, feeling inadequate or unhappy with an aspect of our self; uninspired at work or not feeling the value or purpose in our life; or maybe we are struggling with a diagnosis we don’t know how to handle or who to talk about it with; at one time or another we ALWAYS have some sort of challenge that we need to work out.
Take sleep for example. Lately a number of my friends, patients and even I have been having some wide awake hours during the middle of the night. With each of these individuals, myself included, there was an underlying emotional issue that was lingering, unresolved or creating a state of “unsettled”; and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles and philosophy, the time we wake up at night can clue us into what it is that is keeping our soul from being restful. For instance, if you find yourself waking up between 1:00 am and 3:00 am, you may have some un-expressed anger that has been pent up. According to TCM, the Liver, which is the organ associated with anger is most active during those hours of the wee morning and if the mind is irritated, agitated or angry, the liver will actually be affected by the unbalanced emotion. If one wakes frequently between 3:00 am and 5:00 am, the corresponding organs are the lungs and the underlying emotion is often grief or sadness. As with all dis-ease, insomnia being somewhat mild compared to other severe and complicated diagnoses, there is always an underlying emotion, which can linked to the origin of the state of dis-ease.
One recommendation I make to my patients is to prior to turning out the lights at night, jot down on paper or in a journal whatever it is that you are feeling, expressing the emotions that go along with the incidents and allow yourself to release them on paper. Next, close the journal and request that your unconscious mind, while you sleep will assist you in coming up with a solution or a next step to whatever is bothering you. Sometimes just getting it out on paper, releases it from our psyche and assists us in sleeping more soundly.
The same is so with any state of illness, disharmony or dis-ease. There are ALWAYS underlying emotional components to anything and everything that is going on with us in our lives. As we examine what is going on in our head and heart, we can glean insights into why we are going through whatever we are going through.
Holistic healing is understanding the mind/body/ and soul connections and healing not only the physical symptoms, but also the limiting beliefs, anxieties or negative emotions that we are having. These negative feelings and emotions will keep us stuck and unable to heal completely. Everything we experience is truly an opportunity for awareness, reflection into our inner world and profound healing once we take full responsibility and accountability for whatever factors that have led to what is here and now in our life; as well as understand that genetics, circumstances and our past also play a role. With kindness and compassion toward self and others, deep rest, which is so very important in our healing, will begin to transpire.