Getting a good night’s sleep

Sleep and Insomnia Cronulla Acupuncture

 For many people, the thought of a good night’s sleep seems elusive. Whether it is caused from stress, irregular sleeping habits, too much screen time, hormonal changes, etc, the consequences on our day-to-day lives are overwhelming.




What is insomnia?


At some point in time, most people suffer from insomnia. Insomnia occurs when one has problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or wake up during the night and can not go back to sleep. Usually there is daytime lethargy as a result of poor sleep habits,  which can also lead to low mood.

Insomnia can last anywhere from a few weeks to being chronic.


How does Chinese Medicine view insomnia?


Chinese medicine believes that the heart houses the spirit in the human being. In order for a good night’s sleep, it is important to House the Spirit and put it to sleep at night. The Spirit or Shen in Chinese Medicine is housed in the Heart Organ system. Difficulties sleeping are seen as imbalances of the heart.


The Heart may be out of balance for one of the following reasons:



Heart Is Not Nourished


The Heart may not be nourished by yin and blood. A flourishing garden bed requires good nutrients, and oxygenation in order to grow and be fruitful. Consider eating fruits and vegetables which assist in building both yin and blood


Overstimulation and heat causing agitation of heart


Improper lifestyle choices, including wrong food choices, too much physical activity, drugs and alcohol, over mental stimulation and emotional trauma, cause heat to aggravate the heart. The heart in its thriving state abhors too much heat, and can not settle leading to insomnia. If this is your case, then take the appropriate actions to reduce excess stimulants. Consider taking time to meditate which calms the Shen.


Constraint of the heart by qi, blood and phlegm


Long term negative emotional patterns, lack of qi and blood, not enough exercise, of excesses in toxins can cause qi, blood , and phlegm to stagnate. Just like a drainage pipe needs to be cleared every now and then, so too does the inner workings of the body. Consider a good detox, some exercise or breath work to calm and relax the mind. A good diet is also essential, as is the ability to assimilate nutrition.


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Here are some other things to do that may improve your quality of sleep :-


1.     Avoid screen time before going to bed – blue light emitted from phones, and devices may disrupt the body’s serotonin levels.

2.     Avoid eating or drinking just prior to  sleep – drinking before bed increases your chances of needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Eating prior to sleeping forces the digestive system into action, and may cause discomfort preventing you from proper sleep.

3.     Dim the lights in your house, and use lighting as close as possible to natural light (i.e. not fluorescent). The pineal gland needs to know it’s getting late and time to go to sleep. Way back in our ancestors times, there was no artificial lighting, and so the body naturally knew it was time for bed when the Sun went down.

4.     Cool the room temperature to roughly 18C.

5.     Encourage regular sleep time  - establish a good biorhythm for the body by having regular waking and sleep times.



For further information on sleep speak to your health care professional to see if acupuncture or herbal medicine might be of assistance to you. Contact our Cronulla Acupuncture clinic

How I came to TCM


How I Became a Chinese Medicine Practitioner

I look at this photo of myself, a woman in her late 40’s and think “What a journey I’ve been on!” Many of you know me as Anissa the Acupuncturist who owns a clinic in Cronulla, but how I got here has been quite a drawn out process.

Rewinding the theatre of my life to my early 20’s, I was earning ridiculous amounts of money in England, working for a large Bank as a contractor. I earned a lot of money and I was spending a lot of money. The year was 1999. 

My life prior to living in England was pretty normal. I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, close to bushland. I climbed trees, rode bikes, and had a pet dog and cat. I went to a private school, and I had a brother and sister. My father, who was a Doctor, had a surgery and my mother was a small business owner.

As I reached my teenage years, I became riddled with a lot of sub-health issues. My digestive system was troublesome, and my menstrual cycles were a constant torment to me.

Whilst I was surviving I just didn’t feel like I was thriving. I was just going from A to B.

By the time was working in my first job, I had become good at looking like I was surviving, but really, I struggled daily.

One day, I was walking out for a lunch break from work, and I found the effort of walking to lunch just a bit too hard. I knew something was wrong. I felt devoid of life.

It just so happened that where I was working, had a real alternative kind of feel. I started seeing a couple of alternative medicine practitioners, and I saw some results in my energy levels and my feeling of well being.

Fast forward back to England 1999. I’m in my highly paid corporate career. I should be the envy of young upwardly mobile career minded people. I am well paid, I am travelling around the world, I have a strong resume of experience, but somehow I was unhappy. I thought, how can I justify earning this amount of money, with no purpose?

I stopped and I made a promise to myself, that I was only going to work in this career until I saved enough money to put me through a degree in natural medicine. But which one? I liked all that I had experienced!

Thinking back to my early 20’s when I brought home the dried funny smelling herbs wrapped in paper packages, which I boiled, and drank. I also think back to the times when I was highly stressed at work and then received a bit of acupuncture.

The thought of becoming a Chinese Medicine practitioner made me feel nervous and excited.

Now I have a daughter, and my own peaceful and welcoming clinic. It is 80sqm in size. A far cry from working in a skyscraper, with its space age elevators and men and women in preened black suits, all on their mobile phones. My life is simple, but I am happy, and thankfully feel much healthier than I did in my youth.