Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Sleep

Li Defu

PureInsight | February 7, 2003

[PureInsight.org] There is an old Chinese saying, "Given the choice, I would search for a way to cure my insomnia rather than the way to become a divine being."

The symptoms of insomnia vary by person. Some people have trouble falling sleep. Some are able to fall sleep but wake up constantly during night and find it hard to fall asleep again. Some people would wake up at the sound of a pin drop. Some people keep their eyes closed all night but their minds are awake. Worse than all the aforementioned variations of insomnia is the kind where one constantly remembers something to be done or somebody to meet, and then jumps out of the bed. When one finally returns to bed and is about to fall asleep, the same episode repeats itself. Therefore, one cannot get any rest the whole night.

I treated a patient suffering from insomnia once a long time ago. I cannot help but smile every time I think about this patient.

She first came to my clinic for insomnia treatment because her husband was my patient. This couple lived in two separate cities because of their jobs, as well as another embarrassing reason. The wife would remain awake throughout the night, so she would wash dishes, do the laundry and vacuum the floor. At one point, her husband felt he was going to have a heart attack because he could not sleep at night because his wife was up doing housework. He was experiencing severe headaches and came to me for treatment.

Every time his wife visited him, he would come see me at my clinic and talk about the problem. The house was nosier at night than during the daytime. His daily biological clock was turned upside down as a result. He asked for help from me and I obliged.

His wife was always busy, and couldn't go to sleep easily. She thought sleep was a waste of her time and impeded her work. She studied in a graduate school, and she wrote most of her papers and her thesis at night. During the daytime, she became completely worn out and felt drowsy. She fell asleep only when she was too exhausted to keep herself awake. Even though her body might have taken a break during this sleep, her mind did not.

I asked her to lie down, and used a one-inch long needle to apply acupuncture at her hairline. After a few minutes, she fell to sleep. She woke up two hours later. Since then, she has been able to sleep at night. But one month later, she came to see me again for oversleeping. "Since you were able to treat me for insomnia, you should be able to help me with my problem of oversleeping, right?" she asked.

Her husband stood next to her looking frustrated. He said, "Do you think there is a switch on your head which the doctor uses to control the amount of sleep?"

I asked her to lie down again, and applied acupuncture on the same spot, but with half depth. She fell asleep again, but this time she woke up quickly. I told her, "A human being is not the same as grass or wood. We are flesh and blood, and need sleep more than anything else. Good sleep can help restore our energy, maintain good health, calm the stomach, and strengthen bones and muscles. Man is not supposed to have any illness. If one stays up working at night, however, and cannot sleep regularly, then, his eye sockets will become sunken and his health will decline daily. He might not catch an illness immediately, but he will eventually become ill. Sleep is not a medicine, but it helps cure all kinds of illness, even saves lives. It's a panacea."

She seemed to understand my words a little bit. Anyway, after this treatment, she didn't need to see me any more. Her husband's headache was also cured.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/1/19/20081.html

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