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Why exhausted but still difficult to sleep?

According to Chinese medicine, liver heat causes imbalance of yin and yang, causing many people to lose sleep and toss and turn despite being exhausted after a day of work.

Sleep is a basic survival need, accounting for a third of life time. However, after a tiring day of work, the body is exhausted, some people still have difficulty trying to fall asleep.

According to traditional Chinese medicine doctors, insomnia is sometimes caused by liver function, known as liver heat.

“The liver accumulates too much qi to generate heat. When yin qi (cool qi, from night energy) and yang qi (hot qi, from daytime energy) are out of balance, yang qi is overwhelming, leading to liver heat. , said Dr. To Ching-san, a traditional medicine doctor at the School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, University of Hong Kong.

In addition to insomnia, liver heat also causes teeth grinding, irritability, mood swings, dry mouth and eyes. In severe cases, it can also lead to depression.

“Sleep is essential for the liver to function properly. Insomnia is a common symptom of liver problems, as your body needs rest at night. Traditional Chinese medicine calls this stage transition. change from positive to negative,” Dr. To explained.

Mr. To said that the liver is most active from 1pm to 3am, which is the organ that regulates gas metabolism. The liver is like a filter for the whole body, converting yang qi during the day into yin qi at night, thereby creating a state of balance. If this filter is contaminated or blocked, yin and yang will overflow, causing insomnia. This theory of Chinese medicine is quite consistent with Western medicine.

Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Photo: SCMP

Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Image: SCMP

A review of sleep disorders in chronic liver patients in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, 2020, noted: “Sleep disturbance is a common manifestation of chronic liver disease (CLD), which has an impact on the quality of life. life and general health. 60% to 80% of CLD patients report poor sleep status”. Common symptoms include insomnia, delayed sleep, reduced dream time (REM sleep), cyclic limb movement syndrome, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Insomnia due to liver heat often occurs in the summer months. This is a hot time, the liver has to filter all the heat the body has absorbed during the day. As explained by Chinese medicine, the major factor contributing to the liver’s yin and yang imbalance in the summer is lifestyle and diet.

“Fried food, spicy food, coffee, alcohol and the habit of staying up late cause liver heat. The liver works optimally between 1pm and 3am. So it’s best to go. Sleep before 11pm, make sure the body is rested so that the liver can perform its function,” said Dr. To.

According to traditional Chinese medicine experts, people suffering from insomnia due to liver heat can use a number of herbs to treat them, including fenugreek root, white peony root, Huangqin, and Di Huang. , wormwood,… Besides, acupuncture methods can also affect acupuncture points, helping to stimulate the liver to recover after being hot.

Traditional medicine experts promote healthy eating with the principle that “daily menus become natural medicines”. Mr. To recommends the papaya, pear and white mushroom soup. Ingredients include a small papaya, two pears, a box of white mushrooms, a handful of apricot kernels and 2.5 liters of water. The way to prepare is to cut papaya and pear into small pieces, put in a pot and boil with other ingredients on low heat for two to three hours, finally season to taste.

Thuc Linh (Follow SCMP)

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