Dream disturbed sleep according to Chinese Medicine

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Dream disturbed sleep can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like dream disturbed sleep here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here dream disturbed sleep is often associated with dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth in the pattern “Liver Fire Blazing”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause dream disturbed sleep.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of dream disturbed sleep we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat dream disturbed sleep.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause dream disturbed sleep

In Chinese Medicine dream disturbed sleep is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Fire Blazing

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth.

Liver Fire Blazing is often treated with Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Chinese Gentian - Long Dan Cao - as a key herb). Long Dan Xie Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder".

Read more about Liver Fire Blazing here

The Heart is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Heart in Chinese Medicine

Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and palpitations.

Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency is often treated with Gui Pi Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Gui Pi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi and blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood".

Read more about Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency here

The Heart is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Heart in Chinese Medicine

Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Thin

Heart Blood Deficiency hurts the Mind (神 Shen) and it causes insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, poor memory, dizziness and tendency to be scared. It can be caused by Deficient Spleen Qi that fails to produce Blood, long-term anxiety and worry, a severe blood loss and excessive workload.

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and palpitations.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Blood Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Postpartum Depression.

Heart Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Heart Blood Deficiency here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Wiry (Xian), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue color: Red

Liver Yang Rising can create Interior Wind if the condition is not treated for a long time. It can be divided to three categories based on the cause of the pattern: Liver Yin Deficiency, Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Blood Deficiency.

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising include insomnia, dizziness and poor memory.

Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

The Liver stores Blood, that is the reason any Blood Deficiency often involves the Liver. This pattern has an impact on areas the Liver relates to, such as the tendons, eyes, nails and menstruation. It arises from the same causes of general Blood Deficiency, such as poor diet, hemorrhages or Kidney Qi or Essence Deficiency.

In addition to dream disturbed sleep, other symptoms associated with Liver Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and pale lips.

Liver Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Liver Blood Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with dream disturbed sleep

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Drains Liver and Gallbladder Fire Excess.

Why might Dang Gui Long Hui Wan help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Fire Blazing' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Fire Blazing include dizziness, red face and bitter taste in the mouth.

Read more about Dang Gui Long Hui Wan here

Sheng Yu Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Preserves the Blood.

Why might Sheng Yu Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver And Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and palpitations.

Read more about Sheng Yu Tang here

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and palpitations.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang

Source date: the Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Liver. Extinguishes Wind.

Why might E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to Liver Yang Rising' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Wind Agitating Internally Due To Liver Yang Rising include insomnia, dizziness and poor memory.

Read more about E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang here

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Why might Si Wu Tang help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Blood Deficiency' of which dream disturbed sleep is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Liver Blood Deficiency include insomnia, dizziness and pale lips.

Read more about Si Wu Tang here

Acupuncture points used for dream disturbed sleep

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat dream disturbed sleep

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Dang Gui Long Hui Wan or Sheng Yu Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Bu Gan Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Si Wu Tang or Bu Gan Tang for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with dream disturbed sleep?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat dream disturbed sleep as a symptom, like Ba Zhen Tang or Wen Dan Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here