Do you have insomnia? Trouble falling asleep? Waking at strange hours unable to return to sleep? Countless health issues can be caused or aggravated by inadequate sleep. Here is why Chinese medicine can help and tips to properly prepare for and optimize quality sleep.
Sleep is supposed to be easy: just stop what you are doing, turn off the lights, lay down and close your eyes, right? This does not necessarily work for everyone and Chinese medicine gives us insight into why.
For thousands of years, the Chinese and undoubtedly other ancient cultures understood that we should follow the natural rhythms of the planet. The Chinese Medicine 24-Hour Circadian Clock (illustrated in the picture) explains how qi (energy) flows through our organ systems (including all channels & organs) throughout the day. The qi is concentrated in the corresponding element/organ systems at the time noted.
Tips for a Healthy Night’s Sleep
Wake up (ideally between 5 & 7 am) and and go to sleep (ideally before 11 pm) at the same time
Dim all lights and turn off electronics such as computers, phones, tablets, & televisions an hour before bedtime – use blue light filters after sundown
Listen to soft soothing music, relaxing binaural beats, or meditate to relax your mind
Practice qi gong or tai chi slowly for 30 mins
Read or listen to a relaxing book – try fiction or psalms in the bible
Take a relaxing bath with calming essential oils or at least a shower to wash away the frantic energy from the day
When you lay down practice abdominal breathing – when you inhale your abdomen expands (not your chest)
If any thoughts or worries come up when you try to sleep, try writing them down. Tell your mind, those are for tomorrow after a good night’s sleep gives me strength and clarity
If you have a hard time falling asleep, try progressive muscle relaxation or self-hypnosis as you lie in bed
If you awake, avoid the temptation to get up and do something, train your body and mind – nothing exciting going on here
If you have a problem with a particular organ system, meditate or take a nap during that time (see Chinese body clock picture – ex: metabolic issues 9 pm bedtime)
If you try all of this and still have trouble sleeping your qi may be blocked: be prepared to tell your acupuncturist exactly what the problem is. Trouble falling or staying asleep? What time are you waking up? What happens when you awake – mind racing, have to urinate, can/can’t go back to sleep? Do you have vivid dreams?
Acupuncture can release energy blockages often improving sleep in the first treatment
A series of treatments and learning how to support your organ systems is needed for sustained results
Practitioners of Chinese Medicine a.k.a. Acupuncturists study for years and are trained to recognize patterns and symptoms that illuminate an overarching issue that could be affecting your sleep and as a result your health in general. Sleep quality is just one of the signs acupuncturists use to diagnosis and treat patients to optimize wellness.
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