Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Insomnia tips

1. Wear your socks! According to Chinese medicine, any types of insomnia are the result of heat in the Heart. Allopathic medicine has determined that wearing warm socks to bed can help some people sleep better. Why? Because the body is able to reach a sleep state faster when the body’s core is cooled off. Dilating the blood vessels in the feet helps it do this. I was interested to hear that Western science is backing up my medical tradition! When the Heart is hot, it’s hard for the Shen or “spirit” to rest easy. According to Chinese medical theory, the Heart, not the brain, processes all the thoughts. If you’re particularly worried about something, by running thoughts over and over in your brain you are heating up the heart, making it impossible to sleep.

2. Stressful lives: most of us have. When you are in fight or flight mode so much during your day, it’s hard to switch from fight or flight (the domain of the parasympathetic nervous system) to rest and digest (the sympathetic nervous system). Regular meditation practice and acupuncture have both proven extremely effective at calming the parasympathetic nervous system.   

3. Comfort is important. If your mattress is dipping in the middle or too hard, you won’t be able to sleep comfortably. In addition, if you have allergies to dust and pet dander your mattress can become a storage depot for these allergens. Consider replacing your mattress if either of these conditions apply to you.  

4. Limit electronics in the bedroom. There are two basic types of Qi in the body one is Yang, everything that is warm, active, growing and consuming. The other is Yin, everything that is restful, nourishing, cooling and still. Televisions, computers, smart phones, anything with an LED light or anything that makes a buzzing or humming sound is a Yang device and consumes the Yin around it. Studies have shown the more time you spend in front of a backlit screen, the harder it is for your body to reach deep sleep. Your bedroom is your sanctuary for rest and relaxation. Do not use electronic devices within an hour of bedtime, they will only amp you up and make it harder to sleep. End the smart phone addiction: leave it in another part of the house. You do not need to be on Twitter and Facebook at 11 pm!  

5. Clutter: While you’re cleaning out your bedroom and creating your Zen space, find another place to keep all that clutter. You know what I’m talking about: laundry baskets, piles of paperwork, kids toys, etc.. If you can’t find another place to put it, at least hide it in some attractive containers or a nice armoire. Nothing makes me feel less calm than a bunch of clutter greeting me at the end of a long day. 

6. What is it with 2-3 AM? Are you the person who wakes up at 2-3 AM without fail? The cause may be that your blood sugar drops at this time. When your blood sugar drops the liver is engaged to break up glycogen and make glucose for the body’s use. The Liver in Chinese medicine is responsible for coursing the Qi freely throughout the body. Having this organ activated in the middle of the night goes counter to healthy sleep. Try eating a small high protien, low sugar snack like almonds or sunflower seeds at 9:00 pm or so. If blood sugar is your issue, this should give your body the fuel it needs to rest easy all night long. 

7. Regular acupuncture. Acupuncture not only reduces stress and promotes proper hormone balance, it also adjusts the Ying and the Wei Qi. What are Ying and Wei? King is the nutritive Qi that circulates in the body during the night, nourishing all the organs and tissues. It is a Yin substance. Wei is the defensive Qi that circulates on the surface of the body during the day to fight against pathogens (colds and flus). Wei is a Yang substance. Many individuals end up with an imbalance of Ying and Wei in which the Wei circulates all the time, preventing deep and restful sleep. 


Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health 
issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, 
fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, infertility and many other health concerns.


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