Are you someone who never seems to be able to get sufficient sleep or rest?
Are you someone who have troubles falling asleep even though you had a very long and tiring day? Or are you someone who wakes up in the middle of the night, not able to fall back to sleep?
If so, you may have a sleeping disorder called “Insomnia”. We define insomnia by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after you wake up. If you have slept more 8 hours or more but still feel sluggish and lethargic, it might be insomnia you are experiencing. And this tells you more about your health conditions than you expect.
Based on the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sleeping disorders like insomnia are results of an imbalance in qi (otherwise known as energy). Sleep disorders are usually due to imbalances of yin and yang energy within the body. This energy imbalance may be because of unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits, extreme emotions and stress, exhaustion from both excessive physical and mental activities, prolonged illnesses, and old age.
Oversleeping is perceived as a yang deficiency, while insomnia is perceived as a yin deficiency, and is associated with poor circulation, spleen deficiency or stress. If you experience nightmares in your sleep, it may be caused by emotional imbalances or overindulgence in rich foods.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a better sleep:
Avoid Heavy Meals Before Sleep
We should stop eating at least 3 hours before sleep. This is to allow our stomachs to successfully digest the foods before you sleep. Having a meal too close to your sleep time may cause stomach bloated-ness, epigastric distension or acid reflux which could in turn give rise to sleep discomfort.
Maintain Proper Work-Rest Balance
It is of utmost importance to keep to a regular sleep schedule and ensure a proper work-rest balance. According to the TCM body clock, there are blocks of two-hour interval duration that tells us the best time to eat, sleep, work, and exercise, among many other things. The best time to prepare to sleep is between 9-11pm, and it would be best to fall asleep by 11pm. Having sufficient sleep is vital to maintaining internal energy balance and allows the smooth circulation of qi in our body. This, therefore, helps our body recharge and enhance our immunity.
Avoid Stimulant Drinks & Greasy Foods Before Sleep
Know yourself and know that if you are easily affected by stimulant drinks, such as coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, or other forms of energy drinks, you should avoid consuming these drinks before bedtime. Generally, you should also avoid foods that are hard to digest such as fried or greasy foods, and high-fibre foods night. Keeping these habits will contribute to a good night’s sleep.
Avoid Consuming Too Much Fluid Before Bedtime
Do not drink too much water or other forms of beverages at least an hour before you sleep. If you feel thirsty before bedtime, try to only have a small sip of water. This is because having a full bladder may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, wanting to relief yourself, hence disrupting your sleep.
Moderate aerobic exercise helps to promote the circulation of qi and blood in your body. Generally, smooth qi circulation will allow all organ systems to perform efficiently, thereby enhancing sleep quality.
Incorporate Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbs can effectively help to strengthen your organs, improve circulation, balance the qi in your body and improve skin quality. This will in turn improve your sleep quality. The combination of chrysanthemum tea and goji berries can clear excessive heat in the liver, at the same time nourishing it and calming your nerves. You can also add longan fruit to your tea to aid circulation. Jujube seed (Suanzaoren, 酸枣仁), and Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), are also commonly used to treat insomnia as they can improve circulation and calm the mind.
Go for TCM Acupressure Therapy
Acupuncture and acupressure massages are effective in directing and regulating the flow of qi within our bodies. Based on the kind of disharmony in your body, TCM physicians would decide the kind of acupuncture or acupressure treatments for you. In these treatments, they will stimulate certain acupoints to ease insomnia and improve sleep quality. Our TCM Tuina Therapy is one such treatment which you can try! Book an appointment with our TCM physicians here.
Restore Qi After Staying Up Late
If you didn’t manage to have enough rest or sleep, you can take American Ginseng in the form of sliced pieces or tea to help restore energy, supplement body fluids, and suppress the body’s internal heat. You can also consume chrysanthemum tea to reduce internal heat due to a lack of sleep. Chrysanthemum team also has a calming effect and is great for relieving eye ailments.
Soak Your Feet in Warm Water
Soaking your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes, or until you start to break out in a slight sweat, can help you to relax and stimulate blood circulation. This can effectively help in a better night’s sleep. Here’s a recipe for soaking your feet in ginger, which you can find here.