9 tips on how to sleep better naturally with Chinese medicine
More and more people are having the problem of getting a good night's sleep. It might be a small problem if happens once in a while, but chronical insomnia can hurt your wellbeing seriously. Instead of taking more sleeping pills or drugs, we should find the root of the problem and try to correct it naturally.
Find the root of the problem by examing your lifestyle and habits. When did the problem start? What makes it better or worse? Is there any stress, worry or emotional issues you can address first? Is it related to other health problems? Are you eating well and stay active during the daytime?
In Chinese medicine, the sleeping problem is generally related to the imbalance of Yin and Yang Qi. Too much or too little of one energy will affect the natural rhythm of sleep. Yin and blood should be well nourished to ensure a good night's sleep.
No caffeine, alcohol or any drugs. We know coffee and tea stimulate our body and keep us awake. Cut them down completely when you have a sleeping problem or at least only drink in the morning. Alcohol might help you get drowsy first but you tend to have a restless sleep or wake up with a hangover. Avoid sleeping pills or other drugs unless prescribed by your doctor. Any drugs will interfere with our biological clock and should not be used for long term. We do not want to be dependent on the drugs to sleep all the time.
Sleep at the same time every night. The best time to sleep is between 9 to 11 pm according to the Chinese meridian clock. You can adjust according to your lifestyle, but get ready to sleep at the same time will train your body to fall asleep naturally at that time.
Don't overeat for dinner with rich or spicy food, and don't eat too late. This is to make sure food is properly digested before bedtime. If you have digestion problems, it is harder to sleep well at night.
Meditating, writing a journal, or listing to calming music can help you stay peaceful before sleep time. Most of us are distracted by the stimulation of TV, computer, tablet and cell phone whole day. We have to turn off all the electronics to really focus on resting.
Take a bath or a foot bath with warm or hot water before sleep time. A lot of females tend to have cold extremities. A warm bath helps the blood circulation and calms our mind. A cool head and warm feet are the best for sleeping.
Acupressure or massage. There are some acupuncture points to help with sleep. Common points include "Bai Hui" on the top center of our head, "Yun Quan" (Kidney 1) at the bottom center of our feet, the bottom center point of the heel, the "Tai Yang" on the outer corner of the eyes or "Yin Tang" in the center point between the eyes.
Another area of massage is the back of the neck and the upper back. Many people have tension built up here and can use a little acupressure to relax the muscle.
Try Chinese herbal tea and soup. There are some common Chinese herbs we can make into a tea or soup. Some have the function of nourish blood and Yin, some help us calm the mind and clear extra heat.
These are herbs you can use at home for sleeping: Ju Hua, Hong Zao (red date), Gui Yuan, Long Yan, Lian Zi (Lotus seed), He Tao (walnut), and Hong Dou (red bean). If they are dried and hard, soak in water a few hours first, and cook for about 10 - 20 minutes or until softened. Drink 2-3 times a day. Since they are considered foodstuff, it is pretty safe to take.
Chinese herbal formula and professional help. If the home remedy is not enough, you might need to seek a professional Chinese herbalist or a licensed acupuncturist for custom formula and treatment.
There are classical Chinese herbal formulas for treating insomnia such as "Gui Pi Wan (Tang)" or "Suan Zao Ren Tang". They are available in patent herb form from herbal stores. Each formula treats specific root problems. If you are not sure, consult a herbalist before taking them.
Acupuncture is another natural way to treat the sleeping problem without drugs. It might take several treatments to see the result. Be sure to check out the practitioner's license for all the qualifications.
Watch the video on sleeping naturally with Chinese medicine