Tips to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer
Lack of sleep leads to a whole host of possible health problems – such as heart disease, obesity, depression, and ulcers. It also reduces how productive we are at work, and personally, lack of sleep makes me cranky!. Here’s ten simple tips according to Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote better quality sleep.
1. Drink green tea instead of coffee in the morning.
Drinking green tea on a daily basis is a lot better for your overall health than coffee. Green tea is very high in antioxidants. It has less then half the amount of caffeine then coffee has, so it wont keep you up all night.
2. Go to sleep every night before 10:30 P.M.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that 10:30 P.M. is the best time for a full cycle of sleep. At 11:00 the Qi in the liver regenerates itself, and in Chinese medical theory the liver controls a lot of our emotions, which can cause restless sleep and difficulty falling and staying asleep.
3. Do NOT drink very cold water.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine your body has to work extra hard to heat up the cold water you are drinking. So if you drink really cold water at night, your body is working on overdrive and it over-stimulates your body causing you to stay awake. This goes for ice cream too. Ice cream late at night can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, and may give you restless leg syndrome.
4. Walk around barefoot.
Walking around barefoot naturally balances the energy in the body. Being barefoot helps to clear your mind and naturally reconnect with yourself. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that there are meridien points on the feet that are correlated with sleep.
5. Get acupuncture or take Chinese herbs.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat insomnia in China. In China, it is one of the first treatments given to a patient to improve the quality of their sleep. There are different formulas you can take depending on whether your problem is falling asleep or staying asleep. My patients really benefit from formulas when they cannot stay asleep. Prescription medicine doesn’t seem to work well for those people who continue to wake thought the night. Consult your acupuncturist or contact me for more information.
6. Do yoga
Yoga right before bed is not only relaxing but good for your posture. Some people sleep curled up causing them to have achy muscles and joints in the morning. After doing yoga, it may be easier to lay on your back and fall asleep with your arms at your side, which, for most people, is better than sleeping on your stomach.
7. Drink Chrysanthemum tea.
Chrysanthemum is a light yellowish flower that has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine for insomnia. In China, they drink it on a daily basis to help maintain a healthy liver.
8. Avoid over-stimulating food.
Hot peppers, alcohol, and coffee overstimulate the nervous system causing an imbalance in the liver, which will disrupt your sleep.
9. Block out all the light in your room.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, if you place your hand twelve inches in front of your face and you can clearly see it, then your room is not dark enough. Try to remove any electronics in your room that have bright lights, to make the room darker.
If you’re tossing and turning in your bed, try to get up and meditate. You can even practice meditation while lying in bed by bringing awareness to your breathing. Focus on breathing from your abdomen, it will help bring your attention away from anxious thoughts. Of course you may have thoughts come to your mind but let them go as quickly as they came and refocus on your breathe.
Flickr: Photo credit: Frank Yu