There is nothing as frustrating and daunting as being wide awake 1 am, 3 am all alone at night because you’ve been tossing and turning and cannot get yourself to sleep. Just as bad, it is falling asleep quickly and early, but waking at 1 or 3 and not being able to get to sleep again.
The energy imbalance apparent in the body can have an overwhelming effect on our overall health, and according to TCM, too much, too little, and especially no sleep at all is cause for concern.
Oversleeping is a yang deficiency, while insomnia is a yin deficiency, and is associated with poor circulation, spleen deficiency or stress. Nightmares are associated with emotional imbalances or overindulgence in fatty foods.
Sleep is part of a natural rhythm of the yin and yang qi (natural body energies) that communicate with each other and aim to strike a balance in the body.
The questions, therefore, that are always brought to light once you find yourself in the non-sleeper’s club is “what is causing this?” and “what can I do about it?”. The key to eliminating your sleeping disorders can only be through understanding the root cause.
There are a lot of natural factors that you might not be paying attention to, yet they contribute a lot to insomnia.
These are a few of the factors that could really act as a catalyst in producing your insomnia dilemma. Now, the beauty of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it narrows it down to the root cause and approaches it from a deeper level. Underlying factors contributing to any misalignment is key to treating or bringing the body as a whole to balance.
Factors affecting Sleep
- Irregular diet
In our world today, life has become so much easier when all you need to do is download an app, type the order in, and have your food delivered to your doorstep. Quite often we want the closest restaurant to our location and couldn’t care less about the amount and quality of ingredients used in making up the food. And often we don’t have routine mealtimes, which further upsets the balance in the body.
Eating a lot of greasy foods creates phlegm heat in the stomach which harasses the mind, leading to insomnia. Nutritional foods that help to promote sleep are less of a priority when placing an order and yet those are the key foods you should be thinking of because ultimately your body will need balanced nutrition to wind down and rest at some point. Incidentally, the more processed foods you eat, the higher the body’s demand for magnesium is. Magnesium is critical for sleeping and calming your nervous system.
- Emotional Imbalance
The Liver’s function is to smooth the flow of energy and regulate blood circulation in the body. It regulates the bile secretion, stores blood, and is also associated with the tendons, nails, and eyes. In Chinese Medicine, the liver represents anger, irritability, worry, unexpressed emotions, and all this is wrapped up under emotional imbalances.
Once your emotions are not in harmony, this irritation leads to the liver – yang rising or liver fire. When you worry a lot, your spleen, lungs, and heart are affected. Once the spleen has been affected, it cannot produce enough blood in the body and the inadequate blood supply creates an obstacle in the mind. In Chinese Medicine, the mind does not have ‘residence’ and keep floating. This causes worry and anxiety.
The body’s engine, the liver, once it’s been deprived of its liver blood it may induce a deficiency of blood to the Heart, thus creating floatation of the mind at night as it does not have residence causing insomnia. Possible causes of liver blood deficiency are due to the excessive blood that is often lost during childbirth.
These are just a few of the many causes of insomnia which indicate an interference within the body and its whole functionality. In homeopathy, the focus is always on bringing that balance, that natural rhythm, back to the body.
Our modern environment has changed, with so many factors affecting the flow between our bodies and nature. Naturally, as it gets dark outside, the body is supposed to start preparing itself for rest, slow down, and eventually, sleep takes precedence. If sleeping is really not an easy aspect of your body’s schedule, listed below are some of the effects that you might start experiencing:
2. Cognitive impairment
3. Memory loss
4. Severe yawning
6. Impaired immune system
7. Growth suppression
8. Risk of obesity
9. Risk of heart disease
10.Risk of type 2 diabetes
There are a number of natural remedies that can be applied or used in the restoration of sleep.
The role of acupuncture is to reduce if not eliminate as much fire as it can from the liver, calm the mind, and settle the ethereal soul. Needles are placed on specific acupuncture points that play a role in stimulating and promoting blood flow in the body, rejuvenating energy, and bringing balance in the body creating a calmness that will improve your sleep.
2. Quality Supplements
Melatonin is naturally produced in the pineal gland in response to appropriate light exposure, which means bright blue spectrum light in the morning fading to amber towards evening. It helps promote healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities. It also helps maintain normal levels of melatonin in the body as sleep is significantly affected by melatonin.
Melatonin has not only been shown to induce sleep but also to increase sleep duration, as well as for reducing jet-lag symptoms.
Magnesium Citrate / Chelate / Threonate
Taking quality magnesium can help a lot in improving the quality of your sleep and can also eliminate your sleep deprivation problem. Magnesium is also known as the “relaxation” mineral, plus it fights muscle cramps and headaches that might keep you up at night. Magnesium citrate is typically used for the nervous system and if a person tends to be constipated. Magnesium chelate is a well-absorbed magnesium supplement. Magnesium threonate crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps for boosting the brain’s magnesium levels and is vital for healthy cognition.
- Scutellaria / Skullcap
A member of the mint family, skullcap is a plant that has been widely used as a supplement that comes in different forms, capsules, liquids, and powder and it boasts of health benefits which include heart health, anxiety, and insomnia relief.
The dried root of this plant has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine as Huan Qin to treat high blood pressure, respiratory infections, and, of course, insomnia.
Below are some of the benefits of using Skullcap other than just for sleep:
- Relieve anxiety
- Remove toxins
- Soothe the nervous system
- Manage diabetes
- Help with your heart health
Have a look at these interesting tips on how you can help improve your sleeping disorders :
Poor sleeping habits pose a very serious threat to one’s health, so best to sort it out.