During these unusual times, many people have contacted us at Amityville Wellness, regarding difficulties sleeping. Many attribute their difficulties sleeping with increased stress levels, poor diets and disrupted workout routines. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), insomnia and other sleep disorders are the result of energy imbalances in the body. We have all heard of the terms yin and yang. Sleep disorders are usually attributed to imbalances of yin and yang within the body. Oversleeping is a yang deficiency, while insomnia is a yin deficiency, and is associated with poor circulation. Nightmares are associated with emotional imbalances or overindulgence in rich foods. Stress can disrupt the smooth flow of energy and blood flow in the body. Below are some examples that you can use to try and improve your sleep patterns in a natural manner rather than relying on unnatural medications.
Your bedroom should be a place which you subconsciously only associate with sleep and sex. A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sleep. To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a white noise sound machine. Use heavy curtains or an eye mask to block light. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. Most mattresses wear out after ten years. Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom. Limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only; keep computers and work materials out of the bedroom.
A sleep routine is essential. The body loves consistency and routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s internal clock to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before. During the day, if you must nap, it’s better to keep it short and before 5 p.m. When it’s time for bed, ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath, read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities such as doing work or discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormones which are associated with increased wakefulness. Turn your clock away from sight to avoid staring at the clock.
What you eat and drink before bed can have a profound effect on your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime. Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night. It is therefore best to limit alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day, or less, and to avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. To lighten the burden on the stomach, avoid sweet, pungent, or spicy foods, which are considered yang (heating) foods. Instead, stick to foods that are yin (cooling). Yin foods tend to be green or pale colored, with a high moisture content. Foods such as tofu, green vegetables and fruits are fine. Some foods, such as pork and fish, are considered neutral. A cup of chrysanthemum tea clears heat and calms the nerves. Add goji berries to balance the chrysanthemum’s inherent yin properties as well. Other ingredients that promote restful sleep include the longan fruit, which is said to improve circulation. These can be eaten raw, dried, or steeped as a tea along with red jujuberies and a handful of goji berries to aid circulation. Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty, but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.
We at Amityville Wellness hope these ideas will help improve your sleep and increase your comfort during these trying times. Feel free to contact us via email with any questions or concerns and be sure to look into our Tele-Coaching Services for additional advice. To set up a Tele-Coaching session call 631-691-0200
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