Join the Conversation: Energy Medicine For Sleep

If you are feeling tired, you are not alone, it is estimated that 50 to 70 million  Americans are sleep deprived.     Good sleep is by far one of the most critical factors in our overall health.  It is also one of the most commonly overlooked and undervalued.   For many people, sleep challenges have become a way of life.  Chronic tiredness, depression, anxiety and much more have become part of their daily existence.  It does not have to be that way, sleep problems are an energetic imbalance that can be resolved.   There are many things you can do on your own for better sleep and there are numerous energy medicine approaches that a skilled Acupuncturist or Energy Medicine Practitioner can do to shift your sleepless pattern.  Read on and learn more about a “Healthy Sleep Style.”

Why is sleep so important to our overall health?
Our society is sleeping less and less and doing more and more.    Energetically, when we are sleep deprived we don’t have all of our resources available to handle daily life challenges.  Our judgement becomes impaired and what would have been a minor difficulty (on a good nights sleep) becomes a major issue when we are sleep deprived.  Good sleep is a crucial self care habit that helps our bodies energies run optimally.  Other important reasons for a “healthy sleep style,” are that sleep:
  • Reduces emotional imbalances such as irritability, depression, anxiety
  • Helps the body to repair and rejuvenate itself
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Enhances alertness, memory, communication and overall mental performance
  • Increases our ability to manage stress
  • Restores your adrenals
  • Helps to maintain healthy body weight and reduces over eating
  • Reduces risks of illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Promotes health and wellness
  • Makes us all nicer people

Energy Medicine Quick Tips For Sleep

Make your bedroom a Sanctuary:  The wisdom of Feng Shui tells us that the bedroom is best preserved as a sanctuary.  Computers, TVs, cell phones and office activity in the bedroom hinders the sense of restfulness we need to feel calm and restful in this space.  Create a gentle, low-tech retreat from the world in your bedroom.

Remove items that have any association with stress or stressful events.  As you are looking around your bedroom ask yourself, does this make me feel calm,  relaxed and comfortable?

Find ways to create total darkness in your bedroom at night.  Complete darkness signals your pineal gland to release melatonin, a natural sleep hormone.

Lights Out by 10:00pm:  Establish a bedtime routine that includes lights-out by 10 p.m.  The Triple Warmer Meridian is our energy of defense, and it is designed to be restored during its peak time between 9 and 11 p.m.  Winding down during that time helps you to avoid a second-wind, hyper-alert state that can be triggered by excitement in that time frame.  Once you are running on adrenaline, it becomes more challenging for your body to relax.   Try the Triple Warmer Smoothie between 9-11pm or anytime you awaken during the night.

Triple Warmer Smoothie 

Calming Triple Warmer Meridian acts to balance many other systems and helps your body relax.  Beginning with your fingertips at your temples, inhale while bringing your fingers in front of your ears and then above your ears, and exhale.  Inhale again, and on the exhale trace your fingers slowly around behind your ears and down to the top of your shoulders. Inhale, and on the exhale drag your hands down and cross them over your heart.

 

Meridian Flow Wheel and Your Circadian Rhythm

Just as Triple Warmer is at its peak from 9-11pm, every meridian has a 2-hour high-time and low-time within a 24-hour day.

 

Many difficulties with sleep will happen when the body’s own Circadian Rhythm is out of sync.  This can happen when you travel across multiple time zones, experience a time change like Daylight Savings time coming on March 11th, work the night shift, or feeding an infant through the night.  It is easy to reset our body’s biological rhythm by tracing your meridians.  Always trace Central and Governing Meridians first and then begin with the meridian that falls within the current time of day.  For example, if you want to trace them before bedtime at 10pm, then follow Central and Governing by tracing Triple Warmer and then each meridian that follows around the wheel repeating Triple Warmer again and closing with Central and Governing.

If you are working the night shift or dealing with time zone changes, begin by tracing before you go to sleep and then again when you awaken.

When I travel I do it before the airplane lifts off, every few hours in flight (estimating the current time), upon landing in the new time zone, before bed and upon waking.  For more information on meridian tracing we offer a DVD and Chart.

Use the Meridian Flow Wheel to improve your sleep in other ways too.  For example, if you are waking between 1-3am which is Liver’s peak time, you can Sedate Liver by tracing the Liver Meridian backwards several times during this time.  You could also hold Liver Sedating Points prior to falling asleep.

If you consistently awaken between 3-5am needing to urinate, you might look to Lung’s opposite partner Bladder which is at its lowest energy level creating difficulty for the Bladder to hold the urine until morning.  Sedating Bladder Meridian before bed or between 3-5am would be helpful.  However, if you are waking between 3-5am due to cough or asthmatic response, then you need to look at Sedating the Lung Meridian which has become over active during its peak time.  For more information on Acupressure Strengthening and Sedating Points a Chart and DVD are available.

Expelling the Venom:

Here is another excellent stress reduction tip that helps you let go of any lingering stress from your day.  Standing with your feet parallel. Bring both arms in front of you with your elbows slightly bent, make a fist with both hands. Take a full breath as you swing your arms out to your sides, back and and then over your head, and hold a moment.  Open fists so palms are facing down as you push your palms down toward the ground on the exhale.   Emphatically releasing any stressors you are hanging onto.  Let your breath out with a “whoosh” or “Shhhhhh” sound.  Repeat several times. On the last time, bring your arms down in a slow and controlled manner, as you blow out your breath.

Eat and Drink Calm Producing Substances

Avoid Foods and Beverages that have caffeine and sugar such as coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol, desserts and snacks.  If you love your coffee or black tea, try taking it before noon.  Caffeine consumption stresses the adrenal glands; a common sign of adrenal gland stress is a boost of wakefulness at bedtime.  Phase out caffeine for a month or two to discover if it has been contributing to your sleep problems.

Meditation For Sleep

Get Comfortable in your bed.  Rest one palm on your forehead and the other on your belly below your navel.  (This bridges your energies between your 2nd chakra and your main stress points and neutralizes stress chemicals, calms the mind, heart and spirit.)As you breathe in and out, gently focus on your breath.  Feel the sensation of the air moving through your nose and follow the breath as it moves through your body.

As you are following your breath, thoughts may arise.  Gently notice the thought as if it they were a moving cloud.  Watching them as they drift by.  Then return again to your breath.

Your goal is not to eliminate thoughts, It’s ok to have thoughts, just observe them and gently let them float away.

The longer you do this, the more you will become aware of the calming sensation the breath brings to your body, mind and spirit.

Nutritional Tips for Sleep 

Always have a qualified practitioner energy test your supplements and foods .   Below are some nutritional tips that may work for you:

Calcium soothes the nerves and contributes to restful sleep.   It’s important to take it with magnesium (which also calms the nervous system) for proper absorption and circulation to the nerves and bones.

Bone Broths made from slow-cooking poultry or beef bones with a splash of vinegar serve up an impressive amount of minerals and nutrients.

B-Completx vitamins directly support our nervous system.  Since they are water soluble, they are not stored in the body and are depleted by stress.

Other supplements to consider include:

  • tryptophan
  • 5-htp
  • melatonin
  • valerian root

Reducing Your Stress for Better Sleep
Using quick stress reducing techniques throughout the day will help you sleep.  If we take care of stressors as they occur, it will makesleep time much more peaceful.   Oriental Medicine refers to calming the mind  as your Shen.  Calm the mind and you will calm the heart.

There are many Energy Medicine Stress Reduction Techniques available.  One of the easiest to use is the Main Neurovasculars.  Place the palm of one hand on your forehead and the the other behind your head as you let your mind race through your stressors for the day.  The longer you hold this position, the more your nervous system will begin to relax.

My personal favorite to use is Heart – to – Heart.  While we  shared it with you last month, I find its value worth sharing again.  I use Heart – to – Heart to fall asleep and also to return to sleep if I am awakened.  If you are new to Heart- to – Heart enjoy our video clip here.

 

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