Do you struggle to sleep through the night? Have difficulty falling asleep? Wake up exhausted?
This can be one of the most frustrating things. Lying in bed counting sheep, working out how many hours you have left to sleep or worrying about everything you have to do the next day.
It is commonly said we need 8 hours of sleep a night, but the quality and timing of our sleep is important too. Some people think they might need less sleep than others, but in time the body can start to suffer and become depleted.
Sleep is the time when our body repairs and grows, on a cellular level. It is a time for integration and regeneration. Think about everything you do in a day and how much your body must need a rest at the end of it.
Below are a few things for you to try when you can't sleep. Give one or two a try, you never know what might work for you...
- Have a NIGHT TIME ROUTINE - a healthy night time routine is crucial for healthy sleep patterns. Make sure you try to get to bed at a similar time every night and wake up at a similar time each morning.
- Avoid taking naps in the afternoon.
- Don't exercise too late in the evening.
- Try to get to bed by 10pm. Every hour of sleep you get before midnight counts as two hours. In traditional Chinese medicine, our body clock and circadian rhythm starts slowing down around this time.
- Don't eat too soon before going to bed and try not to have such a big meal after 8pm.
- Eat foods that contain tryprophan at night like turkey, cherries and walnuts.
- Reduce your screen time after 8pm. That means no TV or computers.
- Dim the lights in your room about an hour before bed or use candles instead. Bright lights and screen disturb your melatonin production.
- Keep noise to a minimum after dinner.
- Don't drink coffee or any drinks containing caffeine after noon.
- Avoid alcohol at night and definitely don't smoke.
- Have a cup of chamomile tea after dinner.
- Don't read or watch TV in bed.
- Put some lavender oil on your pillow or in a diffuser in your room.
- Try 'legs up the wall' pose before bed.
- Practise taking 10 deep slow breaths with your eyes closed when you get in to bed.
- Do a full body relaxation when you are in bed, starting at your toes and moving up your whole body. Focus on each area of your body and relax it with deep breathing and attention.
- Try listening to a meditation or relaxation DVD.
- Take note of what time you tend to wake up during the night and notice if it is a similar time every night. It could be beneficial to see an acupuncturist if you are waking up at the same time every night.
- Hold the acupoint CV17, which is good for calming the heart. See image below for location of the point.
Still waking up feeling tired in the morning?
The best thing to do is to getting moving when you wake up. Get out of bed and go for a 10 minute walk. It gets the blood flowing and breaks up the stagnation in our body. Also try having a glass of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon in it.
This should wake you up a bit and lift your energy levels for the day.