Increased workloads and 24-hour access to the internet have created a world that rarely sleeps. The statistics are staggering: one 2011 survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that more than 30% of people suffer from insomnia or other serious sleep problems.
You might think that not getting a good night’s sleep simply leaves you a bit grumpy; in reality, the effects can be far more damaging.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, insomnia is identified as an imbalance of concentrated energy in the head; it is caused by factors such as hormonal changes, digestive disorders, physical and intellectual hyperactivity, as well as anxiety.
To sleep better you must follow these special tips:
Relax before going to bed
Engaging in activities that are restful and soothing will help you prepare for sleep both physically and mentally. For example, having a hot shower or bath 90 minutes before bedtime will help you to get rid of the energy accumulated during the day. The shower or hot bath should not last more than 15-20 minutes; with the addition in the case of the bath of some sort of relaxing Lavender or Melissa essential oil. Putting on some classical or other relaxing helps to calm your mind.
Conscious breathing exercises can also make you aware of your breath and your body and are a helpful way to slow down. Each time you perform these exercises you should visualize the energy flowing down through your body and then slowly releasing it when breathing out.
Do moderate but consistent exercise
Moderate but regular exercise may aid sleep by releasing tension and contributing to a drop in body temperature that makes it easier to fall asleep. Physical activity leads to a decrease of adrenalin and the Yang, which is the excess energy accumulated causing insomnia.
Watch when and what you eat
Be careful with eating late at night; avoid large meals, especially ones with a higher protein content, since it is harder for our bodies to digest. Consuming red meat before going to bed, for example, will produce endorphins which makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
Go for a light dinner, but do not cut out carbohydrates completely; small quantities (such as a salad served with some crusty bread), help the organism to relax.
Drink a cup of relaxing tea
Drinking certain types of tea at least one hour before going to bed can help to make us sleepy. Hawthorn, passion flower and of course the classical chamomile tea can act as a mild sedative by helping to relax muscles and relieve anxiety.
Self-massage is a great way to relax and invigorate. Before bedtime you can easily press 3 acupressure points on your head, which, if stimulated with a finger massage, can help decrease the accumulated energy.