Last night I was awake for HOURS - tossing and turning, thoughts going a mile a minute through my mind, couldn't get comfortable. After I finally drifted off, the cat hurled himself onto my full bladder, waking me with a start. After using the restroom, it seemed to take forever to drift back off to sleep. And worrying about all the sleep I was losing was not helping matters any.
When you have a night like this, or lots of them in a row, it can really take a toll. You don't have energy during the day to get things done, and your brain starts getting foggy. I know after a few nights of not sleeping I also start getting depressed, and can't motivate myself to do anything.
It's time to ease up on the late night Game of Thrones marathons and get some quality zzz's -@AcuMed_Spa
1. Create a Bedtime Routine
Every night (well, most nights anyway) I meditate for 20 minutes, then do the dishes while I boil water for tea. While my tea is steeping I take a shower, and cap off the night by drinking my tea and reading a book. Of course you don't have to do all that - but do create some kind of routine that you do every night to let your body know it's time for sleeping. You can take a bath, do some light stretching or yoga, write in a journal, pray or meditate, or any number of things. Just turn off all screens an hour before bed. All that blue light messes with your hormones that tell you it's nighttime. And stick with it. It might take a few weeks for your body to realize what's happening and fall in line.
2. Drink some tea
One of my favorite parts of relaxing before bed involves my homemade sleepy tea. Mix 2 parts chamomile flowers with 2 parts lemon balm and 1 part passionflower herb. Then drop 1 T of the mixture into a cup boiling water, cover, and let steep for 10-30 minutes. You can buy the herbs online here. If that's too much work for you, many companies make a sleepy time tea blend, they just aren't quite as potent.
3. Acupressure on Anmian
Anmian is an acupuncture point that means Peaceful Sleep. You'll find it in a tender depression behind the ear, just below the skull bone (see picture below). Using the tips of your fingers, massage the point gently for a few minutes before bed, or if you wake in the middle of the night. Place a drop of lavender oil on your fingertips to amplify the effect.
3. Try Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
If you've been at these three things for a few weeks and not getting any results, it's likely there is something more complex going on. In Chinese medicine there are two types of insomnia, trouble falling asleep, and waking in the middle of the night, and many things that can cause either problem. Acupuncture and herbs address your individual issues, relieve stress, and break the cycle of long standing insomnia, whatever the cause.
If you haven’t been sleeping well lately because you’re stressed, anxious or thinking too much at bedtime, I highly suggest looking at this article as well.
Have any of these tips helped to to fall asleep? Or do you have other suggestions? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.