How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Always feeling sluggish, unproductive, or stressed out? Your sleep schedule might be to blame.
Winter comes and the days get steadily shorter. Yet our work and home commitments don’t seem to really let up. It wasn’t always this way. Winter used to be a time for humans to hibernate to some extent. We used to get more sleep because our daily activities revolved around the sunlight. So, less sunlight meant more time to sleep and recharge. Traditional Chinese Medical theory recommends we get 8-10 hours of sleep a night in the winter to rejuvenate and restore. This restoration helps our body to be healthier for the entire rest of the year. In modern culture, we tend to forget ancient wisdom and chose energy drinks and caffeine instead of deeply restoring our health, but that can be damaging.
Healthy sleeping habits can improve the quality of your life. Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health, but falls short and can take a serious toll on your energy, positivity, productivity, and even your weight. And poor sleep is something your body gets used to over time because it affects your body’s natural rhythmic order. That’s why it is so important to make sleep a priority. That’s also why it can take some time to get your body back in the habit of a regular sleep schedule.
Yet many of us are not getting enough sleep each night. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between 50 million and 70 million adults in the U.S. have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. Some may have acute sleep problems lasting for several weeks or months, while some people can experience chronic sleep issues that may last for years. The inability to sleep usually comes from one of two things—overstimulation or anxiety. Both can get your mind racing at night, right when you want it to be quiet. To combat overstimulation and anxiety, try these tips:
1. Create a Sleep Routine
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time each day. A sleep schedule is very personal and unique and can help your body know it's preparing for sleep. You will have to read yourself and your needs, but here are some tips to get you started.
- The easiest way to get more sleep is by getting to bed earlier. Body rhythms make it difficult for most people to sleep in and get more rest.
- Give two hours before your food to digest before you go to bed.
- Eat little to no sugars after dinner because the sugar can stimulate the liver and cause waking and activity at night.
- Turn off any electronics at least an hour before bed to help your brain get into sleep mode.
- Use melatonin or Bach rescue remedy, which are plant-based sleep aids to help you sleep.
- Drink an herbal tea at night to relax.
- Experiment with aromatherapy. Lavender and chamomile are especially soothing.
2. Relax in Nature
Spending more time in natural light has proven to “recharge” our biological clock. Too much artificial light can hurt our sleep quality at night. Try doing things that get you back into nature. One proven tip is “grounding,” or literally connecting one’s bare feet with the soil. Grounding for 10 to 20 minutes a day can be helpful for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. However, on days where stepping outside barefoot seems ridiculous, try activities such as hiking, biking, or swimming. Exercise during the day has been proven to help you sleep better at night.
3. Sleep Better with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
If you are still tossing and turning at night, you might want to look into more holistic solutions to help support your body’s natural rhythm of sleep.
Anxiety, as mentioned above, is one of the main reasons people aren’t getting enough sleep. People feel as though they cannot “turn off their brain” at night to sleep. Acupuncture can help your sleep by restoring the natural balance of your body and reducing anxiety. Acupuncture can also help with stress, which helps improve sleep. Acupuncture is drug-free and proven to help with anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Chinese herbs work in conjuncture with acupuncture treatments to restore the body’s rhythmic order. Herbs are food, but just not the food you would normally eat. So when you take herbs you are restoring with food. Restorative and non-habit forming, Chinese herbs assist the body to relax. Chinese herbal medicine positively affects the body, mind, and spirit by calming anxiety, lowering stress, and quieting the mind.