Resetting Your Sleep Cycle (with TCM)
Human beings are deeply connected to the rhythms of our environment.
Evident through our sleep-wake cycles in relation to the sun, we can see how our bodies respond to the change of external stimuli.
Our ability to enjoy life in good health is also reliant on these harmonious cycles, however our modern lifestyles with less time in nature, longer working hours, irregular meals and exposure to disruptive lighting have had a large impact on our quality of sleep and reparation.
As we spend about 1/3 of our lives asleep, it is during this time that our bodies regulate important hormones, control the body’s metabolism, replenish our energy, strengthen the immune system and heal the various organs overall.
Western science refers to this process as our “circadian rhythm”, which is used to explain the body’s internal clock.
Reliant on the daily cycles of sunrise and sunset, our ability to live within these time restrictions have become very difficult to maintain in our modern culture.
The problem with this is that the interruption of our circadian rhythms can have severe consequences for our health. Linked to higher risks of obesity, infertility, heart disease, seasonal affective disorder, Alzheimer’s and in some cases, cancer – it is evident that our relationships with sleep are essential to our overall well-being.
By remaining connected to our biological pulses, we are able to reclaim control of our natural sleep cycles and allow our bodies the time it needs to rest, heal and thrive.
INSOMNIA AND SLEEP PROBLEMS
Although modern researchers have not yet been able to explain these natural rhythms, we have been able to see the consequences of long-term disruption through the development of illnesses that arise as a result.
As sleep problems are increasing in more than 1/3 of the population, the damaging side effects of sleep deprivation are resulting in medical problems such as cognitive decline, increased risk for obesity, impaired immune system functioning, mental health issues and chronic inflammation.
Before modern researchers had even existed, however, ancient practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) had developed elaborate understandings of how the body functions beneath the surface, as well as the negative consequences that sleep problems have on overall health.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM) AND SLEEP
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the internal functions of the body are understood in terms of the Chinese meridian clock.
This 24-hour clock is made up of different hours of the day that resonate with specific organ systems within the body.
By supporting and resting the organs during their peak time, you allow for them to heal and function smoothly. When energy flow is disrupted, various health problems can arise and severely impact our health.
In understanding the needs and cycles of our bodies, we are better informed about when daily activities may be either optimal or challenging.
In terms of TCM, the optimal hours for sleep fall between 11 pm and 5 am each day.
This is because the rising and falling of the sun impacts the brains ability to secrete melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep and waking cycles.
As this recommended sleep schedule may need adjusting to fit the needs of your current lifestyle, it is still essential that you implement a sleep routine that your body can get used to.
If you are looking to reset your internal sleep cycle and improve your quality of life, the following tips will help you: HOW TO RESET YOUR SLEEP CYCLE
1. Implement a consistent sleep and wake schedule
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
a. Examples: yoga, meditation, reading, a warm bath
3. Remove the television from your bedroom (and do not sleep on the couch)
4. Get direct exposure to the sun in the morning (5-20 minutes)
5. Limit screen time 2 hours before bed
6. If evening use of electronics are necessary, download/utilize apps that will regulate the blue light coming through your screen (these lights tell your brain that it should be awake)
a. Computers/Laptops – Download justgetflux.com (it’s free!)
b. IPhones – Turn on “Night Shift”
c. Androids – Download “Twilight”
7. Eliminate overhead lighting in the evenings.
a. Opt for candles or salt lamps instead
8. Limit caffeine intake after lunch
9. Keep your bedroom dark, tidy, quiet and cool
10. Be patient
a. It may take some time to reset your sleep into a schedule
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a very helpful tool in correcting sleep and reconnecting to the natural rhythms of your body.
If you are interested in receiving a complimentary 10-minute pulse diagnosis to identify the emotional and physical state of your body, we would love to help.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment.