When we look at the natural order of our world and the old ways of our forbearers, keep in mind the changes of season.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we look at the cycle of the organ systems which have specific times of day and determine our nature. It is also helpful to look at the time of acupuncture treatment to further balance specific parts of the body. Allowing more effective point prescriptions to be used makes a difference in some types of acupuncture e.g. 5 Elements.
For instance, we’ll look at an example at the Chinese clock of organs. We can see that someone who always wakes between 1 am and 3 am has an imbalance of the Liver/Gall Bladder system and may need to express their feelings verbally vs. holding them in and ignoring them. Whereas someone who gets a “second wind” at midnight is the Gall Bladder and you may have trouble going to sleep if you stay up to this hour.
When we seek to “go with the flow” of nature and the patterns of the sun and moon we can regulate our digestion, have better stamina, and less stress or difficulty in waking up.
Everyone has their own rhythms of sleep and often this pattern of early to bed doesn’t work for everyone’s schedule or body.
Create a routine that works for you and makes you feel refreshed. Especially, if you have difficulty going to or staying asleep or both.
Often people think that staying up later will help them fall asleep easier the next night but much like kids, the more fatigued our systems are, the harder it is to fall asleep. Keep a consistent bedtime and wake up time to allow the body the rest and relaxation it can depend on and deserves.
I always try to have everything I may need to support calming my mind and body down at hand. We have yoga mats and space to stretch in our room, a cozy chair for reading or watching a show. In my night stand I keep some essential oil blends like serenity from DoTerra or a mix of lavender and orange. I have hand cream & chapstick, my headphones, water and books. I always have a journal too so if I need to do a brain dump I can or just do I gratitude list too.
If for some reason I might wake up and cannot fall back asleep, I have a plan to go drink some water and put in a meditation for sleep. If I don’t fall back to sleep within 20 min or so I grab my book and migrate to the cozy sofa downstairs or my recliner. I do better if I relocate- it's like a reset to my brain. I can either get sleepy and go back to bed or hang out in my new cozy space and get to sleep faster.
It’s a bit of a challenge with these furry cuties of mine pictured below. If by some chance they need to go out, sometimes I cannot get back to sleep.
In the morning I also try to keep a simple plan in place for my routine and it really helps create more calm amongst the chaos of my busy household. We (the adults) wake up at the same time, have time to sit outside on the patio, let the pups run around. and have a cup of tea or coffee…before the smaller humans rise. This allows us on most days to wake up fully and have time to meditate or exercise first thing.
On a super perfect day I would do the following - wake up, have tea, go to the ladies room (alone or with schnauzers in tow), and get on the Peloton. Then I am stretching and cooling down when my boys wake up. It’s a 3 out of every 10 days sort of odd but it is magic. The other thing I try to do is set out my workout/cozy clothes the night before. That way if the day gets started, it’s a bit smoother for me to get ready and jump into mom mode.
Acupuncture works to support your own balance and sleep hygiene is vital to keeping that balance.
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