How is sleep understood in Chinese Medicine?

Today, people lead busy lives under stress and pressure.

Almost everyone has experienced insomnia at one point or another.
Besides taking sleep aids, which only treats the problem symptomatically, there is another way: Chinese Medicine treats the root of the problem by
focusing treatment on the underlying constitutional imbalances.
This is the best way to treat insomnia.

How is Sleep Understood in Chinese Medicine? In ancient Chinese there is a saying,”work at sunrise and rest at sunset”.
What this saying implies is that human activities should echo the patterns of nature.
This is because the human body follows the same patterns.
When the sun rises, the energy and blood in our bodies move from the organs in the interior to the channels
of the extremities in the exterior and stays there during the day.
This is the time we should work.
In the evening, when the sun sets, the energy and blood in our bodies move inwardly, returning from the channels to organs.
This is the time we should rest.

What do We Need to Pay Attention to for Healthy Sleep Patterns?

First, the most important is to be asleep by 11pm.
This is because from 11pm to 3am is the Gallbladder and Liver channels’ time in the 12 hour meridian clock.
If these organs don’t get proper rest during this time, they will not be able to metabolize toxins properly and the person will feel tired and sluggish the next day.
Next, do not oversleep during the day.
If you need to take a nap during the day – make sure it will be not more than half hour.
Third, soaking one’s feet with warm, salty water
before bed helps energy and blood circulation return to the organs and can have the effect of improving communication between the kidneys and heart. This quiets the mind, warms and relaxes the body, aids falling asleep, and improves the quality of sleep.
Lastly, do not eat too late or too much at night.
If one tries to sleep when her stomach is still bloated from a big meal or late dinner, the body will spend the night digesting the food and sleeping will be difficult.
In Chinese it is said, “when the stomach is distressed, sleep is disturbed”. (Yang Jun-kui /Golden Flower News, Spring 2011).

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