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  • Writer's picturePatty McDuffey

To Sleep is Divine

Just ask a cat. They're professionals!

I treat many different conditions in my practice, but the lack of quality sleep is one of the most common complaints either in and of itself or secondary to another complaint. We live in an over-stimulated society that makes it challenging to successfully find and commit to the time needed to allow our bodies, minds, and hearts to rest. Thankfully, in the last 10 years or so, it’s become more acceptable and encouraged to take a mental-health day off work, to nap, to go to bed early, to meditate, and have a self-care practice. That’s progress! I think it would be amazing if we, as a society, could reach a point where we learned to value calmer, less-stimulating environments with more time to nourish and enjoy ourselves on the daily so we don’t have to take so many mental-health days or have self-care routines that can start to feel like a full-time job. But in the meantime…

Generally speaking, we're aiming for about 8 hours of sleep per night. Some people need a little less, many need more. We're all unique! Sleep disturbances can show up in a variety of ways. Some of the most common sleep complaints I encounter are challenges falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping shallowly, waking easily once asleep, and/or restless sleep, resulting in too few hours of quality rest. I’m sure most of us can relate to all of these variations of insomnia from one point or another. It’s not pleasant! When these sleep abnormalities become chronic, they can really wreak havoc in our lives. It often leads to drinking too much caffeine and/or sugar, or possibly even seeking out stimulating environments that result in a release of adrenaline that make us feel good in the short run, but leaves us depleted and tired in the long run.

If you’re struggling to sleep well, try the following to see if you are able to start to shift the pattern:

  1. Meditation App: If you haven’t tried Insight Timer (Calm and Headspace are also good alternatives), I’d suggest downloading the app on your phone or tablet. You’ll find innumerable guided meditations, many specifically for sleep, calming music, recordings of singing bowls, etc. Find a couple that you like. About 30 minutes before you’d like to be asleep, play the recording. I’ve found this at times to be incredibly helpful to calm an overly-stimulated mind and prepare for sleep as well as guide in processing and integrating any challenging thoughts or emotions that are at the forefront of my mind. The goal is to eventually process and integrate during the day so that sleep can arrive at night. It’s a process. I get it.

  2. Having good sleep hygiene is important. At least an hour before bed, turn off all screens, dim the lights, maybe light some candles, read something calming (not the news!). Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep can be very helpful, signaling to your body that it’s time to rest while allowing your nervous system to down-regulate. In Chinese theory terms, rest and sleep is the yin to movement’s yang. Everything exists in relation to something else. Rest is an expression of our humanity just as much as healthy movement.

  3. Enjoy a cup of Sleep Tea. Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals are a couple of brands that may carry this mild, relaxing blend. Not only can the herbs in the tea promote and support a calm nervous system, the warm water creates internal movement of energy, helping the organs to align with your circadian rhythm.

These tips may seem overly simple. In some cases, they are. Consulting the proper provider to help you is key. But in many cases, they are the perfect beginning to rediscovering healthy rest and sleep. These simple behavioral and lifestyle changes signal to our bodies and minds that quality sleep is important. And the more we experience the calming of our minds and bodies, the easier it becomes to feel our connection to something much bigger than ourselves. We can tap into that reality. To me, that idea alone is relaxing. I hope it is for you, too.

If you find this to be a good start, but discover you need more help, I’d love to help you. Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and Hypnosis have been shown to be effective for sleep disturbances, particularly as you begin or continue to embrace deeper levels of transformation and healing. Give me a call or send me an email if you'd like to chat.

Acupuncture effectively moves stagnant energy in the body, thereby re-harmonizing the flow of energy throughout the channels and organs. As the body enters an improved state of balance, all systems become more efficient, including the regulation of sleep.

Chinese medicine is the nourishing component to Acupuncture’s moving effect. Chinese herbs work together synergistically within ancient and classical formulas to calm the nervous system, nourish grounding/rooting body fluids, and anchor rising energy. Herbs can not only gently calm the spirit at bedtime, but work on a more constitutional level the rest of the time to nourish and re-harmonize the underlying causes of sleep disturbances.

Hypnosis, another ancient modality, takes you on a journey into your subconscious mind. Through hypnosis, the nature of your thoughts and emotions and what they are in relation to you becomes clearer while helping you start to rewire your brain to have a different experience. Over the course of a few sessions, the brain’s inherent negativity bias/survival mechanism begins to shift so that you are gradually changing what you are attracted to - in this case, a peaceful night’s sleep. For more info on hypnosis, have a look at this article:

Having difficulty sleeping well can be frustrating at best, unhealthy and dangerous at worst. Reach out for help if you’re struggling to get ahold of the process. I feel quite certain you won’t regret it. I look forward to helping you!


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