Sleep – In the Eyes of Oriental Medicine
The condition Insomnia is becoming more and more common and will continue to be increasingly so as we move away from our cycle that is connected to the sun. This is termed the Horary cycle in Chinese medicine. This cycle, or connection to the daily movements of the sun, trigger many responses in our body, including our hormones through the endocrine glands. This response also affects our nervous system and organ system, which functions optimally around the energy of the sun.
As much as we like freedom, we are conditioned in our body to perform certain things that are regular and naturally occurring. With our hectic daily schedules, we try to change this functioning (such as not going to bed before midnight) and we consequently come across obstacles in the way that the body is working.
It may seem like we can trick the body in the early stages. But nature will always have its say—which is, that we are connected in a very powerful way to the sun and its movement (even when we cannot see it in the sky). Oriental Medicine and Taoist observation had this knowledge thousands of years ago and yet we are still questioning this connection with our skepticism and rush towards…what?.
Our sleep is Number One in the recovery of our system, recovery at a deep level. You just need to observe young children and the amazing turnaround they have when getting the right balance of sleep and timing of going to bed. We, of course, as adults are the same except we have a lot more STUFF to deal with that stops us getting to bed at the right time to recover enough to function optimally. Add to this a generation of poor habits (creating deeper problems) and confusing messages given out by the media and popular magazines around health.
To counter this, we need to come back again to the principles of health and life. These principles are what hold Oriental Medicine together and create a solid foundation that we need to observe and, wherever possible, stick with. With the speed of life, and particularly what is being asked of us, everyday sleep is of even more importance.
Helpful ways to connect us back to the restoration of sleep:
- Start to understand the morning and afternoon as Yang moving toward Yin.
- Encourage yourself to engage in more Yin ways later in the day rather than revving your energy up with Yang activity or adrenal-pumping excitement.
- Don’t eat sweet things late at night or have coffee/tea.
- Create a routine in your life that is geared toward you getting to bed before 11 pm.
- Play relaxation music or mediation CDs to encourage an altered state that quiets your mind’s chatter (rubbish).
- Visualise or pray about what you want from deep and restful sleep.
- Keep these habits for at least 21 days and the body intelligence does the rest by reconnecting you back to nature.