Sleep Rhythms and Insmonia

Chinese Herbal Therapy for Insomnia

We have a Chinese saying, “Work with Sunrise and Rest with Sunset.” Human activities should follow the sun. Rest and sleep are a very natural state of physiology. From TCM’s perspective, day is yang and night is yin which guide our body’s activities and rest. Hence, waking up is yang and sleep is yin. Insomnia can mean not getting enough sleep, not spending enough time in deep sleep, having trouble getting to sleep, or waking up and not being able to fall back to sleep. Having too many dreams during sleep is another symptom of insomnia according to TCM, as it affects the quality of sleep. Insomnia can become quite problematic if one cannot sleep well the whole night through for a long period of time, affecting work, school, learning, life and health.

Falling asleep happens when the yang energy (which drives the external activities) turns into yin energy (which leads all internal organs to rest and rejuvenate). If the internal organs are not in balance (becoming weak or overly taxed), the yang energy will not be able to process and change to yin energy, leading to insomnia.

There are many factors that cause insomnia. From TCM’s perspective, eating, drinking, emotion, stress, worry, illness, and aging can all affect the balance of yin and yang in the system and cause anxiety and restlessness. Thyroid issues and menopause will affect the sleep as well.

Pathology

From TCM’S perspective, insomnia can cause multiple organs to have problems, mainly the heart and liver, as well as the spleen, kidneys and gallbladder.

Examples

Liver getting stagnated and turning into excess yang energy; Deficiency of Heart with Spleen both getting weak; Deficiency of Heart with Gallbladder; Yin weak and Yang excess.

TCM Treatment

TCM practitioners will first find out the root of a problem in order to treat the root. Hence the patient needs to be aware their lifestyle and adjust gradually, at the same time, taking Chinese herbs to support the system. From TCM’s perspective, the heart controls the mind and the emotions. The main goal is to regulate the heart and calm the mind and emotions by using herbs, acupuncture and massage therapies.

Chinese Medicinal Recipes

Lotus Seed and Lily Soup

Can help with: Neurasthenia, Palpitation, Insomnia, Recovery after sickness

Lotus seed tastes sweet and sour. It is neutral and nourishes the heart while strengthen the kidneys and spleen. Lily tastes sweet and slightly bitter. It is neutral and goes to heart and lung meridians. It moisturizes the lungs and stops coughing, nourishes yin energy and gets rid of heat, clears the heart and calms the mind.

Ingredients & Instructions: 10g Dried lotus seed, 15g Dried lily, boil them in a pot with 500ml water, turn off the heat and leave with lid closed for 15 to 20 minutes.

Licorice, Wheat & Red Date Soup

Can help with: Hysteria, Neurasthenia, Insomnia and Night sweats

This recipe can nourish the heart, calm the mind, and strengthen the spleen and stomach.

Ingredients & Instructions: Cook 10g licorice, 30g wheat, and 5 dates with 2 bowls of water until it becomes 1 bowl of liquid.

Disperse Stagnated Liver and Elevate Depression Tea

Can help with: People with stagnated liver qi

Ingredients & Instructions: 5 pieces of Rose & 3g Albizia flower. Steep them in hot water for 5 minutes before drinking.

Prunella Vulgaris with Pork Meat Soup

Can help with: People with stagnated liver qi

Ingredients & Instructions: 15g Prunella vulgaris, 2 pieces Jujube dates, & 100g Pork meat; boil them in a pot with 500ml water and turn off the heat with lid closed for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preventing Insomnia

Develop a routine for getting up and going to bed. Create a good environment to support sleep in the bedroom. Do some outdoor activities or exercises during the day.

Avoid and drink less coffee and tea especially for people suffering with insomnia already. Tea and coffee will make the body feel a little tense and build up yang energy at night, keeping the body awake.

People with sleeping problem are recommended to do cardio exercises during the day to help with sleep at night. However, avoid intense exercises after sunset as it will lead to body tension and affect sleep.

Don’t go to bed with an empty or full stomach, and especially avoid eating oily and heavy foods before going to bed. 

Do you want to book a Traditional Chinese Medicine consultation?

Tel: +852 2530 3315
E-mail: appt@balancehealth.com.hk

 

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