In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sleep disorders are often attributed to imbalances in yin and yang energies within the body. Oversleeping is associated with a yang deficiency, whereas insomnia is linked to a yin deficiency, which may be caused by poor circulation, spleen deficiency, or stress. Nightmares, on the other hand, are connected to emotional imbalances or overindulgence in rich foods.
For better sleep, TCM suggests making dietary adjustments, primarily focusing on consuming more 'yin' foods while avoiding 'yang' foods. If you struggle with sleeping, an overactive liver may be the root cause. To ease the burden on your stomach and promote better sleep, it is advised to steer clear of alcohol, caffeine, and yang (heating) foods, which include sweet, pungent, or spicy dishes. Instead, opt for predominantly yin (cooling) foods, often characterized by green or pale colors and a high moisture content. Tofu, cucumber, bananas, watermelon, and green beans are excellent examples of yin foods, while certain foods like pork and fish are considered neutral.
For individuals experiencing sleep issues, specific tea ingredients are recommended in TCM to aid in promoting restful sleep. Chrysanthemum tea, for instance, can help clear excessive yang energy in the liver and soothe the nerves. Combining it with goji berries helps balance its inherent yin properties while nourishing the liver. Another beneficial ingredient is longan fruits, known for its ability to improve circulation. Longan fruit, along with a few red jujubes and a handful of goji berries, can be consumed raw, dried, or steeped as a tea to aid in circulation.
Aligning our sleep patterns with the natural yin and yang rhythms of the universe is essential for harmony. Irregular sleeping hours disrupt the flow of yin and yang within the body, leading to insomnia and hindering restorative sleep. It is advisable to go to bed between 9 pm and 11 pm.
Follow the TCM principles, which indicate that different organs rejuvenate at specific times of the day. During sleep, the gallbladder, responsible for emotions and judgement, and the liver, accountable for circulation and emotional well-being, undergo repair. Sleeping late can deplete the energy reserves of these organs, potentially resulting in impaired judgement and emotional instability.
In TCM, emotional disturbances like anger or frustration are seen as manifestations of excessive liver heat. Emotional turmoil can agitate the body, causing qi (vital energy) stagnation, which interferes with falling asleep. Therefore, calming the mind before sleep is crucial. One effective method is practicing mindfulness meditation in bed. By solely focusing on deep breaths, let go of any unpleasant or worrying thoughts, promoting a tranquil state of mind.
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