Monday, December 12, 2011
Sleep is so incredibly important to our health in ways that we often forget. Good sleep helps us lose weight, improves our creativity, and even lifts our mood. Because the lack of quality sleep is such a common complaint, I would like to offer my top 10 suggestions for insomnia. None of these have any bizarre or undesirable side effects like many of the medications prescribed, and they all help your body get back to doing what it's naturally supposed to do, sleep like a baby:
1. Massage Therapy - on a regular basis if needed. Once a week for 2 months can work wonders to re-train your body into a relaxed state that can be maintained.
2. Meditation - the slow, deep abdominal breathing and gentle calming of the mind quiets the heart and preps the spirit for good sleep.
3. Self Acupressure - first, use your middle and index fingers to rub the area at the bottom and behind your ears. Second, massage your inner wrist crease at the indentation on your pinky side. Third, massage along your shin bone from your inner ankle, up about 4 inches and back down. Last, rub the bottom of your feet with special attention to the area just under the ball of your foot and also the middle of your heel. Spend 1-5 minutes on each of the above areas just before you go to sleep.
4. Essential Oils - Try Lavender, Rose, Vetiver, or Sandalwood. Either use topically by diluting them in a carrier oil or lotion and applying to the above acupressure areas, or diffuse them into the air by adding about 4-5 drops to a bowl next to your bed, then fill with boiling water.
5. QiQong or Yoga Practice - both of these mind-body exercises are excellent to smooth your energy and make you more aware of unhealthy responses to stress you may have. The breathing involved, like in meditation, gives you a different response to that stress.
6. Valerian Tea or Tincture - Valerian is a strongly relaxing herb that can even be used for anxiety attacks. Drink a cup of tea or put several tincture drops in water and drink just before going to bed, but don't use it for more than about 2 months. If too much valerian builds up in your system it can cause anxiety or nervous symptoms instead of relieving them.
7. "Body Like Jello" Relaxation - Go through each bodypart head to foot and focus on it while saying, for example "I feel my right arm. Release and relax. My right arm is so relaxed it feels like jello." Your mind is actually strong enough to evoke this physical response in your body.
8. Chinese Herbs - these formulas are very individual. Consult a professional herbalist or acupuncturist for a formula appropriate for you.
9. Hot Foot Bath - get a home foot bath/spa, fill it up with hot water, add 4 drops of Lavender essential oil, and turn it on. If you have the time, a full body hot bath works great too.
10. Just Turn It Off! - make the decision and follow through with just turning off your TV or computer. It's a choice and you're in charge.
Learn more about these topics from our On-Line Courses. You can study here at our school in Alaska from anywhere in the world!