Easy Solutions for Insomnia
By Denise Neumark-Reimer, L.Ac.
Insomnia is one of the most troublesome health complaints that someone can have. For most people, a lack of sleep leads to elevated
stress levels, anxiety, perceptual problems, anger management issues, concentration difficulties, and a whole host of other issues.
Because insomnia is so common, I think it might be useful to talk about insomnia from an Oriental medical perspective. From my experience, insomnia is caused
by the nervous system being over-stimulated and not having enough breathing space to be able to calm down to allow sleep to happen.
Oriental medicine calls this hyperactive Yang, or Heat Rising to Disturb the Mind. So how can you fix this in real time?
Good sleep habits are the way out of this dilemma. I say habits because in our over-busy and stimulating world we need to
regularly carve out the quiet time our nervous system will need to be able to sleep.
Here is a list of good sleep habits, that when practiced will bring down that rising heat and settle your Yang:
1. Leave 2 hours before bed for quiet activity - like soul-supporting reading, art, soft music, even non-violent TV can be soothing.
2. Stay off the computer before bed. The flickering of the LEDs will jack-up your nervous system.
3. Eat easy foods for a bedtime snack. By easy I mean easy to digest. Fruit can have too much sugar for some people and might be better off during the earlier hours. Some good foods are yogurt, whole grains, cooked veggies, etc.
4. Do 15 minutes of slow stretching and deep breathing before bed.
5. Don't get in upsetting conversations before sleep.
6. Stop working for 1 hour before bed.
Bonus items that will help you relax your nervous system:
1. Massage your inner ears with Lavender essential oil - 1 drop to each ear and massage all the little crevasses in counter-clockwise circles. Place another drop on your palms and rub together. Lavender is one of the most soothing of all the essential oils.
2. Spirit-calming breathing: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and knees unlocked. Touching your thumb and forefinger together in front of your chest, take a deep and slow breath while expanding your arms up and out. Let your arms expand like a butterfly's wings on the in-breath and return to the
center of your chest on the out-breath. Nice and slow, each out-breath can be the moment to let go of any troubling thoughts.
3. Sleeptime Tea by Traditional Medicinals can also be very soothing.
Remember, you learned to not sleep and it is in your power to retrain your nervous system to welcome sleep.
About the Author:
A neighborhood family medical practice. Owner, Denise Neumark-Reimer has
worked as a practitioner, teacher and clinical supervisor of Acupuncture,
Oriental Medicine, and Herbology since 1988. She has been on the faculty at
Emperorıs College, Samra University and Yo-San University, including 2 years
serving as Academic Dean of Emperorıs College and Samra University. She
received her Reiki Master certification in 1997 and has taught all 3 levels
of Reiki initiation. Denise has also developed a series of public classes
grounded in Traditional Oriental Medicine and covering a diversity of such
as meditation, herbology, personal energy and stress management, therapeutic
exercise and Reiki hands-on healing techniques. Denise focuses her practice
on family medicine that is holistic but practical?taking the best of eastern
and western thought and creating personalized healthcare plans for each of