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We all deal with sleep troubles from time to time, whether due to stress, sickness, or even the seasons. Summer is the height of Yang energy. It’s bright, warm, and high energy. As a result, it may feel harder to settle down at the end of the day and find rest each night. If your rhythm is off and your sleep is disturbed, it can lead to frustrating symptoms and long-term health effects.

Understanding Yin and Yang

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the concept of Yin and Yang is foundational in understanding health and diagnosing and treating illnesses. Good health comes from a balance of Yin (negative, dark, and feminine) and Yang (positive, bright, and masculine).
Yin and Yang energy are interdependent, always in motion, in opposition, and transform into each other. To stay healthy, and in this case, sleep well, your Yin and Yang energy must be in balance.
In TCM, sleep and wake are Yin and Yang to each other. Waking is the result of Yang energy, which is stimulating and warming, rising to the head. Sleep is the result of the Yang energy moving back to the core at the end of the day to be nurtured by the Yin, which is calming and restorative. Depleted Yang energy is nourished when you sleep to be used again once you wake.
When there’s an imbalance between Yin and Yang energies, sleep problems can ensue.

The Effects of Insufficient Sleep

Sleep troubles can be irritating. Tossing and turning all night can have you waking up feeling groggy. While we’ve all experienced days where we’re tired after a rough night of sleep, consistent lack of sleep can lead to long-term health concerns.
Sleep is necessary to keep your body functioning as it should. The average adult requires 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Long-term insufficient sleep can disrupt the function of your central nervous system, the main information channel of your body. Lack of sleep leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t send and process information as it should.

Long-term effects of insufficient sleep include:

How to Improve Sleep

Follow a Sleep Schedule

Your body works in a cycle known as your circadian rhythm. Each morning when the sun rises so does your body temperature. You then release cortisol, which increases your alertness and causes your body to wake up.
When the sun goes down, your melatonin levels rise, and your body temperature lowers, signaling your body to prepare for sleep. Melatonin levels stay elevated throughout the night, encouraging restful sleep.
When you stay up late, sleep late into the morning, or take naps, it can throw off your circadian rhythm and lead to troubles with sleep. Following a consistent sleep schedule can help ensure you get plenty of rest and reinforce your body’s circadian rhythm for better sleep and a balanced body.

Expose your body to the morning sun for increased Vitamin D and melatonin levels

Exposure your body to the morning sun

Step outside and expose your body to the morning sun within an hour of walking. Doing so will tell your brain to stop producing melatonin and, in turn, wakes up the body.

Sunlight also increases your Vitamin D levels, which is involved in melatonin production. So ensuring your Vitamin D levels are healthy will help your body produce enough melatonin at night to help you sleep.

Create a Nighttime Routine

Schedules are important, but routines are what help you stick to your schedule. If you’re working late or tackling your to-do list until it’s time for bed, you’ll have trouble falling asleep.
Your body needs time to wind down and relax so that when your head hits the pillow, you’re ready for sleep and not tossing and turning. Your nighttime routine should begin with the sun goes down. Avoid eating or drinking caffeine or alcohol, and save your workout for the morning or afternoon. Create a calming environment by dimming the lights or diffusing calming essential oils. Curl up with a book in cozy pajamas or relax in the bath with a magnesium bath bomb.
Instead of watching tv or scrolling on your phone, reach for a book or magazine. Your body knows that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep when the sun goes down. If you’re staring at screens, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep is because of the blue light that they emit. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy causing your body to continue to release cortisol.
If you’re watching a movie before bed or scrolling your phone late into the night, you may have trouble falling asleep or even getting tired enough to go to bed.

Melatonin Supplements

Melatonin is the hormone produced by the brain that helps your body relax and encourages restful sleep.

Supplementing with melatonin can help reinforce your circadian rhythm and encourage a deeper, more restful sleep. It can be especially beneficial if you deal with digestive problems, which can lead to poor sleep quality.

Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is a trace mineral naturally occurring in the human body and on the planet. Every cell in your body contains magnesium and needs it to function. It’s involved in processes that help regulate many bodily functions, including restful sleep.

Supplementing with magnesium can help relax the body and promote better sleep, especially if you struggle with anxious thoughts that keep you up at night.

Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture works to bring balance to the body by stimulating the central nervous system and encouraging the flow of Qi and the balancing of the meridians and body-organ systems. For sleep, the systems of the Heart, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, and Liver are often addressed. Acupuncture can help quiet the mind, increase relaxation and decrease stress to promote sleep. The treatment can also help increase the release of natural melatonin in the body to help improve sleep. In doing so, this helps to promote restful sleep and improve overall wellbeing.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy can help improve sleep quality and quantity, as well as reduce stress levels and anxiety. Melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, is released during massage, which can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are also reduced during massage, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Find your balance at Calm San Diego

Calm San Diego is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic with a simple goal: to make the world a calmer, happier place, one person at a time.
Our mission is to help you understand your body better to regain your power. Our integrative treatment and lifestyle plans equip you with the care, guidance, and tools to help you make the most of each new day.
Schedule an appointment with us today, so we can help you create a calm lifestyle that empowers you to live your happiest, healthiest life.

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