I suffered from insomnia for years and it nearly drove me crazy. I tried all sorts of things from sleeping potions, to various forms of therapy, to desperate bottles of wine and nothing worked. This is because insomnia is lifestyle induced so the only cure is lifestyle changes. In TCM insomnia is caused by an imbalance of yin and yang. If you live in a way that creates a healthy balance of yin and yang, energy spikes or hyperactivity will immediately be controlled and balanced by yin. If your lifestyle is all ‘go, go, go’ it builds excess yang, endless spikes and sleep is beyond your control. This was me, I used to finish work at 9.30 pm, eat late when I got home and by the time my head hit the pillow I was exhausted. But every night without fail my mind would then launch into overdrive. It was yang fest.
The separation of yin and yang is at the core of insomnia; anything that will rise the yang and weaken the yin will keep you awake. If you want 7 to 8 hours of quality uninterrupted sleep you need to nourish yin. Insomnia has become an epidemic because so many common lifestyle habits rise yang and deplete yin: always rushing, constant pressure and stress; ongoing anger, frustration, anxieties and bottled up resentment; over-commitment, excessive decision-making under pressure; alcohol, drugs or medications; over stimulation by digital devices, lack of relaxation; the impact of violent movies and computer games on the mind (these disrupt yin); overexertion in the evening, constantly skipping breakfast; rushing lunch; too much coffee; ‘explosive’ pre-workout supplements; a sedentary lifestyle (prolonged stooping over desk), poor breathing habits and watching TV for hours every day.
There is nothing wrong with these things, of course, you don’t give them up you reschedule them, and add in some activities that nourish yin so the yang stuff won’t keep you awake. The chi-cycle lifestyle outlined in my book Clock On To Health is a guide to when to do what so that you can sleep. It aligns you with the natural flow and constantly balances yin and yang throughout the day. You treat insomnia by nourishing yin so definitely add Chinese herbal formulas because we can’t all follow the chi-cycle every day when a lot of factors are beyond our control. If you want to find out the most effective products and lifestyle changes for sleep, that fit in with your lifestyle, book in for a holistic lifestyle consultation.