Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: What can I do to get better sleep?

A: Here are a few of my favorite tips to ensure the best possible zzz’s:

From Albert Vaca, L.Ac

1. Set a timer for one hour before bedtime—every night! Let this be your reminder to turn off the television, turn down the lights and start getting yourself ready for a restful night of sleep. Put your phone or tablet away too and cover any blue lights from electronic devices that might tell your body to wake up, not settle down, and inhibit melatonin, a hormone that helps trigger sleep. You’re better off with reading a book before it’s time for “lights out.”

2. Take a warm bath before bed with magnesium or epsom salts. Add in an essential oil such as lavender to calm the senses, decrease cortisol and reduce inflammation.

3. Meditate, meditate, meditate! Sit quietly, watch your breath, and smile at the thoughts that come in, instead of having them take you some- where else or resisting them. Guided meditations can be great, too. Find what works for you.

From Angela Soeon Park, L.Ac

4. Give yourself an acupressure massage. An acupressure point called anmian, which translates to “peaceful sleep,” is used to treat insomnia. Locate the point behind your ear, between the ear and the base of the skull, where there’s a slight depression next to a bone called the mastoid process. Place your finger on this depression and apply pressure in a circling motion to massage it. After circling 100 times, you should feel more relaxed and ready to sleep.

5. Soak your feet in warm water. Massaging your lower legs and feet encourages the blood to flow away from an overstimulated brain. So too does a foot soak. Find a plastic tub with space for both feet and fill it with warm water. Fresh or powdered ginger can reinforce the body’s warming energy, so add some to the tub if you tend to have cold extremities Remove your feet from the water once you start to feel a slight sweat, which indicates that the body’s stagnant energy channels are no longer blocked.

6. Practice deep abdominal breathing in bed. From the TCM perspective, when we feel anger or frustration we’re experiencing an outburst of heat in the liver. Emotional turmoil agitates the body and causes chi to stagnate, which can impair the body’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. That’s why it’s important to calm your mind before going to sleep. Calm your mind and body with deep abdominal breathing. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply into the lower abdomen, relinquishing any unpleasant or worrying thoughts. Then your mind and body will be ready for a good night’s sleep

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Albert Vaca, L.Ac and Angela Soeon Park, L.Ac


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November 2019

Volume 17, Number 11

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