When it comes to TCM, we are almost always somehow referring to the balance between our body’s energy and fluids. In TCM, there are various causes of insomnia, and they are mostly caused by lack of fluids, blood or energy. Different patterns may be due to different reasons:
If you have a hard time falling asleep ~> you are probably Blood deficient.
If you can fall asleep but you wake up a couple of times during the night for no reason or are experiencing lots of dreams or nightmares during the night time and/or tend to have hot hands, feet, soles and chest ~> you are probably Yin (fluid) deficient.
If you wake up between 3-5 AM and can’t fall back to sleep ~> you are probably Gallbladder (Qi) deficient. This means that the Qi in your Gallbladder channel is lower than normal.
If you wake up multiple times throughout the night for urination ~> you probably have kidney deficiency.
TCM also has the concept of an “organ clock” which shows that during the 24 hours in a day, there are specific times that the Qi flow is super high in one channel - and the body is focused towards regulating and bringing balance to that organ and its relevant channel. Often times, a channel or organ problem during the night will keep you awake during the exact time period of whichever specific affected organ or channel.
If you have insomnia you can note the pattern you are experiencing and seek out the help of a TCM practitioner to give you a customized healing treatment plan. With that said, here are some general tips to help with insomnia on the whole:
Caffeine is generally not suggested in TCM (which is a topic for a whole other blog post - stay tuned!) however, we understand that some of you simply can only get through certain workdays without that afternoon latte. Just try your best to completely omit caffeine from your diet after 1p.m.
Follow your evening body clock diagram, the gallbladder is hard at work from 11p.m. to 1a.m. The gallbladder’s work is to aid in digestion - and that includes food as well as emotional processing. To ensure the highest efficiency for processing your emotions, hit the lights off before 11p.m.
Try massaging the YINTANG point to relax your body and sleep better. It’s located between the eyebrows, the “third eye” point.
Try these steps and keep us posted! If things don’t get better, visit a TCM practitioner or Acupuncturist for a personalized treatment.