A recent study by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation showed that 30% of the British population suffer from sleep deprivation, while in the US, the national average sits more at around 35%. For some people it is not being able to go to sleep, while for many others the challenge is waking up during the night and finding themselves unable to go back to sleep.
Either of these challenges can leave you feeling fatigued and struggling during the day, often affecting mental clarity and physical dexterity. In this blog we’ll explore ways in which working with energy can help.
You can struggle to sleep for many reasons, such as stress, hormone imbalance, allergies, digestion, busy brain, or from having stimulants in the whole-body system, such as caffeine or sugar, that mean that body is unable to drop down into sleep.
When you are experiencing stress your yang protective system, Triple Warmer, becomes hyper alert. This moves you into fight/flight/freeze which in turn activates the adrenal glands to produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is a wonderful hormone, designed to enable you to run or fight and as such it triggers a vast response of chemical reactions within the body that boost your energy and alertness. Cortisol helps to keep you wide awake and focused on the task at hand by raising your blood sugar and blood pressure and suppressing less critical bodily functions like your digestive and immune systems. This is all great if you are running a race or dealing with a crisis, but not so much if you are actually trying to sleep!
Within the circadian rhythm of 24 hours, each meridian comes into a two hour period of supremacy; it is the meridian that is most energised in the entire meridian system. Triple Warmer comes into its strength at 9pm until 11pm. In previous times, when we didn’t have the luxury of artificially lit rooms to extend out daylight hours, we would either have been asleep by this time, or at least asleep by the time that Triple Warmer moved over to give Gallbladder (11pm-1am) its role in the horary cycle. And here is the kicker; if you are still awake by 11pm, Triple Warmer decides that actually things are out of balance and it starts producing more adrenaline. This interrupts the entire hormonal cycle whereby serotonin production is sacrificed for adrenaline production. This will be all too familiar for those of you who get your second wind at around 9pm.
So, if being asleep before 11pm is too much for you to consider then at least be in a relaxed mode (yoga/reading/meditating/doing energy exercises).
Also, it's best not to take any stimulants such as caffeine or sugar prior to bedtime. It may be that feel you are able to have that cup of tea or slice of chocolate cake after dinner, but it may be that you would be better off switching to enjoying that after lunch instead to give your body time to process the effects of the stimulants. Many times I had clients who felt that their evening cup of tea and dessert were nothing to do with not being able to sleep well, but when they experimented with not having them after dinner then they were able to sleep with ease. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have that tea/coffee or sugar, but that you can instead work with your own whole-body system to be able to absorb those stimulants well before you are asking your body to move into sleep.
Energy exercises for a good night's sleep
If you want a deeper understanding about how to sleep deeply and restoratively, so you can feel healthy, vibrant and joyful through your days, join me for my online class - The Sleep Solution.
In this 90 minute class:
Learn techniques that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep so you can restore your health and vitality during the night
Understand how your hormones (including stress hormones) impact sleep
Learn why your energy system is fundamental for sleep
Be empowered to create a unique sleep routine to suit your nightly needs
Sign up here
I hope to see you there
With love, Prune