How to Improve Your Sleep, According to an Acupuncturist
A night of 6-8 hours of restorative sleep is everything to us. We've always been passionate about providing people with beautiful, natural products that help to make bedtime more comfortable and relaxing—we've even just released our very own sleepwear range so that you never have to leave the comfort of bed—you can wear it around all day if you want to (we will be). Unfortunately, for various reasons including stress and distracting screens, many people feel restless at night and ultimately, exhausted during the day. We know that our physical body and our mind are intrinsically linked, so we reached out to Lauren Curtain, Women's Health Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner to find out how we can improve the quality of our nightly sleep, according to an expert.
If you were curious as to just how important sleep is to your overall wellbeing, Lauren states that "good quality sleep is the absolute foundation of good health". She elaborates, mentioning that without adequate sleep it's very difficult to maintain "a normal stress response, hormonal balance, digestive health, metabolism and normal functioning of every system in the body". While we're sleeping, Lauren informs us that our bodies get to work to clear out "debris, inflammation and regulate all systems of the body like the nervous system, digestive system, lymphatic system and reproductive system". Getting enough sleep is vital for the elimination of potentially neurotoxic waste products, and prolonged periods of interrupted sleep has been associated with chronic illnesses like dementia. When presented with any physical ailment, Lauren will always assess a patient's sleep pattern and any issues in order to provide them with the best treatment plan going forward.
If you're experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep on the regular, Lauren suggests that working closely with your health practitioner is great for coming up with a specific, targeted plan of action for you. In the meantime, Lauren provided us with her top tips that anyone can implement nightly to improve their chances of achieving a good night's rest.
Move your body everyday
Even a thirty-minute walk outdoors is a great way to get your body moving which can help contribute to more peaceful sleep at night.
Set clear work and rest boundaries
Pick a time in the evening—ideally before dinner—to switch off. Put the phone and laptop away and have a break from electronic screens and blue light. This will allow your melatonin production to increase as normal in the hours preceding bedtime.
Tell your body you're ready for rest
Take your time getting ready for bed, read a chapter of a book, do a simple 5-10 minute guided meditation and focus on deep abdominal breathing. This will help to amplify the relaxation response and your parasympathetic nervous system (known as the rest and digest system).
When patients require further assistance or guidance to get their sleep in check, I recommend weekly acupuncture treatments to gather momentum in their progress. Then they can begin to extend the time between appointments, aiming for a monthly maintenance treatment for a period of time to help stay on track.