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IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY BY CARING FOR THIS GREEN ORGAN (WFH SERIES 3)

Others, Wellness, Work From Home

By XIAO YAN

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, more and more employees are working from home. Many people enjoy avoiding the hassle of getting up early to catch the train, thus saving a significant amount of commute time and allowing themselves to sleep more. “The most crucial aspect of life is sleep. One night of sleep is equivalent to a hundred days of vitality (睡觉为摄生之首,一晚上没有睡,百日补没有返来).” For ladies, sleep is the most natural source of beauty. So, how can we improve our sleep quality to stay radiant and look young?

 

 

Improve sleep quality by sleeping on time

Lao Zi said that “To achieve balance, one must have equal Yin and Yang (“一阴一阳谓之道”)”. In other words, we need both an inflow and outflow of energy, to be whole. Sleep is the inflow, where we regenerate and absorb energy; while working or studying is the outflow of energy energy. Both processes are vital, and one cannot be whole without performing both. 

 

 

When is the best time to go to sleep?

In TCM, the best sleep time is between 9 to 11pm (Hai hour “亥时”). The best time to wake up is between 3-5 am (the end of the Yin Hour ”寅时“). In other words, it is most ideal to go to bed at 21 o’clock in the evening and get up at 5 o’clock in the morning. After a few repetitions, you will have formed a good habit and will be able to improve your sleep quality.

 

 

What happens when we sleep?

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the triple energizer (San‘jiao ”三焦“) is most active during 9 to 11pm (the Hàishí period), and the Sanjiao meridian (San’jiao’jing “三焦经”)will disseminate energy throughout the rest of the body. TCM believes that if you are consistently asleep during this hour, the Sanjiao will ensure that you will have no major illnesses in your life.

 

 

What is the gallbladder important for?

Huangdi Neijing (“黄帝内经”), literally translated as the Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor (aka the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for two millenia) says: “Qi is fundamental for the gallbladder.” It also says: “Eleven out of the twelve core organs in TCM depends on the health of the gallbladder.” (The twelfth organ being the gallbladder itself). 

 

The gallbladder is responsible for the rest of the internal organs’ health and a healthy immune system

Basically, the qi of the human body’s internal organs depends on the growth of the gallbladder. If the gallbladder develops healthily, the qi and blood of the internal organs will be equally healthy and you will have a strong immune system. The gall bladder meridian is the most active from 11p.m. to 1 a.m. If you are asleep during this hour, you can cultivate and grow your gallbladder health, otherwise it will just deteriorate. 

 

What happens if the gallbladder is weak?

If there is a deficiency of the gallbladder energy, your eyesight will weaken, and your muscle growth will also suffer, leading to eyesight fatigue and waist and knee joint aches. 

 

The liver and gallbladder organs are primarily green, and it is believed that when one doesn’t sleep by 12 midnight (Zishi “之时“) one’s facial complexion might turn pale green, reflecting the internal organ’s color. Some even say that if one doesn’t sleep by Choushi (1 am), their facial complexion will be greenish-black.

 

 

How to fall asleep quickly? Some tips to sleep better.

 

Think less before sleeping

Chinese medicine believes that to improve sleep quality and have the best sleep ever: “Treat your body as nothing, or like sugar in water, first dissolve the big toe, then the other toes, then the feet, calves, and thighs,, and finally nothing, lastly falling asleep naturally.” Chinese medicine emphasizes “the soul rests first, then the eyes.” Relax first when sleeping so that you can sleep quickly, but if you cannot, do not force yourself to fall asleep when you can’t.

 

Natural ways to sleep through the night

During the day, increase your exposure to bright light. In the evening, limit your exposure to blue light.

 

 

How to improve sleep by waking up early in the morning

As far as the body is concerned, getting up early is good for the body’s metabolism. On one hand, the body can begin metabolising earlier, and excrete more waste materials from the body. If you wake up too late, the large intestine and digestive system will not be fully activated, and the excretion function will not be able to fully function, which is harmful to the human body.

 

Modern science also believes that the digestive and absorption function of the human body is most active from 7 to 9 a.m., which is the best time to absorb nutrients. Therefore, the saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

 

 

Exercises to improve the quality of sleep

 

1. Deep muscle relaxation

① Clench your fists; ② Lift your shoulders and gradually close your ears ③ Tighten the muscles of the forehead ④ Tighten the muscles of the abdomen ⑤ Stretch your legs forward with your toes facing up

 

2. Breathe at a constant rate

Lie on your back with one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen, inhale slowly through your nose. When you inhale, your abdomen will slowly retract. Slowly inhale and exhale, and imagine your belly as an inflated balloon. Repeat as many times as necessary and make sure to breathe slowly.

 

3. Try a comfortable sleeping position

 “Gui Xi Mian” means that the upper body slightly covers the chest when sleeping; the right leg is slightly bent down, the left leg is curled up, and the knee is on the bed; the left foot is placed in front of the right leg, the height is comfortable; the right elbow is bent at an obtuse angle , The palm is up on the chest, the left arm is naturally placed on the side, and the palm is down.

 

4. Stretch before going to sleep

 “Han Yuan Mian”, that is, like a monkey in the cold, the biggest advantage of the posture of curling up is that it can naturally stretch the back and relax the spine joints and muscles and ligaments. In the evening before going to bed or in the morning when you get up, keeping your knees lying on your knees for 2 to 3 minutes will help relieve symptoms such as chronic low back pain.

 

 

Improve your sleep to improve your life

Sleep is the process of the human body’s self-repair. The human body is in the state of sleep when hormone secretion is strongest. Sufficient sleep is the prerequisite for a good mental outlook. Adequacy of sleep has a direct impact on a person’s mental state and appearance. Insufficient sleep will weaken the body’s ability to resist pathogens, cause abnormal blood circulation in the body, damage skin health, and make the skin surface capillary metabolism imbalance. If this continues, the skin will be dull, lacks in energy, and ages quickly. Besides, in the long run, your biological clock would be disrupted and you would no longer fall asleep easily.

 

 

Seeking a doctor’s advice

However, if these small methods do not improve your sleep well, you may need to consult a professional doctor so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

 

 

About the author

XIAO YAN

Therapist 治疗师

The Star Vista

Medical Assistant

The Star Vista
Xiao Yan

English: Fluent

Chinese: Fluent

Educational Background: Master's Degree in Hubei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine

教育背景:湖北中医药大学硕士毕业

  • Specialities: Acupoint Tuina, Pain management, Moxibustion
  • Xiao Yan graduated from the Hubei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and especially skilled in pain treatment and management. She is able to provide relief to the areas like head, face, neck and shoulder and is also adept in Moxibustion and Acupoint Tuina.
  • 专治:穴位推拿, 全身推拿治疗,灸法治疗

Xiao Yan毕业于湖北中医药大学,尤其擅长痛症管理。能运用不同的推拿手法缓解患者头、面、颈、肩部的不适。她对艾灸治疗也有经验,擅长运用督脉灸、八髎灸和脐灸治疗各种虚寒性疾病,如宫寒,慢性腹泻,畏寒等。