By: Dee Gorski, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
A tree cannot stand, much less thrive, without solid roots. In its pushing through the soil, reaching for the sun, a sprout balances by digging in, gripping the Earth. As it grows, those roots don’t vanish, or become moot, but become the very basis for its survival. If you feel skeptical about that claim, think about how many trees can be toppled by storms only to grow fresh stalks from the torn stump left behind. To be sure, the sun and wind play a vital part in the trees life, the yang energy (or heavenly qi) feeding it from above, but it is the foundation of yin that keeps it grounded in a storm and alive through the cold winter. In our lives it is sleep that plays that role for us.
Sleep is a vital portion of our health. Our modern view is that sleep should account for a third of your life to maintain a healthy balance… I know, that sounds like a lot but 8 out of 24 hours is one third of each day. It is not only a significant amount of time, but of significant importance to our stability and health. We can usually feel the effects of not getting enough sleep; in our minds, our emotions, in our bodies. Sleep is when we repair.
In the view of Chinese Medicine, sleep is when the spirit and defensive qi (wei qi, pronounced “way chee”) condenses inward, settles in the heart and directs the healing of the body as a whole (mind, body and spirit.) Classically this process is thought to trigger around sunset, as the world around us enters into a cooler, yin phase. As we enter into our own personal yin phase, there are a number of factors that can disrupt or even displace this time for us. This shows up as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, waking unrested, and/or having restless active dreaming. Any of these problems can slowly wear a person down and create bigger problems, which is why it is so important to focus on the regenerative powers of rest. It is the foundation, the roots, of your good health.
If you are having problems with sleep there are many tools to help sleep patterns stabilize, many are easy to find or just generally known (I bet you're thinking of one or two already!) While many of these options can seem simple, not all of them are helpful to everyone's situation, and some can even develop long term problems. I hope you can join me for my free talk about sleep supports on Tuesday, February 18th at 7:00 pm, to dive deeper into this important topic. CLICK HERE to register.