Insomnia: why is it hard to fall asleep?

Many people suffer the awful experience of being extremely tired but not being able to fall asleep for a long time.  Some people even say that they’re frightened to go to bed.  We call this symptom “hard to fall asleep”. It can happen to people of all ages.  In this article I’m going to explain the causes and give you some suggestions of how to resolve this symptom and get a better night’s sleep.

1. The Symptoms of “Hard to Fall Asleep”

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Usually the body takes an excessive amount of time to fall asleep.  It can take from 30 minutes up to 3 hours.  The head can be busy with thoughts which are distracting the person from falling asleep.  The next day they’re extremely tired.

2. Causes of “Hard to Fall Asleep”

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that when you’re tired and go to bed, if you’re Yang and Yin can quickly mix up (the Yang part of the body can fully come to the Yin part of the body), then you can easily fall asleep.  In the clinic, many people’s Yin and Yang is out of balance, especially the Liver Yin being less than Yang.  This leaves the Yang unable to fully meet the Yin and onset of sleep takes much longer.

These people may also have the following symptoms: depression, very emotional, stiff neck and shoulders, headache, bloating, sluggish bowel movement, women can suffer PMS or breast fullness before their period, men can experience sexual function disorder.  Now we know “hard to fall asleep” is not only a sleeping issue but an internal organ disorder.

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3. How to balance your food & lifestyle to improve your sleep

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can give great relief for this issue.  I suggest you consult your experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for treatment and in addition to your treatment, I suggest you also pay attention to the following:

i) Suitable outdoor exercise everyday, for at least 30 minutes.  I suggest walking, swimming, yoga or tai chi.  Avoid strong or stimulating exercise or activities for 4 hours before going to bed;

ii) Avoid drinking tea, coffee or caffeinated beverages for 4 hours before going to bed;

iii) Avoid talking about emotional issues for 3 hours before going to bed;

iv) Eat certain amounts of the following foods: celery, carrots, lemon, orange, peppermint tea, green tea (for more diet recommendations, please check my diet therapy articles);

v) You can do 20 minutes of meditation or listening to soft music 2 hours before going to bed;

vi) Re-evaluate your workload and make sure you’re not overdoing it;

vii) If you have personal emotional issues, please see your psychologist;

viii) Soak your feet in a bucket of warm water for 30 minutes – this will help tranquilise your nervous system and calm down your emotions.  You can do this as often as every second day.

I hope these suggestions can help bring you sleep quickly and wake the next morning nice and refreshed.

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