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Tried Everything & Still Can't Sleep? Add This To Your Bedtime Routine

Photo by Trinette Reed
February 5, 2018

Paige Bourassa is a licensed acupuncturist with a thriving practice in the heart of New York City. Paige has joined mbg to create a new class that gives you the tools you need to relieve pain with acupressure, a simple technique that you can do sitting at your desk or lying down at home. Sign up here for her exclusive, live webinar on February 13, to get your personal acupressure questions answered! 

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At some point in our lives, chances are most of us will suffer from some sort of disordered sleep. Whether it’s situational like getting used to the sounds of a new living space, or you’ve had chronic insomnia for years, sleep disorders in adults are surprisingly common. In fact, a reported 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

In many cases, sleep disorders are temporary, lasting from a couple of days to a few weeks. These bouts of sleep disruption can be caused by stress or tension and typically get better with time and solid stress management. On the other hand, chronic sleep disorders can interfere with your daily life and health. If you continue to be deficient in good-quality sleep, it will start to seep in and affect daily energy levels, emotional balance, and cognitive function.

One in six Americans is diagnosed with a sleep disorder, which can range from night terrors and insomnia to sleep apnea and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Most of these cases can be helped by relaxation techniques, as a lot of the battle against sleeplessness has to do with calming the mind. Seeing an acupuncturist and getting the right Chinese medicine diagnosis for your sleep disorder is ideal as there are so many different reasons someone may be experiencing sleeplessness. In the meantime, using acupressure and other alternative techniques, you can improve the quality of your own sleep—alleviating emotional stress, fear, anger, grief, and pain all help. Here are three acupressure points targeted to help improve your sleep:

1. Calm anxiety with Heart 7.

Heart 7 is commonly used in acupressure for sleep disorders treatment. Stimulating this point helps in relieving insomnia caused by over-excitement, emotional issues, anxiety, and cold sweat. It also relieves cardiac pain, palpitations, chest pain, epilepsy, and irritability.

Locate this point: This point is called "the Spirit Gate," and it is located on the inner side of the wrist crease in line with the little finger. It can be activated by placing the thumb of the right hand on the wrist crease of the left hand and pressing the hollow in the crease while breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth for one minute. Then, switch sides.

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2. Move stagnant energy with Kidney 6.

Kidney 6 is an incredibly effective acupressure point to promote restful sleep. Stimulating this point helps in relieving insomnia, hypertension, and anxiety. This point is also used for dry and sore throat, irregular menstruation, eye problems, constipation, and epilepsy.

Locate this point: This point is called "Shining Sea," and it is located right on the inside of your ankle bone, in a tender spot about an inch below the bone. Press the points on both feet, one with each finger for 1 minute while breathing deeply.

3. Stroke your third eye, Yin tang, to relax.

Yin tang is an extra point on the Chinese acupuncture meridians and is one of the best acupressure points for sleep disorders because it calms the mind; slows thinking; and stimulates deep, restful sleep. Yin tang relaxes the central nervous system and therefore has a profound effect on sleep disorders as well as headaches, sinusitis, nosebleeds, nasal congestion, stress, and anxiety.

Locate this point: Its location is on the forehead midway between the medial ends of the two eyebrows, right where your third eye is. Apply gentle pressure for one minute while keeping your eyes closed and breathing deeply.

Other helpful alternative therapies for sleep are to limit caffeine intake after 12 p.m., limit food intake after 7 p.m. and try to get settled into bed early. Also having a double dose of chamomile or Sleepytime tea an hour before bed works wonders. Steep two tea bags in 8 ounces of water for 10 minutes or until lukewarm, then sip on that before bed. Drinking too much tea may wake you up to use the bathroom, so limit the liquids. Using herbal medicine is also highly effective for treating sleep disorders, so if you are curious, see your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist and get some nourishing herbs in your body so you can catch some zzz’s!

Want more from Bourassa? Here's how to use acupressure to calm your allergies and clear your brain fog.

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Paige Bourassa, DACM, L.Ac., RHN
Paige Bourassa, DACM, L.Ac., RHN

Dr. Paige Bourassa is the founder of Shen Medicine, an Acupuncture wellness practice in the heart of New York City and Shen Medicine South, in Nashville Tennessee.

Paige grew up in Vancouver, Canada and became passionate about Alternative Medicine after having several remarkable experiences with it at a young age. After High School she enrolled in Canada’s first Holistic Nutrition program at the Canadian College of Natural Nutrition and graduated a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. From there she traveled extensively through Asia where her passion blossomed into studies as she began taking an interest in Ayurveda, an ancient East Indian medicine. After living in India for several months she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to pursue her Ayurvedic training further studying alongside the famous Dr. Vasant Lad at his Ayurvedic Institute. Following Ayurveda, Paige pursued a Psychology degree at the University of Colorado and began to assimilate what she had learned of Eastern Medicine with Western Psychology. Understanding that disease in the body is most often attributed to disharmony within the psyche/emotions, a concept called “Psychosomatic Illness”, Paige was drawn to the integrative philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine where everything is believed to be interconnected. After falling in love with the TCM approach to health science, she went on to complete a 4-year Masters of Science degree as well as a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Health and Science.

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