Sleep & Destressing for Better Long Term Health


Holistic Living Blog by

Rachelle Tetreault, DAOM, L,Ac


The essence of good sleep should be the foundation of our health priorities. In this day and age, we all are guilty of some form of multi-tasking, both mental and physical daily task driven days, and a combination of social media full of havoc and stressors. Our priority for good mental and physical health need to be to pace ourselves yet set healthy goals and practical deadlines without jeopardizing our state of health. Sleep is precious and this process rejuvenates our entire body. Blood is produced more fully, hormones are released, the liver full detoxifies, and the mind rests during our sleep.

One-third of our life is devoted specifically to good sleep. This calls for a sacred space for this valuable part of our life. This renewing of both body and mind is worthy of our time to ensure that it stays a place of calm and tranquility. It should be a room away from the main entrance. The decoration should evoke a serene response that invites both rest and relaxation. It should be dimly lit with soft lighting. Colors such as blue, green, and gray can be calming. This should be a place free of positive ions such as electronics devices. These ions can actually induce agitation and irritability.

Life, in general, should not have chronic stressors which pull us in all different directions. Chronic stress which is linked to almost every disease and is known to increase inflammatory cytokines throughout the body. These inflammatory cytokines are linked to a multitude of illnesses over time if not handled at some point. Having a hard time to relax can eventually turn in to not being able to relax. This may manifest later into hypertension, arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, coronary arterial disease, muscle stiffness, and a compromised immune system. Digestive problems are a major issue secondary to chronic stress. These may include acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, and even peptic ulcer disease. It is imperative for a long, healthy life to be able to fully relax both mind and body to a harmonized state of being.

There are many auricular or ear points that are used for calming the nervous system specific to help regulate the way we respond to stress. There are points specific to improve the sleep as well as tranquilize the mind. For improving depression, nervousness, and anxiety point selection is often shenmen, subcortex, heart, liver, and acu-points often located on the ear. In Eastern Medicine, the goals are to calm shen and nourish heart blood. The liver energy is regulated  and liver fire sedated in many treatments. This is because the liver energy is what specifically reacts to stress and then becomes problematic to the whole body over time

Many herbals are used in herbal formulas for more severe chronic conditions to help preserve the mind from stress and restore the body to optimal health. Herbals like bai shao, fu shen, suan zao ren, and xiao mai are usually major components in many practitioner prescribed formulas to assist with acu-point placement to help harmonize the mind and body when chronic stress has taken its toll.

Good nutrition definitely plays a part in the body’s defense with high stress. A diet high in vitamin B and E with many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are recommended. Foods high in potassium such as apricots, bananas, broccoli, winter melon, avocados, and asparagus are needed. Also, brown rice, figs, salmon, garlic, dried fruit, soy, green leafy vegetables, and yogurt provide much nutrition for optimal health to combat stress. Avoid foods and drinks with any artificial coloring or preservatives. During the day, to ensure vitality, choose teas rich in cineole. These may include cardamom, ginger, rosemary, eucalyptus, and spearmint. These will naturally help improve energy. A good energetic day helps for a restful night.

Stress reduction has a foundation in regular exercise, adequate rest and a good sleep regimen. To fully relax the mind and body, choose a yin exercise like tai chi, yoga, imagery exercises, or qi gong. Combine these with slow meditative breathing exercises for optimal benefits. Through words of affirmation, try to shift your outlook on life in a positive way and view dilemmas as a challenge not a threat.

Choose your sacred area to decompress and get in touch with nature. Journaling, music, creative art, and dance can all be ways to unwind and start preparing the body for deep breathing meditation. There must be consistent checks throughout the day to ensure we relax our mind and body to shake off added stressors that no longer serve us. We can revert our mind to positive thoughts and create our space to enjoy a walk, or tea time, or reflection to fully come back to balance. Prioritize your destressing and make this an essential part of your day for long health benefits. Call today to begin your journey to optimal health 772-353-1397