Getting good quality sleep is essential in order to maintain good mental health and resilience to stress.
How much you need varies from person to person, but 7-8 hours is generally a good amount to aim for. If you struggle to get to sleep or wake frequently during the night, these bedtime rituals may help:
Set yourself a bedtime.
Your body clock will settle into a rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep. It also means you can count back the hours from your morning alarm clock to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the 'analytical' brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry. Read more about the research here.
In Chinese medicine, mental and emotional health symptoms are seen as part of a pattern that describes an overall disharmony or imbalance. Below are some common patterns that may be seen in people dealing with mental health issues.
Heart Blood Deficiency
Medical Herbalists often work with people who are experiencing difficulties coping with ongoing stresses in their lives. Generally a full consultation is advised to assess which herbs would be most suited to each patient, however there are a few herbs that are often found to be useful and can be tried before seeing a practitioner.
To improve the stress response herbalists will commonly prescribe herbs that fall within the category of 'adaptogens'. The word adaptogen refers to the endocrine-regulating, immune-enhancing effects of these herbs that increase the individual's ability to sustain optimal physical and emotional balance when under stress.
1. Include tryptophan rich sources of protein in main meals.
E.g. Turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon or 2-3 eggs. Vegan sources include kidney beans & lentils.
WHY? Serotonin is associated with enhancing mood, promoting sleep, reducing appetite and curbing impulses. The amino acid, tryptophan is required for the brain to produce serotonin.