Getting a good night’s sleep

Sleep and Insomnia Cronulla Acupuncture

 For many people, the thought of a good night’s sleep seems elusive. Whether it is caused from stress, irregular sleeping habits, too much screen time, hormonal changes, etc, the consequences on our day-to-day lives are overwhelming.

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What is insomnia?

 

At some point in time, most people suffer from insomnia. Insomnia occurs when one has problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or wake up during the night and can not go back to sleep. Usually there is daytime lethargy as a result of poor sleep habits,  which can also lead to low mood.

Insomnia can last anywhere from a few weeks to being chronic.

 

How does Chinese Medicine view insomnia?

 

Chinese medicine believes that the heart houses the spirit in the human being. In order for a good night’s sleep, it is important to House the Spirit and put it to sleep at night. The Spirit or Shen in Chinese Medicine is housed in the Heart Organ system. Difficulties sleeping are seen as imbalances of the heart.

 

The Heart may be out of balance for one of the following reasons:

 

 

Heart Is Not Nourished

 

The Heart may not be nourished by yin and blood. A flourishing garden bed requires good nutrients, and oxygenation in order to grow and be fruitful. Consider eating fruits and vegetables which assist in building both yin and blood

 

Overstimulation and heat causing agitation of heart

 

Improper lifestyle choices, including wrong food choices, too much physical activity, drugs and alcohol, over mental stimulation and emotional trauma, cause heat to aggravate the heart. The heart in its thriving state abhors too much heat, and can not settle leading to insomnia. If this is your case, then take the appropriate actions to reduce excess stimulants. Consider taking time to meditate which calms the Shen.

 

Constraint of the heart by qi, blood and phlegm

 

Long term negative emotional patterns, lack of qi and blood, not enough exercise, of excesses in toxins can cause qi, blood , and phlegm to stagnate. Just like a drainage pipe needs to be cleared every now and then, so too does the inner workings of the body. Consider a good detox, some exercise or breath work to calm and relax the mind. A good diet is also essential, as is the ability to assimilate nutrition.

 

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Here are some other things to do that may improve your quality of sleep :-

 

1.     Avoid screen time before going to bed – blue light emitted from phones, and devices may disrupt the body’s serotonin levels.

2.     Avoid eating or drinking just prior to  sleep – drinking before bed increases your chances of needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Eating prior to sleeping forces the digestive system into action, and may cause discomfort preventing you from proper sleep.

3.     Dim the lights in your house, and use lighting as close as possible to natural light (i.e. not fluorescent). The pineal gland needs to know it’s getting late and time to go to sleep. Way back in our ancestors times, there was no artificial lighting, and so the body naturally knew it was time for bed when the Sun went down.

4.     Cool the room temperature to roughly 18C.

5.     Encourage regular sleep time  - establish a good biorhythm for the body by having regular waking and sleep times.

 

 

For further information on sleep speak to your health care professional to see if acupuncture or herbal medicine might be of assistance to you. Contact our Cronulla Acupuncture clinic

Interview with Hypnobirth Specialist Julie Clarke

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Sutherland Shire Pregnancy and Birthing

Many years ago as a heavily pregnant and somewhat bewildered expectant mother, I sought expertise in Sutherland Shire pregnancy and birthing. It was then that I had the opportunity to attend one of Julie’s Clarke’s courses on hypno-birthing. Through this experience, I found the confidence to allow my body to go through the natural course of labour without fear. My birthing experience was long but overall went relatively well.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share a cuppa with Julie. Here is an extract of our conversation:

Anissa: Hi Julie. Enlighten me on the differences in the 2 courses you teach?

Julie Clarke: Hi Anissa thanks for welcoming me along for an interview sure I’ll quickly explain the 2 courses:

The first one is the Transition into Parenthood course which covers pregnancy, labour, birthing and a good generous amount of baby care and early parenting. Does that sound a bit dry? yes maybe it does, haha yet this course is not the slightest bit dry or boring in fact pregnant couples find it very new information, interesting and they love the positive vibe. You see most people are very nervous about birth so when thy come along and find out new strategies to help them through it and make the whole experience easier they are greatly relieved. They feel so positive to find out their choices for comfort techniques such as the use of showers, baths, hot packs to ease the discomfort. Then there are all the practical components of the course such as trying out positions such as standing, kneeling, squatting, instead of the hollywood movie scene of a woman laying down; which in fact only serves to slow labour down, but it’s what everyone has viewed in the movies so they think it’s what Midwives want them to do and of course that’s not the case at all. 

All Midwives and doctors know that when a woman hops up and moves around the labour is so much quicker and easier. It’s delightful for everyone involved because she’s not distressed, it’s comfortable and much easier. 

The baby care part of the course covers loads of the most important tips and tricks such as swaddling, breastfeeding, rocking, patting, swaying, comforting a baby, how to recognise what’s up for the baby when it cries, how to read their body language and all the different signals they give out. 

Do you know Alissa that most people think oh we will deal with all the baby stuff after the baby is born, I can only focus on the labour and birth during my pregnancy and they don’t know what they don’t know about babies, which leaves them so vulnerable to lots of stress during the first 12 weeks the newborn period after the birth.

The main issues I love to deal with in class is how to make life easier and stress free. I have lots of great secrets and tips I share with everyone and they really enjoy the way I tell stories to illustrate what I am getting across. We have plenty of laughs during the Transition into Parenthood two day course.

The new Mindful Hypnobirth course has its fun elements too but is actually more fascinating than anything else – this course provided amazing insights into how to not fight against the body but instead work with the body. Don’t you just love all the amazing facts around the mind-body connection? Well those ideas are just perfect for getting ready to labour and birth. It all fits together like a glove on a hand.

Mindful Hypnobirth is what resonates with everyone between 20 and 45 years of age, that is the generation that really understands mindfulness and takes it on board to use so well, and they are relaxed, focused on their breathing, stress free, not anxious, confident, and have the most positive empowering birth experiences ever. It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to bring these two courses to people.

The combination equals the full jigsaw puzzle with no pieces missing. If a pregnant couple book both courses I think ah good that’s a relief chances are very high, that they will be fine. They won’t be missing out on anything.

Anissa: Is it suitable for all pregnant women to attend your courses, even those who might have a cesarean section?

Julie: Yes, Anissa, I run a beautiful baby care one day session which is perfectly suited to cesarean mums it covers everything to do with the practicalities of Baby Care without the labour info and is all on either one day or a half day – obviously the full day is better.

Most people underestimate what’s included, but at the end of that one day they are so much more informed and confident about how to play the game of life as parents.
To be honest no-one really knows what exactly is going to happen do they?

No one has a crystal ball.

I’ve actually had couples who thought they were 99% chance of a c.section end up with a normal birth and they were astounded and thrilled. And of course I’ve had the opposite happen too, the important thing is for everyone to prepare for any type of outcome. 

My awesome Dad was a fantastic Scout Master and he always reminded us of the motto “Be Prepared!” He was right if ever there is something to prepare for in life it’s having a baby isn’t it?

Anissa: How did you get into this profession, and what was your motivation?

Julie: I have always been totally drawn to biology, psychology and every time my mother friends were pregnant I was so fascinated by their growing bellies, even as a little child. It seems that absolutely everything in my life simply keep leading me to this path.

It was easy to make the decision to do the training, easy for me to do all the assignments and I loved every minute of the whole experience.

Anissa: What is the most rewarding thing for you teaching birth and parenting education?

Julie: I have thrived as a person in life teaching all these pregnant couples because I really feel I make such a positive difference in their lives.
They have sent feedback forms, they’ve called me, emailed me and talked to me at community functions about how much they gained from my courses. It’s such a beautiful thing to have in my life – this incredible appreciation for all the things I teach. It’s mind blowing sometimes to know the ripple effect of positivity that has come from all of this and it warms my heart.

Anissa: What changes have you seen in your industry over the last decade?

Julie: Feminism has made some wonderful sweeping changes and improvements to Maternity in Australia. Improved birthing suites for women; better facilities with beautiful full ensuite bathrooms. Dads-to-be are treated with more respect now compared to my father’s era. The old matrons were so awful to men.

Midwives have slightly improved work conditions and the system is constantly working to reduce “bullying” which the health system has specialised in since the invention of hospitals in the 1900’s.

Anissa: What message would you like to impart to pregnant women about to give birth? 

Julie: Trust your instincts and intuition. Stand up for yourself in your relationship with your partner, in dealing with any staff, in dealing with workplace, friends and family. Be firm. Assert yourself more than you have ever done before during your pregnancy, birth and the first year after giving birth. Say what you want. This is where you shine as a woman moving into motherhood. I’ll hold the polish and the buffing cloth for you and cheer you on.

Anissa: Do you have any success stories?

Julie: Millions of them. Starting with my mums story of giving birth to me which she told me quite often and I adored hearing it. Then my own births of my two sons. Then such a lot of others over the years especially with birthing big babies with no stitches. Seems this trick is my specialty to teach in class and I have plenty of mums with this wonderful outcome. They are delighted and I am for them too, so awesome.

Anissa: Can you talk a little bit about the role of midwives, birth facilitators and doulas in past and present? 

Julie: Anissa this is one of the most exciting areas of change. There is not very many Childbirth Facilitators or Educators like me anymore, it’s a niche specialty but there is certainly a growing number of Birth Doulas and Post Natal Doulas who are being trained and then going out into the community in a wide variety of settings to support pregnant couples under all sorts of circumstances.

Midwives have improved the way they do University now so instead of having to be a nurse first and receive plenty of unnecessary training they now have a pure Bachelor of Midwifery Training Degree for 3 years and it’s producing absolutely awesome midwives who have a better understanding of “Being With Woman” which it was the term Midwifery means.

Anissa: What motivates you?

Julie: I do everything for the “Good of the Cause”! . . . And a cuppa LOL

Anissa: What is your favourite movie/book and why?

I have fallen in love with two movies over the last 12 months and funnily enough they both involve the ocean.

Breath and the other, Given

Learn more about Julie Clarke..

Contact Anissa to learn more about Sutherland Shire pregnancy and birthing and how she may be able to assist you.