OK…week two of my regime and already bailing on this week’s exercise even though fellow porkchops have come prepared with running shoes. I simply just can’t do it! Several cups of coffee in and I’ve yet to feel that buzz! Like a lot of other people, I sometimes suffer from severe insomnia which according to my theory worsens when you have children because you become programmed not to have a good night’s sleep when you have to get up to them in the middle of the night when they are babies. After three nights of no sleep, a whining dog and my five year old coming into my bed because of her bad dreams, I am simply exhausted but still cannot sleep. When my head hits that pillow, the little voice comes on and says “Ok if I got to sleep now I will have six hours of sleep that’s enough to function on!” and hour later…”Ok you will have five hours of sleep….You will be tired but can make it through the day.” After another hour “Ok four hours of sleep…. Just think of it as a refreshing nap”…”OK three hours of sleep, *#!*!!!! will not be productive today! The NIH recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night as being healthy. Two things people generally know about sleep is that you cannot cheat it… Your body demands that you make it up later and that you are seriously impaired cognitively without it. Driving with lack of sleep is the same as driving drunk! Ironically strategies for improving your sleep are no caffeine, getting adequate exercise, and not worrying about not getting sleep. So pretty much I have hit all the “Do Not’ s” for getting a good night’s sleep! Why do I bring this up? My number one reason for not sleeping at night is simply not being able to turn off my brain. I find myself reviewing my day or thinking about the next day or caving into worries that I have managed to avoid during the day. Being able to turn off the brain and think about nothing is incredibly hard to do. Ask any insomniac and they will tell you the same thing. So from a TCM perspective my body’s balance is out of whack in a major way! Qigong considered as an offshoot of Tai chi in Chinese martial arts is also a part of TCM theory. Qi gong’s is Chinese medicine’s meditation therapy using the breath. The purpose of qi gong is to use the mind and breath to realign the qi (vital energy ) of the body. The breathing exercises become meditative and also can promote health benefits sleep being one of them. By concentrating on your breath you are able to purge your brain of those errant thoughts that keep you from getting sleep in the first place. So I am off to take some of our advice on our website http://www.shennong.com/eng/lifestyles/tcmrole_sleep_qigong.html and practice some qi gong tonight and get that full night’s sleep my body so desires! Next week I hope to be a healthier, happier and well rested porkchop!