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Blood and Yin Deficiency and Sleep

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Have you ever felt "tired and wired"? Maybe you weren't particularly anxious, just somehow you stayed awake. Maybe you dragged around tired all day and then somehow it's hard to actually fall asleep. It's happened to me after having babies. Of course, it's fun to meet the baby and sleep on my stomach again, so there's excitement to keep me up, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine they ascribe the cause to Blood Deficiency. This roughly correlates with our ideas of anemia, but would not be limited to iron deficiency anemia. There are also forms of anemia related to B vitamins, especially B-12, and folate. I've found that getting lots of nutrients after delivery helps me fall asleep more easily.

If you have trouble staying asleep, it could be lack of calories. It's easy to under-eat as a busy mom, especially if you're trying to eat "real", and you aren't eating hummus, nuts, and other calorie-dense foods. Make a conscious effort to slow down and eat more throughout a few days (not just at night after the kids are in bed) and see if it helps your sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night, feeling feverish in the afternoon, and having night sweats, are all signs of what Chinese Medicine calls Yin Deficiency. Yin is their metaphor for the cooling, moistening aspects of the body. It would roughly correlate with minerals, slow carbs, and fat in the diet. Yin Deficiency signs often come along with night waking.

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