The Pandemic and your Sleep

June 28, 2021
Jenna Aquilina MAcOM Dipl.Ac L.Ac

The pandemic has undeniably affected our quality of sleep.  Mood and sleep disorders have increased since the onset of the pandemic.  Regular hours and daily rhythms have been disrupted by the changes in schedule many of us have had to make as well as increased stress in our lives.  

Ideally, most people need between 7-9 hours nightly of quality sleep.  Keeping a regular sleep schedule is important for deep, restful sleep. 


According to Chinese Medicine and the flow of qi in the meridians, eating too late in the evening will disrupt your sleep schedule and digestion.  From 11 PM-1 AM is Gallbladder time and 1 AM-3 AM is Liver time.  It’s common for people to report waking during these times.   Eating too late in the evening means that instead of using energy to renew and refresh the digestive organs and body, energy will have to go to digesting food.   When we eat too late or eat heavy foods or spicy foods, we can see sleep disturbances such as poor sleep, vivid dreams or even nightmares.  Alcohol and caffeine also tend to disrupt sleep.  

Acupuncture can help to regulate your circadian rhythms and reduce stress, but it can’t make you change lifestyle habits that are contributing to a lack of sleep.  


  • Shut down all screens 2 hours before bed.  The light from the screens can keep you from falling asleep.  
  • Find ways to block out all light emitting sources near the bedroom.  Artificial light disrupts melatonin. 
  • Here in Arizona, it’s extremely helpful to have a quiet humidifier near where you sleep to help with the dryness.  Use filtered water in humidifiers.  
  • Check your air filter for indoor air quality issues that can contribute to allergies and breathing problems that disrupt sleep.   
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.  Keep it to the morning and only 1-2 cups maximum.  
  • Avoid long naps after lunch.  Sleeping too long after lunch means it  may make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime.
  • Avoid exercise after sunset.
  • Keep a regular schedule for waking, going to bed, exercise and eating. 
  • Drinking chamomile tea or another sleep tea for relaxation prior to bed can be helpful to unwind and get ready to sleep. 
  • Add relaxation and meditation.
  • Try adaptogenic herbs to help with stress response and cortisol levels

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are helpful to manage stress and sleep issues.  At ilumina Healing Sanctuary, we treat sleep related issues and stress.  To schedule a consultation and appointment, give us a call at 602.957.2602.

More references with links: