I couldn’t sleep well. When I slept, I would have nightmares/vivid dreams that made me reach for my concealer every morning to cover up dark circles under my eyes. It was exhausting, frustrating, and draining
I tried going to bed early and turning off technology an hour before bed. I limited my caffeine intake to ONE coffee a day and did my best to stay away from added sugars. Nothing helped.
After months, yes months, of trying, I began to adjust to the lack of sleep. I stopped fighting it and relied on shots after shots of espresso to get me through the day and pre-workout to get me through morning runs and yoga sessions. I was a walking, talking, caffeine-stimulated member of the undead.
Somewhere in a yoga studio in New York City, a newly relocated, surfing, Hawaiian ray of light (now a good friend of both of ours), suggested for me to give acupuncture a chance. I wasn’t a stranger to alternative medicine. Growing up I was fed concoctions of herbs, sweetened with honey, to cure pretty much anything ranging from sore throats to poison ivy. I figured that maybe a few needles could poke the insomnia right out of me.
 I was in.
After my first session, I felt lighter and happier. I committed to three sessions a week and worked with my acupuncturist to jot down notes on how I was feeling/sleeping. Five sessions in, the nightmares stopped. Eight sessions in, the vivid dreams went away. Acupuncture has since become a part of my self-care routine. My success has allowed me to cut down the frequency of sessions to once a week/every other week.

What I learned:

Inquire with your insurance company to see if they cover services. Luckily, my provider covered all costs besides a small co-pay fee.
Read reviews and check professional accreditations. Acupuncture is considered an invasive procedure. You want to make sure that your practitioner is certified, has undergone proper training, and has plenty of experience under their belt.
Consider and do your research on Chinese medicine. My practitioner gently suggested that I try a natural supplement made of dates, tart cherries, and herbs known to improve sleep. This was a game changer for me.
Don’t be afraid to try different acupuncturists. You are exposing your body and energy to this individual. To make the experience enjoyable and not awkward, make sure you find a professional that you vibe well with.
Drink a lot of water and eat a light, healthy meal after your session. You will be thirsty. I made sure to have coconut water on hand to replenish electrolytes, followed by a salad or RX bar.
You will most likely be laying with the needles for twenty to forty minutes. Stop thinking about the needles and enjoy the stillness. Take this time to meditate or simply relax.
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Meditation practices have expanded beyond yoga studios. It’s hard to ignore the rise of downloadable apps and strange encounters where your boss asks your team to do five-minute guided sequences during meetings. The ancient practice has marked its presence in our modern world.
Simply put, meditation is a technique meant to increase mindfulness, concentration, focus and awareness. Consistent mediation practices leave you clear headed and increase your emotional IQ. By closing your eyes and shutting off the outside world, you focus your attention internally.
Shutting off your surroundings allows you to focus on your breath and notice what is going on inside your body. Whether you are a novice or an expert, most report that the precious minutes taken to themselves leave them calmer and less anxious. Experts claim that meditation can even increase sleep quality and pain tolerance.

We have adapted meditation into our everyday rituals.

Karen’s Meditation Routine
When: Before bed, when the body is relaxed. Keeping the location of your practice consistent allows you to fall into a calm mental state quicker.
Benefits Experienced: I wake up in the morning refreshed and with a clear head. I can easily push back my cup of matcha a few hours because I don’t feel like I need the caffeine boost. My intuition is enhanced and my mind is less scattered. I don’t forget things throughout the day, complete projects quickly and am less bothered by little nuisances.
Favorite Meditations: I am loyal to the Simple Habit Iphone app.
Soothing Sleep by Glenn Harrold
Chakra Cleansing Meditation by Alison Serour
Enjoy the Phases of the Moon by Liz Richards
Alena’s Meditation Routine
When: After a workout. When my body is wiped out after a good hit session or after a hot yoga class. I find it easy to concentrate and give into stillness when my body is tired and ready to rest.
Benefits: I don’t wake up in the middle of the night as frequently when I meditate. My dreams are clear and I experience less nightmares. I notice an immediate elevation in mood. The residual effects linger, making it easy to be more positive and grateful for little and big things in life.
Favorite Meditations: Spotify offers great options for guided meditations that I added to the end of my workout playlist!
Mindfulness and Acceptance by Deepak Chopra 
Letting Go Meditation (Alpha) by Donna D’Cruz
Guided Meditation: Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys
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