The Secret of Sleep
By Venice Sullivan, Ph.D, NCMT
We hear all the time that we spend a third of our life sleeping. AT LEAST WE SHOULD. It is while we sleep that our body is rested, rejuvenated and healed. We must get good sleep to live a healthy balanced life.
Would you like to:
• Restore your body and mind
• Boost your immune system
• Deal with the daily life’s stresses easier
• Have increased alertness with mental, emotional, and physical energy
• Reduce daytime fatigue
• Sleep all night without waking up
• Enhance overall sleep quality
• Go to sleep easily
Good sleep is essential for your over all health and well being. When you don’t get a full nights sleep you feel the effects almost instantly:
• It is harder to get up in the morning
• It may be more difficult to focus and concentrate
• It becomes harder to do your normal daily activities
• You may not perform at your normal optimal level
• Decision making and small details become harder to manage
• You may feel spacey or off balance
• Mood swings, or unusual behavior can become more common
• You may find it hard to stay awake in the middle of the day
• It is easy to become clumsy or injure yourself.
• Forgetfulness is common
The good news is that these issues will clear up quickly once normal sleep is restored. At HOPE Wellness Institute we carry Essential oils, Bach Flower Essences, Herbal preparations and Homeopathic as well as using Laser Treatments, Massage and Neuromuscular therapy to increase your quality of sleep and your quality of life.
Studies have shown that functional capacity can be reduced by as much as 30% with just one night of reduced sleep.
There are two problems with sleeping, one is going to sleep, and the other is staying asleep.
Untreated sleep disorders are associated with numerous health concerns and medical illnesses, some of them are:
• High Blood Pressure
• Heart Attack
• Heart Failure
• Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
• Mental Impairment
• Fetal and childhood growth retardation
• Injury from accidents
• Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality
• Poor quality of life
Common causes for lack of sleep:
• The committee that is talking in your head: This is my personal favorite, You go to bed and there are all the people having conversations in your head, You know, the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. The if only’s. Rehashing your day and how you may have done it differently, or what you need to do tomorrow. Something big may be happening so you are still working on it when you should be sleeping. Trying to relax before going to bed, using essential oils, Bach flower essences or relaxation techniques may quite the committee.
• Restless Leg Syndrome: This is an idiopathic medical problem, cause unknown. It is found commonly in people with peripheral neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, Pregnancy, Iron deficiency and with the use of certain medications. My personal research also points to not enough exercise, trigger points in the legs, back pain, and an allergic reaction to many foods, Biochemical imbalances may also be the culprit. I have worked with journaling to help figure this one out
• Chronic Pain: When we are in pain everything is harder to do, especially sleep. The problem here is that our body needs sleep to heal, the more pain we are in the less we sleep, which causes more pain. Neuromuscular therapy, massage, essential oils, and laser therapy can offer a great amount of relief for Chronic pain.
• Hormone Imbalance, Hot Flashes, Menopause: As our body over heats and begins to perspire we throw off the blankets, then we cool off and have to put them back on. Many women perspire to the extent of having to change their PJ’s or change the bed. There are many ways to ease hot flashes, and the irritations of menopause. Essential oils, Herbs, and Homeopathic are a few suggestions.
• Sleep Apnea: Abnormal pauses in our breathing while we are sleeping will continuously pull us out of the sleep cycles so we don’t get into the rest cycles that our body needs to restore itself. This is usually caused by the soft tissues in the back of your mouth closing off the breathing passages. See snoring.
• Snoring: Snoring can be your snoring or your sleep partner. Either way it is disturbing your sleep and is often a sign of sleep apnea. Many doctors prescribe a CPAP machine. This pushes constant air pressure into you air passages keeping them open. We have found that many people will not use them, a better option may be to use an orthotic bite block which keeps your jaws in better alignment which keeps the breathing passages open. Call us for a referral if you are interested in learning more about this.
• Stress: Stress and sleep deprivation are another cycle that is often self perpetuating. The more stressed you are, the less you sleep, which causes you to become more stressed. Meditation, yoga, a hot bath, taking time to wind down before bed time is important.
• Allergies: We can have allergic reactions to anything we breathe, eat, drink or touch. They can cause problems with breathing, itching, pain, restless leg, digestion, or heartburn.
• Environment: Bed partners by they animal or human can disrupt our sleep, by crowding us, moving around, or snoring. Our bed should be comfortable and we should have plenty of room. Our clothes should not bind us or restrict us. The room should be dark. Being able to see the clock may keep you awake because it is too bright or just because it reminds you that you are sill awake. If noise is a problem trying using a white noise machine to cover up irritating noise.
• Overworked or Over Tired: Some times we are just too tired or too wound up to be able to rest. Try to wind down or meditate before going to bed
Since the entire sleep cycle repeats at least four, and sometimes as many as seven times per night, it is likely that the same person will experience several different dreams every night. During the first stage of sleep the sleepers eyes move back and forth in an erratic fashion. For this reason, this stage of sleep is referred to as REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. This stage of generally occurs from 90-100 minutes after the initial onset of sleep. During this period of sleep, the blood pressure rises and the heart rate and respiration speeds up and may become erratic as well. This stage of sleep is the one in which the majority of dreaming occurs. Stage two is a light sleep, and it is characterized by non rapid eye movements. During this stage of sleep the muscles are relaxed and the heart rate is slowed. This stage of sleep prepares the body for deeper sleep. Stages three and four and also feature non raid eye movements. During stages three and four of the sleep cycle, the body enters into a deep sleep. You are completely asleep during both stages, but stage four is more intense than stage three.
The traditional answers for helping you sleep are:
• Keep noise in the room and surrounding area down as much as possible, or use white noise to cover up disturbances.
• Sleep in a dark room.
• Keep the room temperature as comfortable as possible, often cooler is better, adding a blanket if necessary.
• Eat or drink foods that induce sleep, such as warm milk.
• Avoid naps during the day.
• Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine.
By having a consultation we can help you determine what might be keeping you from sleeping like a baby and be able to get back to that wonderful place.