There are so many theories about both sleep and dreams..baby sleeping.which is the right one?  Could there be several – depending on the person OR depending on what the person is currently going through?

Let’s look at the symptoms caused from ineffective sleep; then the different tools that claim to create more effective sleep; then some of teen with pillow over headthe alternative therapies to regulate sleep.

We do know when most people lack sufficient sleep, many things can happen:

1) Reduced capacity to manage stress:

  • stress can both be the cause of the sleep deprivation & poor sleep AND it can be the result of insufficient sleep
  • lack of sleep impacts on the adrenals as does gut stress and psychological stress; when the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis is in malfunction – insomnia occurs:
    • difficulty falling asleep
    • disturbed sleep
    • being easily woken
    • feelings of not being rested
    • tired upon waking
    • fatigued throughout the day

2) Reduced cognitive functions:

  • memory:  sleep somehow restores; maintains; facilitates neuron connections in the brain
  • concentration: people with sleep issues both underperform in concentration studies AND overestimate their ability to concentrate
  • poor decision making ability:  the prefrontal cortex is involved in judgement; impulse control; decision making AND if the frontal lobe is not getting the nutrient it needs, these cognitive functions will feel the effect (research shows that sleep deprivation leads to more risky decision making processes); whereas good sleep provokes good sound judgement

3) Mood instability

  • sleep deprivation can cause feelings of depression
  • sleep deprivation can cause a sense of burnout
  • sleep deprivation can cause irritability

4) Metabolic function

  • appetite:  people with sleep issues often have an increased demand for sweets, carbs and salty foods – thus the connection between sleep deprivation and obesity
  • perhaps the body’s demand for more nutrients is the body’s struggle to get the nutrients needed to because of a combination of the following:
  • create the molecules needed to sleep AND to correct what the body couldn’t heal during sleep AND to keep the body going despite the lack of sleep

5) Motor function

research indicates that reduced sleep provokes the same type of motor functioning as someone who is legally intoxicated

  • your mouth cannot formulate words properly
    • slurred speech, stuttering
    • speaking in monotone
  • your balance and ability to walk may be unsteady
  • your fingers may not be able to coordinate fine motor movements
  • sleep also provokes slower reaction times

6) Vision challenges

the l-function in the brain it thought to integrate information between different parts of the brain – they become less efficient with less sleep and consequently don’t provide you with all of the info you need; so you start to:

  • bang into things
  • have accidents (including auto)
  • your vision becomes fuzzy (may even see double)
  • visual hallucinations (start seeing things that are not there)

7) Inter dynamics

as noted above, there are both cognitive and emotional symptoms that can occur as a result of sleep deprivation consequently people who are sleep deprived can have difficulty in their relationships due to:

  • moody
  • agitated
  • depression
  • reduced libido

8) Medical issues

  • adrenals become impaired and cannot metabolize sugars
  • diabetics become less sensitive to insulin
  • high blood pressure & other cardio issues may occur
  • lower body temperature may occur
  • gut issues
  • immune system starts to falter (white blood cell count decreases)
  • metal toxicity
  • POPs, PCBs, insecticides, pesticides, etc

Because we have an awareness of all these problems and we just generally don’t like feeling fatigued…all kinds of solutions & gadgets have been discovered and marketed.

So we have:

Devices that monitor movement

Wakemate: monitors how much movement you have while you sleep; how much sleep you need; and promises to help you sleep more efficiently in less time

Fitbit – identifies how you toss & turn at night; brain waves, heartbeat, breathing – that you can then work with

also bodyMedia, SleepTracker (also a watch), Omron (Japanese), Jawbone, Zeo

Devices for Apnea:

Apnea Guyard

BiPap auto SV (treats obstructive, central & complex apneas & hypopneas)

Devices that prevent movement:

Night Shift Sleep Positioner

Masks

Masks that provide far infar red to the eyes

Blackout Shades:  that provide blinking blue line in the eye panels which go away when you nod off or the brain relaxes

Using Frequencies:

Nightwave Sleep Assistant – a blue LED light flashes on the ceiling and you match your breathing to the flashes

Sound Machine : has a secret code that is made up of a series of pulses designed to mimic the brainwave patterns of healthy sleepers

Bed Wear

Pillows – to prevent neck and back pain using side panels

Performance Bedding:  fabric works like athletic material: soft, breathable sheets that transfer body heat

Grounding/Earthing mats/sheets: connects and stabilizes the energetic patterns of the earth

Alternative Medicine has known how to resolve sleep issues for 1000s of years:

Herbal:  there are a wide variety of herbal solutions,herbs & spices depending on the sleep issue

Acupuncture:  there are a number of different points and patterns that can be effected by :  laser acupuncture; acupressure; acupuncture

Essential oils:  there are a number of different essential oils and combinations that aid different sleep issues

Homeopathy:  both Western homeopathy (founded in the 1700s) and Eastern homeopathy (founded 1000s of years ago) that resolve sleep issues

Ayurveda:  Ayurvedic medicine has different remedies depending on what dosha your body has

Nutrition: nutritionists recognize that fruitandvegetablesnutrition also has a big impact on the body’s health and capacity for effective sleep

Reflexology:  reflexology has also been shown to be effective in increasing blood flow; which has an impact on sleep

Chiropractic: can work if your sleep issue has to do with your back and/or neuroskeletal issues

Counselling: whether psychological or otherwise, counselling may be of help to help you manage your stress, your thoughts, your emotions that may be keeping you awake

Energy Work: can be of help if there are distortions that are causing the distress in the body

Hypnotherapy:  clinical hypnotherapists teach people how to engage in a deeper level of relaxation and provide methods that enable people to control their own states of awareness

Meditation:  a very useful tool that helps to balance and regulate brain waves that enable a healthier brain function thus enabling sleep

As you can see, there are a wide variety of choices to enable a healthy effective sleep.

Be responsible for your research; do your homework; find a good health practitioner…

Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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References:

http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue_and_sleep.asp

http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/sleep/disorders/10-signs-you-may-be-sleep-deprived10.htm

http://www.dvice.com/archives/2012/10/9-high-tech-dev.php

http://advancedbrainmonitoring.com/advanced-sleep/

http://www.healthcare.philips.com/main/homehealth/sleep/sleep_therapy_devices/

http://www.earthing.com/category_s/1823.htm