REST AND SLEEP -
ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH
by Lawrence Wilson, MD

© September 2014, The Center for Development

 

 Millions of people throughout the world do not get enough rest and sleep.  This is a major health crisis!

For example, a study in 2014, cited by Dr. Mercola, found that sleep times in the 21 largest cities in the USA were remarkably similar, ranging from a low of 6.82 hours in Houston, Texas to a high of 6.93 hours in Orlando, Florida.  On average, that’s just over 6.8 hours of sleep a night.2 

These results are close to those of the 2013 International Bedroom Poll by the National Sleep Foundation, which found, on average, Americans get only 6.5 hours of sleep on weeknights (but report needing 7.25 hours in order to function optimally).3

According to the same Jawbone activity tracker study (2014), the average bedtime for New Yorkers is 11:15 p.m. – and that’s earlier on average than people in other parts of the nation!

 

In fact, many people falsely believe that rest and sleep are a waste of time and energy.  This is the opposite of the truth and may be the most ignored cause of disease next to bad nutrition.
            This article discusses the great need for sleep, the many benefits of sleep, the harm that occurs when one does not get enough rest and sleep, and finally how to sleep better.  Let us examine why each person today needs much more rest and sleep than in past generations.

 

WHY GET MORE SLEEP?

 

            Most People Are Exhausted.  Fatigue is epidemic.  Studies by American, British and Australian Traffic Safety Agencies report that 20%-30% of traffic fatalities involve a fatigued driver.  If you need coffee, soda pop, chocolate, anger, worry or other stimulants to get going in the morning or keep going, you are not getting enough sleep.  

            Prolonged fatigue contributes to nutritional imbalances that may not be so easily undone by just sleeping.  However, rest and sleep are still important steps as part of a total program including nutritional balancing and sauna therapy to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and many other conditions with fatigue as one of the symptoms.

 

              All Healing Requires Extra Sleep.  During the day, one primarily uses the sympathetic nervous system, associated with spending energy and tearing down the body.  This is balanced by the parasympathetic system, associated with rest, nurturing and regeneration of body tissues.  This is equally important and takes place when one is resting.  One may call it maintenance or repair time.

            If you skimp on regenerative activity by not sleeping enough, physical and mental performance suffers, as well as one's work and relationships.  Illness develops because there is not enough time to repair damaged tissues in the body.  If you have a chronic illness, you definitely need extra rest and sleep.

           

            Cleansing and Rebuilding the Body Require Energy.  Elimination of toxins, an issue for everyone, occurs primarily at night while the body rests.  The removal process requires energy and one's energy is finite.  If you use most or all of your energy running around all day, you will not detoxify well.

 

            Most Emotional Processing Occurs During Sleep.  Often, during the day, thought processes are not completed due to interruptions or other distractions.  The mind completes these processes during sleep.  You may notice that problems that seemed difficult are solvable or even solved after a good night's rest.  This can be due to increased energy, but is also due to actual problem-solving that goes on during sleep.

            In fact, many types of emotional development and processing of one’s past take place during the sleep state in many people.  Thus, not giving yourself enough ‘down time’ is harming yourself in an emotional way as well as a physical one.

 

Spiritual development and sleep.  Resting is not just about physical and emotional processing.  An area that is not often discussed is spiritual development.  By this I mean a specific progression of development of the subtle human bodies, such as the etheric body or etheric double, as it is sometimes called. 

It is called this because it is shaped somewhat like the human body, but a little larger so it looks like a double body to someone who has the ability to see it in the human aura or energy field.  It is also called the etheric double because, when developed fully, it is large and consists of two human bodies, one right side up and the other upside down.

This type of development is of the greatest import today to assure a long, healthy physical life and for the development of wisdom and knowledge as well.  It is spoken of in some Oriental texts, but not mentioned much in most Western spiritual books that often focus more on religious aspects rather than energetic aspects of what may be called development of the higher human faculties.

This particular development requires a tremendous amount of extra rest and sleep.  I cannot overstate this fact.  This is the reason that many so-called “spiritually oriented” types of people need extra rest all the time.  This is also the reason that many teenagers, especially women, need a lot of rest.  They are developing their etheric bodies, although I know this sounds esoteric, and the rest is part of the process.  They often need a nap during the day plus 10 hours or more of sleep, at times.  At other times, they may not need quite this much, and it can vary during the process.

I encourage all readers to pay attention to this need, not to just try to avoid it with stimulants such as caffeine and sugar, and to find jobs and activities in which they can take time in the afternoon, perhaps, to lay down and rest, even if it is just for 15 minutes or so.  State laws in America require a 15-minute break in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Although this is hardly enough time, it is a start and anyone in any job should, if possible, take advantage of this rule.

 

In short, there is no substitute for sleep.   Also, sleep is anything but a waste of time.  It is an essential part of each person’s daily life that can also be a rich time of not only rejuvenation, but of insights and other healing processes.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DREAMING

 

Dreaming is another very important activity that only occurs during the sleep state.  Dreaming is not a solitary phenomenon, meaning that it can have many different meanings.  Even higher animals such as cats and dogs engage in dreaming.

Dreams can represent processing of one’s past or even just daily events.  In most people, dreams are often also processing other phenomena such as information from television shows and radio programs that the mind needs to mull over, as it were, and make more sense of.  Dreams can also foretell the future, to a degree, as many people know.  Dreams can also have to do with people and events far away, as many people also know.

Even unpleasant dreams, nightmares, premonitions and other phenomena may be important, at times, and should not be stopped by not resting or with the use of drugs.  Of course, some dreams are due to just overeating or some other physical health condition.  However, dreaming is a fascinating subject that could fill an entire article of this size.

If one does not sleep enough, or does not sleep well for some reason, the dreaming process is interrupted or prevented, and this always impacts one’s health and one’s spiritual and mental development.  It is another reason why adequate rest and sleep are so critical for everyone, particularly the young, who are often the ones who do not “have the time;” or are “too busy” to stop and rest often.

 

WHY SOME PEOPLE CAN GET ALONG ON LITTLE SLEEP AND REST

 

You may envy those who seem to have lots of energy, yet get by on little sleep.  Let go of this envy.  Those individuals are either:

 

Š             Burning themselves out.  Many of them don't know it, or they know it and don't care, or they care but do not know what to do about it.

Š             Using stimulants.  Their energy is false.  One of these days it will catch up with them and they will become ill.  Stimulants are not just items such as sugar, caffeine or amphetamines.  They  include factors such as too much worry, fears, anger and other emotional factors that definitely stimulate the body.

Š             Illness or certain biochemical imbalances. Many who do not sleep much are either very toxic with copper and other metals, or have various other physical imbalances such as biounavailable or deficient levels of calcium that prevent them from resting adequately.  They have gotten used to this, and can function quite well.  However, it is not normal and it is certainly not healthful in the least.  They are not really rested when they wake up in the morning.  In fact, they are just driven, often by toxins in the body or other imbalances.

Š             Energy vampires.  This is unfortunately common as well.   Many people consciously or unconsciously have learned to steal energy from others by upsetting them in some way.  They may talk too loudly, act intimidating or confusing, or they use some other method to draw energy from others to themselves.
            Some energy vampires recognize the trait, even if they don’t know what to do about it.  Many others do not even realize what they are doing.  Unfortunately, for example, many parents do this to their children, stealing the innocence of the child.  This is sadly a reason why many young people unconsciously want to have a child or several children.
            If you feel exhausted around someone, it is important to protect yourself by removing yourself or reducing interaction with such people.  Having your energy drained  leads to serious illnesses like cancer.  This is a challenge for many people.  For more about energy vampirism, read Energy Vampirism.

 

WHEN AND HOW MUCH TO SLEEP

 

            Here are guidelines for the best sleeping experience.  The hours before midnight are far more valuable for rejuvenation than those after midnight.  Some say they are two or three times more useful for healing the body and mind.  The hours after midnight are less conducive because the energy of the earth has shifted and the new day is starting.  This brings a crescendo of solar energy that can tend to cause lighter sleep in many people.

            When To Go To Sleep.  Thus, going to bed early is the first rule of ideal sleep.  I recommend going to bed between eight and nine PM every night.

While this may seem early, it is the way primitive mankind slept before there was electricity, and it is one of the reasons that primitive peoples often enjoyed and continue to enjoy superb health.  It is also the reason these people are more intuitive and aware, as adequate rest and sleep are essential for these subtle mental faculties.

            How Long To Sleep.  If one goes to bed early, less sleep time is required.  Eight to ten hours of actual sleep is usually enough.  However:

1. Many people have a ‘sleep deficit’.  That is, they will require much more rest at first, often for several years or more, when they begin to renew their bodies using nutritional balancing, meditation, saunas and other methods recommended at this website.  Thus, many people, especially those who are ill, may require 12 hours daily for two or three years.  Most of that can come from resting at night, while napping is also excellent to make up for a sleep deficit.

2. This means 8 to 9 hours of actual sleep, not lying in bed falling asleep or lounging in the morning as you wake up.  In order to obtain a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep, most people need to set aside another half hour to an hour in bed for this reason.

            3. For best health, do not make exceptions to this rule for holidays, weekend parties or anything else.  If one must party late at night, then at least sleep in the next day, although going to bed early each night is a key to having excellent energy.

 

            Children and Teens.  Children and especially adolescents need 11 hours or more of rest, though a little of that could be rest time in bed but not strictly all sleep.  Again, there should be no exceptions for sleepovers, camping trips, late movies or other distractions.  I realize this is difficult, so do your best as a parent to guide children with this.  If a child is up late one night, be sure he or she can sleep in and that the next night the child goes to bed very early.

 

            College-Age Students.  College students are often the most sleep-deprived, due to many activities, parties, outings, late classes or other distractions at this age.  Young people also have more natural or hormonal activity in most instances, so they “get away with it”, as they say.  This is a lie.  They just develop problems and illnesses as a result.

 

Sleeping Positions.  The best position for sleeping is on your back without a pillow.  If you prefer a pillow, it should be soft enough so that your spine remains fairly straight.  Also, the pillow should not cut off your air supply in any way. 

Also, the pillow case needs to be cleaned often, as otherwise you will be breathing lots of dust, bacteria from your scalp and other debris all night.

If possible, sleep with your legs and arms straight and slightly out to the sides.  This prevents you from crossing your own energy field with your arms or legs.          

Head toward the pole.  Another suggestion, if possible, is that if you live in the northern hemisphere, sleep with your head to the north, more or less, and legs facing to the south or west if possible.  If you live in the southern hemisphere, it is reversed with your head facing south.  If you live very near the equator, this is less important.  This has to do with very subtle energies that some people can feel.  There is a flow of magnetic energy from the poles to the equator of the earth.  When you align with it, it helps release negative energies that everyone picks up during the day from other people, from computers, televisions and other stray electromagnetic fields.  It does even more than this, however.

Mattresses. Avoid sleeping on very soft mattresses that distort your posture. Memory foam mattresses are very good, as are some conventional beds and some air beds, possibly.  I do not recommend water beds, although some people like them.  I don't think it is ideal to be sleeping on water.  Some mattresses are smelly when new, so check on this.

Sheets. Most are fine, though pure cotton sheets or even silk (costly) may be a little better than synthetic sheets. 

Pillows. If possible, skip pillows if you sleep on your back.  If you must use a pillow, use a new one and keep them very clean. Place them in the washing machine or replace when dirty.

 

POOR EXCUSES FOR NOT SLEEPING

 

            I hear many excuses why more sleep is impossible.  Here are some common ones:

 

            1) I don't have time.  If this is really the case, then it is time to restructure your life.  Schedule naps, nap with your children after lunch or even after all meals, get help so that you are freed up, take on fewer projects or otherwise restructure.
            It may mean you become a more relaxed  person and your house is not as clean.  Perhaps you will not bake as many cakes or volunteer at church.  This needs to be acceptable and understood by family members.
            In our Western culture, to simply put your feet up or lie down and rest in the afternoon is difficult for many people.  This  is particularly true if you identify yourself with what you do, instead of with whom you are.  Resting more, you may feel guilty, lazy or unproductive.   In fact, whom you are is much more important than what you do.
            Although perhaps it is not obvious, you affect others much more by whom you are than by what you do.  For example, if you work for peace but are full of anxiety and tension inside, you will radiate the vibration of stress and anxiety, the opposite of peace.  If you are good to others, but not good to yourself by resting enough, you radiate the non-respectful vibration, although this can be very subtle. 

In fact, many people remain busy and active because they are afraid or uncomfortable resting and relaxing.  One may busy oneself with the problems of others, because in a resting state, one is faced with one’s own life, and one’s own concerns.   A key to learning to rest more is to be at peace and fully accepting and loving of yourself.  Otherwise, resting more may bring up vague feelings of anxiety or even panicky feelings. 

In order to slow down, know that these feelings may come up and do not let them get in the way of your rest periods.  Also, let go of any guilt or feelings of laziness associated with resting and live within your sleep limits.

 

            2) Sleep is a waste of time.  I hope I have explained why this is not so.  Plenty of sleep is an absolute necessity.

 

            3) I could sleep for days and sleeping more doesn't make me feel better, so why bother.  Most likely your body chemistry is out of balance .  Correction might be simple, but usually requires a nutritional balancing program.  Ninety percent of city dwellers  have exhausted adrenal glands and often sluggish thyroid glands, which makes one very tired.  The answer is not to just take hormones or sleeping pills, but to begin correcting body chemistry.  However, not sleeping will only make the problem worse.  If a sleeping pill is needed for a while, it is okay.

 

            4) I'll miss my favorite television programs, movies, parties, etc.  It is possible to leave parties earlier, schedule parties and movies earlier and record late television programs.

 

            5) I can't go to sleep earlier.  If I do, I'll be up at 3 AM.  This is a common excuse.   The section below regarding sleep difficulties may be helpful.  Many people are stimulated by toxic substances in the body that prevent them from relaxing thoroughly.  Blood sugar imbalances may also prevent one from sleeping through the night, for example.

 

            6) I have loads of energy.  Occasionally, this is the case.  A few people are healthy enough to get along on less sleep.  Most often, however, one is out of touch, stimulated by toxic metals in the body or using stimulants that irritate the nervous system.  It only appears one has loads of energy.  If this is the case, you will eventually become exhausted.   You might as well slow down now, before complete burnout occurs.

 

            7) I just love staying up.  Many people are night owls.  They enjoy the peaceful feeling at night when activities slow down.  It is a pleasure for many sensitive souls.  Sometimes creative work is easier to do at night. 

            However, depriving yourself of sleep is not the answer.  You may need to live in a quieter environment so you can experience  peace during the day.  Otherwise, arrange your schedule so that if you stay up, you can sleep in the morning or nap so you get enough sleep.  Ideally, go to bed very early and get up early when the world is still peaceful and quiet to experience the peace you need.

 

FOUR STAGES OR ASPECTS OF SLEEPING

 

            Sleeping actually involves at least four aspects of human physiology.  These are:

 

1. Rest.  The body simply rests.  This is extremely important for a number of hours each day.  Otherwise, the body literally can wear out sooner.  Rest is the time the body begins to regenerate itself.

 

2. Muscle relaxation.  Although this is similar to rest, it is listed separately because it is somewhat different.  The muscles require a special type of rest that is somewhat unique.  Just putting your feet up on the couch or in bed is excellent to relax most of the musculature of the body, another necessary aspect of rest and sleep.

 

3. Dreaming and rebuilding the body.  This aspect of rest requires that the conscious mind be put aside for a time.  Also, the best time for this process is the hours before midnight.  The other processes are not time-dependent.  The reasons appear to be complex, but the deep rebuilding of the body seems to occur the most in the hours before midnight to 1 AM.  This is why going to bed as early as is conveniently possible, and no later than 9 or 9:30 PM is excellent.  It is also why if you travel, stay on the local time zone with your sleeping habits.  Do not stay up until midnight just because you are accustomed to a different time zone, even for a few days.

 

4. Processing and learning.  This is divided into many aspects that are more esoteric.  Most people travel out of the physical body in what is called the finer body.  They literally learn study, teach, heal, assist others and may have other experiences during the sleep state.

 

 

HANDLING SLEEP DIFFICULTIES

 

            Sleep problems can be related to diet, lifestyle, the sleeping environment, biochemical imbalances, one’s temperament and other factors.  Here are suggestions for improving your sleep:

 

1) Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.   Install black velour fabric behind curtains or use other methods so your sleeping area is very dark, and preferably very quiet as well. 

 

2) Eat dinner early.  Eating late may leave undigested food in the stomach that interferes with sleep, especially if the food quantity is excessive or you have gas or other symptoms of indigestion.

 

3) Before bed, try to dissipate harmful or stray electromagnetic energies that we all pick up during the day.  Possible ways to do this include:

Š             Take a quick shower just before bedtime.  Do not take a bath every night, as many people do.  This can cause you to absorb too many toxins in the bath water, and it is quite yin, as well, in Chinese medical terminology.  A quick shower is best for this purpose.

Š             Get in a near infrared lamp sauna for at least 10-15 minutes.  Other saunas are not as good, but might work, too.

Š             Go out in the sun for several minutes after using the computer or television.  Do this also if you feel uncomfortable after being with a person whom you know is ill or has a ‘difficult’ personality.

Š             Shine a red “heat lamp” on your abdomen for 10 minutes or more before going to bed.  

4) Avoid sweets, juices or chocolate, especially at night.  Sugar upsets body chemistry and may cause one to toss and turn or to get up hungry in the middle of the night.

 

5) Avoid stimulants, particularly in the evening.  Stimulants just whip your body.  They always result in more tiredness eventually.  These include coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate and sugar in any form.  More subtle stimulants include anger, hatred, resentment, worry and fearfulness.  Remember this next time you listen to the news or watch a violent movie. 

 

6) Reduce mental activity in the evening.  If you have trouble sleeping, it is wise to forgo intense intellectual effort at night.  Relax, do light reading or other activities that do not overstimulate the mind.

            For example, you may need to turn off the computer at 6 PM and will only read or watch programs that are relaxing or engage in social activities after 6 or 7 PM.  Also, decide you will not initiate or take phone calls after perhaps 8 or 8:30 PM, since this can easily stimulate a person and keep one awake.

 

7) Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening.  Better to exercise in the morning or during the day.  In the evening , limit exercise to perhaps a gentle walk, an excellent way to end the day.

 

8) Do some spiritual reading before bed each night, rather than watch the nightly news or a movie.  This can make quite a difference for some people.  It is relaxing, uplifting, and can help one to have a sense of peace and tranquility.

 

9) Be sure you are warm enough, but not hot.  This includes your feet.  Wear socks if needed, or heat your feet with a heater.  A warm bath or sauna before bed can also be excellent.

 

10) Drink more earlier in the day.  Drink water in the morning and less after 6 PM so you are not having to get up many times to urinate at night.  Getting up at night is okay. For some people, however, it can disturb sleep if you do not fall asleep easily.

 

11) Some ventilation and movement of air is often helpful for sleeping.  This might mean running a ceiling fan or just cracking a window open a small amount if it is cold outside, for example.

 

12) Let go of physical tension in the body.  Methods that can be used include ten minutes of slow, deep breathing, gentle stretching or yoga in the evening

 

13) Foot reflexology is superb to relax before bed.  This is excellent to calm the nerves and help restore the natural energy flow in the acupuncture meridians of the body.         

Rub both entire feet, for at least five to ten minutes each.  Be sure to include rubbing all the toes, the top of the foot, the heel and a little ways up the legs.  Pay more attention to any area that is tender or painful.  Twisting the toes gently is also very good.

A reflexology sleep point.  A reflex point on the soft area about the middle of the bottom of the large toe, slightly nearer the inside of the toe next to the second toe, appears to be specific for assisting sleep and rest.

 

14) A chi machine can be fabulous just before bed.  This is a box that sits on the floor and you place your ankles in cradles on top of the box.  When activated, the machine gently moves your legs back and forth, relaxing the spine and the entire body.  These are not too expensive, as a simple one usually works just fine and cost about $120.00 new.

 

15) Do your best to let go of fears and worry at bedtime.  This may be why spiritual reading is so helpful for some people.  A simple affirmation might even be enough, particularly if repeated for a while so it becomes part of your lifestyle.  It could be something like "This day is complete.  I now release all worries and concerns to the holy spirit or the higher self and I rest peacefully.  I release this day."

 

16) A cool sleeping environment is often better than a hot, stuffy room.  If possible, have your sleeping area cooler than room temperature.

 

17) When traveling, many people sleep better by bringing their own pillow and even their own sheets or sleep pack if you are not sure how clean the sheets will be.  Also bring earplugs, which are great all the time if you need them, and an eye covering device to make sure the room is dark enough.

 

18) Ear plugs. These are often helpful, especially in noisy environments, when traveling, or when sleeping with a partner.  The foam rubber type are fine, but not nearly as good as the silicone type.  They cost more, but block much more sounds.

              Eye covering should not be needed if the room is very dark.  If this is not possible, such as when traveling or if a streetlight is nearby, perhaps, then eye covering can be excellent. 

 

19) Separate beds for partners can be a helpful idea, though it sounds horribly unromantic to some.  It is better energetically for many people.  It also helps assure that a partner’s visits to the bathroom, or just random tossing and turning will not wake you up.

 

20) Avoid most magnetic mattress pads.  Use care with these products.  Most help for a while.  However, discontinue their use after a few months to a year.  Prolonged use usually is not helpful and may be harmful.  A lot of 'magnetic deficiency syndrome' is caused by iron and other ferrous metal toxicity in the body.

 

21) The size and shape of pillows can make a difference.   A pillow should not cause undue strain on the neck.  Cervical pillows and other types are worth experimenting with.

 

22) Avoid becoming overtired.  When one is overtired, the adrenal glands are overstimulated.  One may need to unwind before going to bed in this case.  This is one of the most important reasons to go to bed early.  If one stays up for some reason, the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands will help keep you up by secreting some adrenal and thyroid hormones.  This is fine, except that when you wish to go to bed, you cannot sleep well as you are overstimulated.

 

23) If possible, sleep in, in the morning.  This may sound unusual.  Here is the explanation.  The adrenal glands become active about 5 AM.  Many people awaken at this time and want to get going.  However, this prevents the adrenals from resting more.  It is best to go back to sleep, if possible, or just lie awake and meditate, for example, and get up after 7 AM, when the adrenals are less active.  One may feel more tired at first, but it will help rest the adrenals.

 

24) Turn off  electronic appliances, or at least sleep 8-10 feet away from wifi, cell phones, TV sets, computers and all other sources of EMF (electromagnetic fields).  If at all possible, turn these devices off and do not keep alarm clocks right next to your head.  Battery powered devices are not nearly as much of a problem, however, if you need an alarm clock.

If you are very sensitive to electronic emissions, know that even turning off some electrical equipment is not always enough.  Listen carefully as many radios, boom boxes, tape decks and more have transformers that stay on even if the device is off.  These will disturb sensitive individuals and are not healthful for anyone during sleep.

Wifi should not be near your bed.  Move the router, modem and other components to other parts of the house or apartment.

            House wiring.  In some cases, sleep will improve radically if you make sure the electric power is off in your bedroom.  This is because even the wiring in the wall gives off powerful EMF and RF frequencies.  This is more work to install a special switch or circuit breaker, but I know people for whom it has made a lot of difference in their rest.

 

25) In a few cases, reduce your salt intake, but only if you are eating a lot of salt.  Even good quality sea salt can be somewhat stimulating for some people.  Avoid all table salt, which is a junk food.  Especially if eaten late at night, it can possibly be a stimulant that interferes with sleep.

 

26) Natural remedies.  Use calcium and magnesium during the day to assist sleep.  I always recommend extra calcium and magnesium for everyone, even if sleep is not a problem.  However, several clients have reported that taking more calcium and magnesium during the day as well, and not just before bed, helps them sleep better.  Most likely, the reason is it keeps the nervous system calmer all day and avoids one becoming as overtired or overstimulated.  The amount to take is usually about 500 mg of calcium and about 300 mg of magnesium three times a day with meals.  Even more is fine, if needed.

During the night, you can take more calcium and magnesium.  Chewing your supplement or taking a liquid calcium/magnesium supplement may be absorbed faster than simply swallowing a tablet to help one go back to sleep.  Beware that excessive magnesium is laxative for some people.  Also, too much calcium and magnesium is not helpful for long-term use unless you are guided by a professional.

 

Other natural sleep remedies.  Use the remedies discussed below on an as needed basis.  One can become dependent on them, which is not optimal.  Sleep remedies are most often excellent while on trips or in situations when you are under stress that interferes with your rest and sleep.  They should not be needed as your body heals on a nutritional balancing program.

            Note that the best time to take sleep remedies is while you are quiet and preparing for bed at an early hour.  They may be less helpful when one is anxious and tense, or at a late hour when the sympathetic nervous system has kicked in to give you extra energy because you did not rest when you should have.

            Remedies are just that.  They are not a substitute for correcting situations that interfere with your healthful early-to-bed, daily sleeping habits.

 

Natural Sleep Remedies.  One of the best is a cup of strong, freshly brewed, organic chamomile tea.  You can also try valerian root tea or Sleepytime tea available at health food stores.

These are excellent because they do not interfere with body chemistry to any significant degree.  For this reason, they can be used safely at any time.

Other nutrients.  Other sedative products include choline, inositol, threonine, and sedative herbs such as hops, passionflower and others.  See below under less recommended remedies for a number of others, many of which are related to copper toxicity.

Milk near bedtime.  An old sleep remedy is a small cup of warm milk.  Milk is high in tryptophan, calcium and has some magnesium.  This works well for many people and does not harm the body, as can the sleep-inducing drugs.  L-tryptophan or its precursor, 5-htp may also be used by themselves.  These are also very safe and helpful for many people.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland.  It definitely helps sleep in some people, and it seems to be harmless when used correctly.

Somewhat Less Recommended Sleep Remedies.  Copper toxicity is a very common cause for sleep difficulties.  Symptoms also include headaches, acne, rashes, premenstrual tension in young women and emotional ups and downs. 

If you suspect copper toxicity, which is discussed in another article, you may try a symptomatic approach, taking up to 30 mg of zinc, up to 200 mg of vitamin B6 with the evening meal or possibly before bed, and more in the middle of the night if needed.
            Note that to get rid of copper toxicity also requires a complete nutrition program to strengthen the adrenal glands and address other possible causes of copper toxicity.

            Avoid Chinese patent herbal remedies such as An Shui Wan and Worry Free, Sleep Easy (Shui de An).  Chinese herbs can contain toxic metals, even the best brands, in my experience.

 

27) Hydrotherapy.  An older method I have used is to stand in the back of a shower and allow cold water to run just on the legs and feet.  The water must be quite cold.  Take a warm shower first to warm up, if needed, or wear a night shirt to keep warm.  This procedure draws the blood down from the head to the feet very effectively.

To make it even more powerful, do not dry your legs.  Get into bed with them wet, as it will keep working once you are in bed.

 

28) Empty the bladder and bowels.  This may be obvious, but having a full bladder or being constipated will also interfere with sleep.

 

29) Listen to a boring lecture or other boring CD or tape.  This can be surprisingly good, and much better than listening to music or watching a movie, at times.
           

30) A nutritional balancing program will often identify many other hidden causes for sleep difficulties such as copper toxicity, mercury and other metal toxicity, calcium and magnesium imbalances, and so on.

 

31) Drug therapy for sleep is not usually needed if all the above is used.  Only consider it if you are doing all the above suggestions to no avail.

              In a few rare cases, sleep is so important that a sleeping pill can be helpful until your body chemistry is corrected so your body will relax enough to rest.  Do not take sleeping pills any longer than absolutely needed.  The following was excerpted from an article at www.Mercola.com:

 

A startling study in 20128 revealed that people who take sleeping pills are not only at higher risk for certain cancers (35 percent higher), but they are also nearly four times as likely to die as people who don't take them. The list of health risks from sleeping pills is growing all the time, including the following:

                            Higher risk of death, including from accidents

                            Increased risk of cancer

                            Increased insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain and diabetes

                            Complete amnesia, even from events that occurred during the day

                            Depression, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations

Studies recently submitted to the FDA revealed that blood levels of zolpidem (found in Ambien and other sleeping pills) above 50 ng/mL may impair your driving to a degree that increases the risk of an accident, especially among women. As a result, FDA recommended manufacturers cut the dosage of zolpidem from 10mg to 5mg for immediate-release products (Ambien, Edluar, and Zolpimist) and from 12.5 mg to 6.25 mg for extended-release products (Ambien CR).9

Are You Sleep-Tweeting?

Aside from increasing your risk for premature death, by taking sleeping pills, you may be in for some extremely awkward experiences. Sleeping pills can cause a variety of strange behavioral reactions10 that are not only bizarre but also potentially risky—and at the very least embarrassing. The following are being reported with increasing frequency:

                            Sleepwalking

                            Sleepdriving

                            Sleep eating (including bizarre things like buttered cigarettes, salt sandwiches, or raw bacon)

                            Sleep-sex or “sexsomnia” (sexual acts carried out in your sleep)

                            Sleep-texting or sleep-tweeting

These behaviors, called “parasomnias,” are more common when you are stressed or sleep-deprived, but can also be triggered by certain medications, such as sedatives and hypnotics. Reports of “sleep-texting” are on the rise.11 Users are shocked to find messages they have no memory of sending—some of which are total gibberish. If this happens to you, you may want to hide your smart phone from yourself when you go to bed at night and avoid the use of sleeping pills, which may trigger a social media nightmare.

 

“JUNK SLEEP” THREATENING TEENAGER’S HEALTH

 

    Electronic gadgets have overtaken many teenagers’ bedrooms, damaging their health due to lack of sleep, according to a British survey.

    The Sleep Council warns that “junk sleep” could rival the unhealthy junk food craze as a major lifestyle issue for parents of teenage children.

    Their poll of 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 to 16 revealed that 30 percent got only four to seven hours of sleep. And almost 25 percent said they fell asleep while watching TV, listening to music, or using some other electronic gadget.

    About 40 percent said they felt tired each day, and some 20 percent of the boys admitted their quality of sleep was affected by leaving their TV or computer on. However, only 11 percent said they were bothered by the lack of quantity, or quality, of sleep.

    Dr. Chris Idzikowski with the Edinburgh Sleep Centre stated, “What we are seeing is the emergence of Junk Sleep – that is sleep that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs to perform properly at school.”      

   

The Sleep Council Press Release

The Sleep Council Teenage Sleep: Facts, Figures & Tips

Scientific American August 28, 2007 

 

OTHER SLEEP ISSUES

 

If afternoon naps interfere with nighttime sleeping.  This happens, at times.  It is due to low vitality in some cases.  The person is somewhat delicate and the nap upsets the normal rhythm.  Often, as health improves, this problem disappears by itself.

In some cases, a person may, by taking an afternoon nap, upset their body chemical patterns enough to begin eliminating a stored stimulant such as caffeine, cadmium from cigarette or marijuana smoke or something else.  Releasing this chemical into the blood could also interfere with sleep later in the evening.

 

Random sleep habits.  Some people do remarkably well with a random sleep schedule.  It is often necessary in occupations such as a commercial airline pilot.  However, as a general rule, the more similar the sleep schedule each day, the better.

 

Night work shifts.  This is often difficult on many people.  If one is not feeling well on this schedule, do whatever you can to change it to a regular day shift, even a late shift.

 

              Sleep loss during nutritional balancing programs, and what to do if you cannot sleep well for one or even several nights.  This happens infrequently on a nutritional balancing program due to the release of a toxic metal or perhaps a toxic chemical such as a stimulant drug or even stored caffeine.  Here are simple measures to take:

1. Do not panic.  Nap the next day if at all possible. 

2. During the night, do your best to rest at night lying down.  If sleep is impossible, listen to quiet music, an instructional CD, the radio or other quiet activity.

3. You may do a coffee enema at night, even in the middle of the night if you have a headache or other toxic symptoms.  I have often been able to fall back asleep afterwards.  Perhaps use a little less coffee at night.

4. You may also use a sauna in the middle of the night, and it may help move a toxic reaction along faster or stop pain so you can sleep.

 

            Apartments and Condominiums.  Dwellings such as apartments and condominiums are hard to insulate as well as houses, though it can be done.  If you live in one, try to be sure you are not sleeping against a wall that has a large TV set or even a computer on the other side.  This applies to a regular home as well.

            Apartment type dwellings also have more electronic fields due to more people in them.  The best is often an end unit on either the first or the highest floors.  Get to know your neighbors and ask them to turn off the TV and computers and other electronic gadgets early if possible in the evening so you can go to bed early in a peaceful electronic environment.  Houses are preferable to apartments and condos, in part for this reason.

 

Snoring.  This can and does interfere with one’s sleep, not just your partner’s sleep.  Snoring occurs usually when the tongue blocks the airway a little. 

Many methods can help overcome snoring.  Nasal strips often work well by opening up the nostrils a bit.  Plastic strips are also sold that go inside the nose and may be more comfortable. 

Special physical exercises are also available that may help snoring. These are available through the intenet.  It is worth taking care of snoring in some bad cases, as it can lead to or indicate sleep apnea.  Losing weight helps some people stop snoring.

 

Hot flashes that keep one awake.  Some women at or near the menopause experience hot flashes at night that keep them awake.  For safe, simple ways to deal with this problem that often work well, without the need for drugs or natural hormones, read the article entitled Menopause. 

 

Sleeping with an ozonator/ionizer air purifier. This is recommended highly.  It adds a little oxygen to the air, which everyone needs today.  The machines are offered by Better Living or Eco-Quest, and perhaps by other manufacturers.  All are acceptable, as far as I know as long as they have an ozonator and an ionizer in them.  For more on how to acquire one of these machines inexpensively, click here. 

Place the machine in the bedroom, preferably high off the floor on a book shelf.  Set the ozone production to about half way.  Full power is too much and will irritate the lungs.  Close the bedroom door most of the way, ideally, to keep the ozone in the room. 

Do not be afraid of ozone – it is not harmful when used correctly.  Adding a little more even in a polluted city with a higher natural ozone level should be okay for most people, especially if one eats well and drinks some carrot juice that is high in vitamins C and E, the antioxidants.

 

SLEEP APNEA

 

            Some people do not rest well, though they may sleep.  One cause is sleep apnea.  With this condition, one stops breathing periodically during sleep.  The usual cause is the tongue slips back into the throat, blocking the air flow. 

            Detection of sleep apnea.  Sometimes a partner will just notice that you stop breathing at times.  However, the other way the problem is identified is to go to a sleep clinic.  These are available in many locations.  One goes to sleep at the clinic and cameras observe one’s breathing and movement during the night.

Correction.  The common medical treatment is to wear a face mask connected to a machine that pumps air into the mouth and nose.  It is called a continuous positive air pressure machine or CPAP machine.

Instead of this machine, which is somewhat costly and inconvenient, some doctors just recommend a splint in the mouth that keeps the tongue positioned correctly.  Also, a complete nutritional balancing program, especially losing weight, if needed, may correct the entire condition. 

 

HAIR MINERAL PATTERNS OF INSOMNIA

 

Hair analysis often tells us who has insomnia or a tendency for it.  Here are the patterns most associated with insomnia:

 

Copper Imbalance.  Copper causes the mind to race and enhances emotions, both of which interfere with sleep.  The hair copper level is often normal or even low.  Many people, however, have what is called hidden copper imbalance.  Assuming the hair test is performed correctly, which means the hair is not washed at the lab, indictors for copper imbalance include:

 

Š           Copper greater than about 2 mg% or less than 0.9 mg%.

Š           Zinc less than about 14 mg%

Š           Calcium greater than about 70 mg%

Š           Potassium less than about 4 mg%r

Š           Mercury greater than about 0.03 mg%

Š           Na/K ratio less than about 2 or greater than 10

 

A fast oxidation rate.  This is often associated with low calcium and magnesium, another common hair analysis pattern associated with insomnia.

 

Four low electrolytes pattern.  This is often associated with anxiety, irritability and impaired sleep.

 

Calcium and/or magnesium deficiencies. A hair calcium level below about 35 mg% or a hair magnesium less than about 4 mg% may indicate deficiencies that often interfere with rest and sleep.  

Calcium and magnesium are needed to relax the muscles and the nervous system.

 

Biounavailable calcium and/or magnesium. A hair calcium level greater than 175 mg%, or perhaps even less, often indicates some degree of biounavailable calcium and perhaps magnesium.  This is highly associated with insomnia in many instances because it is functionally the same as a deficiency. 

 

            Many other hair analysis imbalances may contribute to insomnia.  These include mercury toxicity, other high levels of toxic metals, and an imbalanced sodium/potassium ratio – either too high or too low.

 

REST AND SLEEP CRITICAL FOR DEVELOPMENT

 

            This is a specialized topic.  It is discussed in another article on this website, entitled Sleep And Development.

 

References

 

1. Dement, W.C. and Vaughan, C., The Promise of Sleep, Dell Publishing, NY, 1999.

2. Wiley, T.S., Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival. 2001.

 

 

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