By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
Medical research confirms that sleep helps your heart, arteries, blood sugar, immune system, skin and much more. Thousands of people do not get enough rest and sleep. Most doctors ignore this essential healing factor.WHY GET MORE SLEEP?
1. Many 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. Fatigue may be due to lack of sleep, or to illness, nutritional imbalances or other causes. Most everyone should get 8 or 9 hours of sleep daily to be fully rested. 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.
You many 11 or even 12 hours of sleep daily for months or more to undo a sleep deficit. The trouble is, prolonged fatigue contributes to nutritional imbalances that may not be so easily undone by just sleeping. However, it is possible to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and the other names this syndrome is given.
2. 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.
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:
* 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.
* Using stimulants. Their energy is false. One of these days it will catch up with them and they will become ill.
* They are energy vampires. This is unfortunately common. Many people consciously or unconsciously have learned to drain the energy of 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 to themselves.
Those who are energy vampires will not recognize themselves and probably will not read this article. If you are feel exhausted around someone, it is important to protect yourself by removing yourself or reducing interaction with the energy vampire. Having your energy drained leads to serious illnesses like cancer. This is a challenge for many people.
3. Cleansing and Rebuilding the Body Require Energy. Elimination of toxins, which in my experience is 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.
4. Much activity and learning goes on during sleep. Sleep is anything but 'down time'. During sleep, the soul leaves the imprisonment of the physical body and moves to different realms where it converses with teachers, helps other souls, interacts socially with other souls and experiences healing on many levels. If you deprive yourself of these experiences, your health and well-being will suffer greatly.
5. Mental processing occurs during sleep. Often, during the day, thought processes are not completed due to interruptions or other distractions. The mind completes thought processes during sleep. You may notice that problems that seemed difficult are solvable after a night's rest. This can be due to increased energy, but is also due to actual problem-solving that goes on during sleep.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 demolished this excuse . 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 usually requires a metabolic health 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, but to begin correcting body chemistry. However, not sleeping will only make the problem worse. Get at least 9-10 hours of sleep.
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.
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.HANDLING SLEEP DIFFICULTIES
Sleep problems can be related to diet, lifestyle, the sleeping environment, biochemical imbalances, ones temperament and other factors. Here are suggestions for improving your sleep.
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) Be sure you are warm enough. This includes your feet. Wear socks if needed or heat your feet with a heater. A warm bath or sauna before bed is also excellent.
7) Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Install black velour fabric behind curtains or use other methods so your sleeping area is dark.
8) Let go of physical tension in the body. One can use natural therapies such as massage, chiropractic, rolfing, jin shin jyutsu and other techniques to reduce tension. At home, one may rub the feet, breathe deeply and do other simple procedures before bed to release tensions.
9) Let go of fears and worry at bedtime. Do your best to leave all problems and concerns behind when you go to sleep. A simple affirmation can be helpful, 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."
10) Fresh air is often helpful for sleep. Be sure the room is not stuffy. Open a window slightly so that fresh air can enter the room.
11) The type of bed or mattress can matter a lot. Many are available to choose from and it is wise to experiment if sleep is a problem. Old sagging mattresses are often the worst. Some can be corrected with a bed board. Newer types of mattresses offer many sleep options. I do not recommend water beds, although many people like them. I don't think it is ideal to be sleeping on water.
12) Sleeping with the head facing north or near that direction can be helpful. Sleep is affected by the magnetic field of the earth. However, I do not recommend sleeping on magnetic mattress pads. These may help for a while, but may upset delicate balances in the body. A lot of 'magnetic deficiency syndrome' is caused by iron and other ferrous metal toxicity in the body.
13) 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.
14) Avoid becoming overtired. When one is overtired, the adrenal glands are overstimulated. One may need to unwind before going to bed in this case.
15) If possible, sleep in in the morning. This one 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 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.NATURAL HELP FOR SLEEP
Copper toxicity is very common and almost always causes sleep difficulties. In these instances, a symptomatic approach is to take up to 50 mg of zinc,up to 300 mg of vitamin B6 and up to 400 mcg of molybdenum at the evening meal or possibly before bed, and more in the middle of the night if needed. One also needs a complete nutrition program to strengthen the adrenal glands and address other possible causes of copper toxicity.
Calcium, magnesium and zinc are called the sedative minerals. They are commonly replaced by toxic metals such as cadmium, lead or mercury as one becomes nutritionally depleted. The toxic metals have stimulating effects that interfere with sleep. Also, in slow oxidizers, calcium and magnesium become biounavailable, which interferes with relaxation and sleep. Many people are helped by taking up to 1200 mg of chelated calcium and up to 800 mg of magnesium with the evening meal. More may be taken at bedtime and more in the middle of the night. During the night, liquid calcium/magnesium will be absorbed faster than tablets to help one go back to sleep.
Many other natural substances can help sleep. Among these are teas made with valerian, hops, passion flower, camomile, skullcap and other relaxing herbs. Other symptomatic remedies are tryptophan, 5-HTP or melatonin. Others are Chinese patent herbal remedies An Shui Wan and Worry Free, Sleep Easy (Shui de An). I do not recommend melatonin as much as the others, as it is a hormone that may have other unwanted effects.SLEEP APNEA
Some people do not rest well, though they may sleep. One cause is sleep apnea in which one stops breathing periodically during sleep. The usual cause is the tongue slips back into the throat, blocking the air flow. The common medical treatment is to wear a face mask connected to a machine that pumps air into the mouth and nose. However, some doctors just use is a splint in the mouth that keeps the tongue positioned correctly. Also, nutritional balancing may correct the entire condition. 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. Dr. Lawrence Wilson
P.O. Box 54
Prescott, AZ 86302-0054
Visit http://www.drlwilson.com/ for books, and audio tapes from Dr. Wilson.