PERREAULT Magazine September 2014 - Page 63

How often do you wake up feeling refreshed; like you slept like a baby, like you can move mountains because you have so much energy stored up in your rested muscles?

Some of my patients refer to sleep hours as a non-productive part of their day; a waste of time. Imagine the expression on their faces as I remind them we spend one third of our lives sleeping. I usually follow up by asking: “when was the last time you stayed up all night, to party, or study, or prepare for the next day, with or without the use of stimulants?”

Can you feel that in your body for a minute? How does it feel? Doesn’t it feel like you are groggy, short-tempered, and anxious ,but at the same time exhausted, nauseated, with muscles and joint aches, dizzy, and unable to think straight? (For the treatments of these symptoms see the Homeopathic treatment of Jet Lag below.)

We all agree that there are many benefits to sleep. The three most important benefits are balancing physiology, restoring health, and emotional relief. If you research the literature the health benefits are as follow: enhances learning and memory and attention, decreased inflammation, live longer, balances weight, lowers stress and depression, better sex life, and better cardiovascular health and diabetes control.

There are a multitude of hormones coursing through our veins that direct the regular daily functions of our bodies. For example, the Thyroid Hormone is in charge of our metabolism and its concentration changes during the day. Cortisol is responsible for increasing blood sugar to give us energy during the day. Its levels normally drop at night so we have less stimulation and can fall sleep. Cortisol levels start to rise around 5 am so that by morning we have energy and feel alert. Growth Hormone increases in the morning hours as well to wake us up and is responsible for growth of muscles, bones, and the repair of damaged tissue.

Other hormones like Serotonin and GABA calm us down and make it easier to fall sleep and stay sleep. In essence the fluctuations of these hormones help with our ability to sleep, likewise their concentration is modulated by the amount of normal sleep we get.

Normal sleep is characterized by physical inactivity and changes in the state of consciousness and perception of stimuli by sensory organs.

How much sleep do I need? How much sleep does my teenage daughter need? How much sleep does my grandfather need? I get asked these questions a lot. Sleep is divided into 25% REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and 75% non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is divided into stages 1-4 and starts with a meditative phase in stage one, and progressively gets deeper as one goes through stages 2, 3 and 4. Then begins REM sleep, which is the portion that consists of dreaming and is considered to be the restorative phase of sleep. During REM sleep voluntary muscles are paralyzed so that one does not act out their dreams. We know that the sleep requirements of a person who has an illness increases and thus there is a correlation between restoration of health and the amount of sleep one needs. The sleep patterns of people with emotional issues also change. We have all felt a feeling of betterment after a good night’s sleep when we have been emotionally challenged.

REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and recurs every 90 minutes. It gets longer during the early morning hours. It provides energy to the brain and body and enhances daytime performance. During REM sleep EEG tracings show an active brain. It is when we dream. Our larger muscles are paralyzed during this phase so that we don’t act out our dreams, although the eyes move back and forth rapidly.

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