Deep Sleep Naturally Blog

Natural Solutions for a Good Night's Sleep

Insomnia and napping

Napping for 20-40 minutes before 3pm is ok and can help with productivity.  Napping any longer or later in the day may intefere with regular sleep cycles.  Also napping should not be used instead of sleeping about  7 1/2-8 hours per night but rather as an adjunct to overall health and well-being.  Naps have been shown to help reduce heart disease and increase cognitive brain function.


Stages of Sleep

STAGES OF SLEEP

I have been a practicing chiropractor for a number of years. I have treated upwards of 10,000 patients. In the last few years I have seen more and more patients who are having difficulties sleeping. A person will sleep better, if they have a better understanding of what is going on when they sleep. 

Sleep is an active state which affects you both physically and mentally. In the last few years information has been published about Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) and sleep.  When a patient comes into my office and has a sleep problem, I discuss aspects of CBT with them. There are no easy, quick answers. In my book I go into a discussion and provide information about the natural solutions and ways to deal with sleep problems.

There are eighty plus different types of sleep disorders, and you can have more than one. Sleep is mysterious and can be confusing. If you are sleeping okay throughout the night, you are moving up and down through deep and shallow sleep. There are basically two stages of sleep: non-Rapid Eye Movement (non-REM) and REM sleep.

The actual time it takes to fall asleep varies from individual to individual. If you are falling asleep the minute you put your head on your pillow you are over tired. It should take you about ten to fifteen minutes to drift off and enter stage 1. Stage 1 is the shortest of the stages. It is very close to waking. When you climb into bed you should feel relaxed and aware of your surroundings. 

As you enter stage 1 you can still hear sounds and can be easily be awakened. It is during stage 1 that the alpha brain waves of drowsiness yield to theta brain waves. It is, if you will, like a curtain dropping, separating you from the outside world. The quality of sleep changes as you move from one stage into the next stage, as each stage is independent and characterized by subtle changes in bodily function. If you should wake up during stage 2, stay in bed and you will continue to drift off. As sleep gets deeper and deeper, it becomes harder to wake up. Stage 2 is preparing you for deep sleep.

Stage 3 and 4 are deep sleep stages. Stage 3 is characterized by delta waves and some faster waves. In stage 4 the brain is only putting forth the slow delta waves. One is no longer conscious in stage 4; it isn’t easy to wake someone up when they are in stage 4. It is during the deep stages of non-REM sleep that our bodies start the process of repairing tissue and strengthening the immune system. It is during this stage that the brain releases hormones and chemical messengers that work to stimulate cellular activity throughout the body. 
In general Stages 1–4 usually should last from 90 to 120 minutes. Stages 2 and 3 repeat before Stage 5 or REM sleep. So, a normal sleep cycle has this pattern: waking, stage 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, REM. Usually, the first REM sleep stage occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset. Upon entering REM sleep all voluntary muscles become completely paralyzed and brain activity increases. Non-REM and REM sleep alternate in a cyclical manner, approximately 4 to 6 cycles throughout the night and are interspersed with brief periods of wakefulness.

 Good night!


Foods to help you sleep better

Tart cherry juice has some naturally occuring melatonin. Milk has tryptophan. Bananas also have natural tryptophan. All of these before bed can help you sleep better.  Start with 1-2 ounces of tart cherry juice, maybe a half a banana, and a small glass of low fat or non fat organic milk before bed.


Long weekends and sleep schedule

It is always a good idea to go to sleep and wake up the same time each day.  This includes weekends also.  If we change our bedtime and waketime on the weekends it can interfere with insomnia.  It is ok to sleep a little extra on the weekends but not change the wake sleep cycle too drastically.


Antiaging and sleep!!!

Many studies now show that without adequate deep,  nourishing sleep of 8 hours per night you are running the risk of being more susceptible to obesity, diabetes,heart disease, stroke and even cancer, as well as depression.  Nothing will give you antiaging and disease free living  like  great sleep!!!!


Do you have a problem / Intrinsic Sleep Disorders

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM / INTRINSIC SLEEP DISORDERS

As we have mentioned earlier, there are over eighty (80) different types of sleeping disorders. It is my firm belief that if you are having trouble with sleep, it is going to help you a lot if you can identify and narrow it down to the type of specific disorder you are dealing with. The different disorders are arranged into four groups. These are very interesting and we are going to have a lot more to say about them in upcoming blogs, but for now, I’m going to focus on the intrinsic disorders, which are the sleeping disorders that make it difficult to get to sleep, or to remain sleeping. However, I’d also like to quickly mention a second category known as the extrinsic disorders, which are disorders that either originate or develop from causes outside the body. These are known as nocturnal eating syndrome, sleep-related eating, sleep eating disorder, night eating disorder, and nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder. We will have more to say about them in upcoming blogs.   

Basically we are going to discuss two problems – one, if you are having trouble falling asleep, and two, if you’re having trouble getting up in the morning.  Okay, so what do we know about the intrinsic disorders. There are several. The first one I’d like to discuss is what is known as excessive sleepiness. This is when one is dealing with a prolonged major sleep period. In other words you aren’t getting up when you should. If you are finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning you have a problem. There is a good chance that it is self-imposed. It’s a habit you have developed for your own personal reasons over time. Its onset is usually sneaky, and you are usually not aware of it at first. If left unchecked over time it causes problems. Studies show that excessive sleepiness can hurt work performance, wreak havoc on relationships, and lead to mood and emotional problems like anger and depression.  As a result you might not be showing up to work on time, and we all know what that can lead to. Also one’s partner might bear the brunt of your excessive sleepiness. You might start blaming your partner for your problems. The way to start treating this is with making some behavioral changes. As with any major sleep disorder, they aren’t always that easy to fix and you can have more than one. However, there is hope. We have discussed a whole host of natural things that you can do in our book: The Deep Sleep Diet. You don’t have to run to your doctor and start popping pills. 

          The second type of intrinsic disorder is onset insomnia. This is what happens when the major sleep episode is delayed in relation to time that you would like to go to bed and fall asleep. In other words, you climb into bed, rest your head on your pillow and can’t fall asleep. The point of normal sleep onset is delayed. If it is taking you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep you are dealing with onset insomnia. I should point out that when talking about insomnia there are three primary types. If the symptoms last a week or so, you are dealing with transient insomnia. If the symptoms are lasting somewhere between one and three weeks, you are dealing with short term insomnia. If they are lasting more than three weeks you are dealing with chronic insomnia.

Most people will eventually fall asleep. But, as I mentioned, if it is taking you more than thirty minutes to fall asleep and this is something that is ongoing, you should take some action, as the sleep onset latency period can easily affect the quality of your sleep. There are a number of causes for this sort of thing. Changes in your lifestyle (you might have just moved or just changed your job), temporary stressors, (you might be having some difficulties at work) all forms of anxiety (someone in the family might be facing a medical emergency), habitually drinking coffee or caffeinated soda before going to bed, and lack of exercise. They all are significant, but there are some things you can do to help out. I have found that exercise is a big one. There are a number of really good yoga exercises which we discuss in our book, which if you were to do them shortly before bedtime, they could make a big difference. Again, there are plenty of other good suggestions in our book: The Deep Sleep Diet.


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