Get your Sleep Disorder into Order

Just a quick reminder that I will be finishing up for 2012 on Friday 21st December 2012 and back again on Tuesday 8th January 2013. If you have an urgent need for assistance between these days, please contact me direct as I am on call for emergency situations only.

Good Saturday everyone...just a few more days and most of you will be able to laze around and catch up on the rest you missed the rest of the year!  For those of my readers who are shift working and in emergency or volunteer services over the festive period, thank you for your commitment and special mention because you are also at risk of developing poor sleep patterns - this one goes out to you too! This is a two part series as well, so stay tuned for next weekend's wrap up of this important subject.

This is a huge topic so I will be laying down the basic rules on how to achieve great regular fulfilling and delicious sleep.  I rate this part of your day as having equal weight of importance to eating, exercising and relaxation in order to keep your body youthful, healthy and energetic.  We need around 7.5 - 8 hours of sleep and some research shows that between 5 and 7 hours of sleep most nights increase your risk of obesity. Outside of your individual circumstances, most of the tips in this two part series will be most helpful when implemented consistently or even frequently.

We are creatures of habit, we work in cycles and work best when there is a rhythm to the cycle.  The Circadian Rhythm is our natural wake/sleep cycle that when allowed to work in balance, equals a happy healthy human.  However, there is a large (in fact huge)percentage of the population who have this cycle well out of rhythm.  Depending on how long you've been out of balance for, the time taken in reestablishing your regular sleep pattern and all contributing habits around it can result in a quick or latent recovery.  The main thing to remember is that your body has an innate ability to recover when given the right consistent environment to do so - so at all costs, stick with it.

Shift workers are understandably at high risk for the sleep deprivation related symptoms (weight gain, hormonal disturbances, digestive problems, occupational functioning impairment, cardiovascular and breathing disorders, immune disturbances, depression and inflammatory disorders).

Other contributors to this cycle being thrown out of rhythm are:

  • Deficiencies in tryptophan, vitamin B3, adenosine, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and vitamin E
  • Metal toxicity such as copper and aluminium (a hair analysis can easily determine this and other metal excesses)
  • Low iron levels (either due to diet or absorption problems)
  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Noise and light interruptions
  • Alcohol excess (interrupts the onset of sleep, alters blood glucose levels, increases wakefulness in the second half of sleep)
  • Medication (aspirin, oral contraceptives and thyroid medications can interrupt sleep cycles)
  • Low production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain (this can be tested easily and inexpensively)
  • Infections
  • Over and under hydration
  • Low and excessively high blood sugar levels
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Anxiety and adrenal fatigue

Remember - bear in mind it could take some time to get your sleep mojo back, but be patient and when you can't sleep - aim to keep rested rather than anxious about being awake - most of the time you do drift back if you stay calm...night!

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