There is an additional twist to the hypoglycaemic tale which complicates the situation further. When one becomes stressed for whatever reason, one releases stress hormones in order to allow one to cope with that stress.
Insulin is such a stress hormone and has the effect of shunting sugar in the blood stream into cells. This produces a drop in blood sugar levels and also causes hypoglycaemia.
Therefore, hypoglycaemia can be both a cause of stress and the result of stress, indeed, another one of those vicious cycles that are so often seen in disease states.
There are a lot of people who are crazy about yoga. The reason why most people do yoga is that it makes them feel better, and it gets them into shape. The different poses and postures help to make your body healthy. Yoga is for most people, the best way to relax and unwind. If your aim is to keep your body in shape, this might be the best exercise for you.
Did you know that yoga is good to fight of certain illness? There have been numerous research, which proved that yoga helps you to control anxiety, reduces asthma, arthritis, blood pressure, back pain, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, epilepsy, diabetes, headaches, stress and many more.
Yoga has a lot of benefits and advantages. All in a day’s work, it can reduce tension and stress. Of course after a heavy day, you will feel that your muscles have been stuck up, and you will feel wasted.
If you do yoga, your self esteem will be higher. It is important to gain more confidence inside and out so that you can face people with no worries.
Yoga is good for the body in increasing your muscle tone, strength, endurance and flexibility.
If you are too fat and conscious about your body figure, yoga can help you lower your fat and keep your body in shape. Yoga exercises can burn excess fat and give you the desired figure that you want.
If you need time to relax and forget your responsibilities, yoga will be good to improve your concentration and enhance your creativity. Yoga will help you to think in a more positive way. If you have a fresh mind, you can think of good things and apply it easily.
Your body needs to relax once in a while. Sometimes, work can leave us wasted and exhausted. During the heavy days, we may not find time to unwind because work is still on our mind. Yoga can help you create a sense of calmness and well being.
Yoga exercise helps you improve a good circulation. Your organs and veins need to be exercised for it to function properly. Yoga can help stimulate your immune system and keep diseases at bay. If you have a good immune system, you can be sure that you are free from sickness.
Some people do yoga to be enlightened. They believe that yoga will help them bring up their spirit and keep them relieved. Yoga works differently for everyone, be it spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental and physical.
People think that yoga is only for spiritual people. But that belief is wrong. Even if you are not that religious, you can still do yoga. You will see and feel the difference at the same time. Find out how it works for you.
Due to the pressure and demands of life, we become stressed out, and we forget the essence of life. We tend to lose touch with the ones we used to spend time with, even ourselves.
We find that we are, most of the time, having to deal with deadlines and the hassle of keeping up with the paste of life. This leaves us a small time to wander and have that physical awareness.
Of all the Essential Oils, Lavender is unquestionably the most versatile and well-used oil and is also one of the few oils
that can be applied to the skin without diluting first. The antiseptic properties of lavender make it, especially valuable in skin care.
Lavender’s calming and soothing properties have a balancing effect on body and mind. Which is ideal when you’re stressed and tensed, and you’re in desperate need of relaxation. Furthermore, it will help, bring you in the mood to sleep.
The oil is extracted from the flowering tips of the evergreen shrub. It is cultivated in southern Europe, and in countries as apart as Australia and Britain.
Lavender was a favourite bathtime cleanser for the ancient Romans and has been used to speed healing.
Since the 18th century, it has been used in soap, perfumes, talc and pot-pourri
The essential oil is one of the most commonly used. It is both relaxing and stimulating, a powerful antiseptic and healer.
It also calms, refreshes, invigorates and lifts the spirit.
In aromatherapy it is excellent for tension, tiredness or depression, skin problems and aches or pains.
Because it is so gentle, it may be applied undiluted to burnt skin or insect bites and is safe to use during pregnancy.
Massage, baths, inhalation, poultice, compress.
A few drops in a hot bath will make you feel pleasantly drowsy and relieve anxiety. In a cool bath, it will refresh and energise.
Inhale a few drops from a tissue to clear the head and lift the spirits.
In massage, it is good for tense muscles or mental fatigue.
A lavender bath at night or a few drops on a pillow produce a calming effect.
Give your feet a treat with a delicious lavender foot bath.
Lavender is a brilliant first aider – dab neat onto cuts, abrasions, burns, insect bites and stings and watch how fast they heal.
It blends well with most oils, especially:
It is perfectly safe for home use.
All living creatures have times in their cycle when they shut down their metabolic activity for healing and repair to take place. In humans we call this sleep. During the flu epidemic after the First World War, a few sufferers developed neurological damage in which they lost the ability to sleep. All were dead within two weeks – this was the first solid evidence that sleep is an absolute essential for life. Happily the body has a symptom which tells us how much sleep we need. It is called tiredness – ignore this at your peril! During sleep we heal and repair, during our waking hours we cause cell damage. If there is insufficient sleep, then the cell damage exceeds healing and repair and our health gradually ratchets downhill. Lack of sleep is a major risk factor for all degenerative conditions from heart disease to cancer and neurological disorders.
Humans evolved to sleep when it is dark and wake when it is light. Sleep is a form of hibernation when the body shuts down in order to repair damage done through use, to conserve energy and hide from predators. The normal sleep pattern that evolved in hot climates is to sleep, keep warm and conserve energy during the cold nights and then sleep again in the afternoons when it is too hot to work and hide away from the midday sun. As humans migrated away from the Equator, the sleep pattern had to change with the seasons and as the lengths of the days changed.
Get the hours of sleep
People needed more sleep during the winter than in the summer in order to conserve energy and fat resources. Furthermore during the summer humans had to work long hours to store food for the winter and so dropped the afternoon siesta. But the need for a rest (if not a sleep) in the middle of the day is still there. Therefore it is no surprise that young children, elderly and people who become ill often have an extra sleep in the afternoon and for these people that is totally desirable. Others have learned to “power nap”, as it is called, during the day and this allows them to feel more energetic later. If you can do it then this is an excellent habit to get into – it can be learned!
The average daily sleep requirement is nine hours, ideally taken between 9.30pm and 6.30am, i.e. during hours of darkness, but allow for more in the winter and less in the summer. An hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after – this is because human growth hormone is produced during the hours of sleep before midnight.
To show how important the balance of hours of sleep and rest are, divide the day into 12 hours of activity and 12 hours of rest. If you have one extra hour of activity (13 hours), you lose an hour of rest and sleep (11 hours). The difference is two hours!
Our biological clock is set by light. Electricity gets in the way here! Our forbearers went to bed when it was dark, simply because it was cold, boring and probably expensive on energy to do otherwise. Their daily biological clock was reset daily. They slept longer in the winter as they went into a semi-hibernation state in order to conserve energy when food supply was low. Conversely, during the summer they had shorter sleeping hours and longer working hours in order to store up food and resources to allow them to survive the next winter. People living on the Equator, of course, have the same sleep requirement throughout the year, but the further away from the Equator one is, the more obvious is this change from winter to summer. We have lost respect for those annual rhythms – actually we all need more sleep during the winter than in the summer because we go into a state of semi-hibernation and our behaviour should reflect this. Many people get into a habit of sleeping shorter hours in the summer and sustain this same pattern through the winter artificially. As a result, as a nation we are chronically sleep deprived. The average sleep requirement is for nine hours, but the national average is 7 ½ hours. Lack of sleep is a major risk factor for heart disease, cancer and, of course, chronic fatigue syndrome.
We can use light to help re-establish our biological clock. We need bright light during the day. This switches off melatonin production and melatonin is, of course, the sleep hormone. The best light is full spectrum light and we all prefer to sit in sunshine, or next to natural light from windows. Failing that one can use light from a full spectrum light box.
Conversely, at night we should use light, or rather darkness, to allow our own endogenous melatonin
production to happen. The only way to do this is to be disciplined about the time at which one goes to bed, and not allow electricity to get in the way of adequate sleep. I often jokingly threaten my patients with cutting off their power supply to their house every night at 9pm, which would certainly help them to restore a more normal circadian rhythm! It may take some weeks or months for the body to adjust, but this is vital for short and long term health. The bedroom should be dark for melatonin to be produced – light pollution is a major problem and blackout curtains may be necessary.
Disturbed sleep is a common symptom of hypoglycaemia
When blood glucose levels fall for any reason, glycogen stores in the liver many be mobilised to prop them up. Another rapid and very effective way in which the body repletes the low glucose is by conversion of short chain fatty acids to glucose. In a healthy person on a good balanced diet the only time this is of
importance is during the night because of the long break between food intake. Short chain fatty acids are used to prop up circulating glucose and prevent a fall below whatever that person’s usual fasting glucose level is. Short chain fatty acids are made in the gut by bacteria fermenting fibre (and such starch as escapes small intestinal digestion). Production is maximised from about 3 hours after food intake.
That is to say, short chain fatty acids are highly protective against the dips we see in blood sugar.
Therefore, a key symptom of a hypoglycaemic tendency is disturbed sleep. This occurs typically at 2 – 3 am, when blood sugar levels fall and there are insufficient short chain fatty acids to maintain a blood sugar. Low blood sugar is potentially serious to the brain, which can only survive on sugar and, therefore, there is an adrenalin reaction to bring the blood sugar back, but this wakes the sleeper up at the same time. Alcohol – the commonest symptom of alcohol causing hypoglycaemia is sleeplessness.
Initially alcohol helps one to go to sleep, but then it wakes one up in the small hours with rebound
Recognise the sleep wave
Actually sleep does not gradually creep up on us during the evening – it comes in waves. There is a sleep wave about every 90 minutes and you will get to sleep most efficiently if you learn to recognize and ride the sleep wave. Often there is a lesser one earlier in the evening when people drop off to sleep in front of the telly, or they jump and make a cup of tea to wake themselves up because “they are not ready to go to bed” – actually they are! My sleep wave comes at 9.20 and I like to be in bed reading well before this — it is immediately recognisable now I have learnt to expect it!
Other causes of poor sleep
- Get the right hormonal balance.
- High level of DHEA mean low levels of melatonin.
- Hypothyroidism can certainly present with insomnia
- Hypoglycaemia can be a major main cause
- Menopausal Sweating. I am increasingly coming to view that this is a symptom of low blood sugar
- Bio-rhythms or circadian rhythms
Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins and is also known as Cobalamin. It is the most complex vitamin in the human body. It is essential for a range of healthy bodily functions including the production of red blood cells, the health of the nervous system, immune function and sperm production.
There is also evidence to suggest that Vitamin B12 reduces cancer risk and the chances of suffering from heart disease.
The fact that the body does not store this important substance efficiently means that to avoid the levels of Vitamin B12 depleting rapidly it must be regularly absorbed into the body from food.
Fortunately, research is uncovering various conditions and illnesses that are thought to be linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in quite a wide range of foods but because it is only produced by bacterial fermentation-synthesis, it is only found naturally in animal products.
It is commonly added to foods and is available as a supplement or as a vitamin B12 spray. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can easily become deficient in vitamin B12 or they may absorb enough to avoid severe deficiency but not to protect against the risk of heart disease or dangerous complications during pregnancy.
For this reason vegetarians and vegans should be especially aware of their vitamin B12 intake. The body can safely take on high doses of vitamin B12 because any that is not needed can be either stored or excreted.
The following are sources rich in vitamin B12;
Lamb’s liver and pork liver are amongst the richest sources of vitamin B12. Lamb’s liver provides 85.7μg (1428% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, a truly impressive vitamin B12 content.
Shellfish are another excellent source of vitamin B12, especially oysters, clams and mussels. These also provide other important substances such as zinc, copper and iron in significant amounts.
Clams contain 98.9μg per 100g serving, accounting for 1648% of the RDA. That is 84μg (1401% RDA) per 3 ounce serving, and 187.9μg (3132% RDA) in 20 small clams, or 9.4μg (156.6 %RDA) in one small clam!
Crab and lobster are also high in vitamin B12, not as high as clams etc but a 100g portion of crab contains 11.5μg of vitamin B12 (192% of the RDA).
Lobster can provide 4.04μg (67% RDA) per 100g serving, or 6.59μg (110% RDA) in an average whole lobster (163g).
There are many types of fish that provide substantial levels of vitamin B12.
Mackerel provides the most vitamin B-12 with 19μg per 100g serving (317% RDA),
followed by Herring (312% RDA),
Trout (130%), and Bluefish (104%).
Fish eggs (caviar) are also high in vitamin B12.
The eggs of white fish contain the most vitamin B-12 with 56.4μg (940% RDA) per 100g serving.
Caviar contains a third of that with 20μg (333% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving.
While octopus is more commonly found in traditional Mediterranean and eastern cooking, it is becoming more popular on a global level.
Octopus typically provides 36μg of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving accounting for 600% of the RDA.
The amount of vitamin B12 in beef depends on the cut you choose but the best choice in terms of vitamin B12 levels is lean chuck steak, followed by sirloin then rib-eye.
Lean lamb is a good source of vitamin B12 and also is a good source of protein and zinc. Lamb shoulder is the best cut of lamb for vitamin B12 levels.
As well as providing calcium and vitamin B2, cheese is a fairly good source of vitamin B12.
Swiss cheese provides the most with 3.34μg (56% RDA) per 100g serving,
followed by Gjetost (40% RDA),
Parmesan (38% RDA),
Tilsit (35% RDA), and Feta (28% RDA).
Chicken eggs are another fairly good source of vitamin B12 , the yolk has the highest level. Goose eggs and duck eggs have even higher levels of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Not getting enough vitamin B12 leads to a deficiency which causes the red blood cells that are produced to be larger than normal and unable to function properly.
This is more common in older people but can affect people of all ages.
Vitamin deficiencies often go unnoticed. Therefore it can be difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause of the wide ranging symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency;
Because vitamin B12 is of influence in so many systems in the body, the symptoms of a deficiency will be different for everyone.
Where one person in particular suffer from fatigue, tingling, memory loss and problems with muscle cramps, someone ells can be suffering from an inflamed tongue, menstruation complaints, trouble concentrating and depression.
The symptoms can also vary during the years.
- Weird feeling in the feet (feeling of walking on felt, wadding or pads; surface feeling is disturbed, under-sensitivity to pain; burning sensation on the skin)
- Tingling feeling (in the feet and hands and later in legs, arms, face “feels like being charged “; “ants walk”; also numbness in hands and feet, shaky hands, loss of control over your arms/legs)
- Concentration and memory problems (can’t think clearly, wadding head, drowsiness)
- Heavy and stiff feeling in the legs (pain in the hips)
- Fasciculaties /myokymieën (muscle vibrations; contraction of a small part of a muscle most common near the eye, but can be in other places of the body; involuntary movements, restless legs)
- Ataxia, loss of position (unstable / difficult walk, stumble; walking like being drunk until no longer able to walk; walking against things; unexplained fall; dropping things out of your hands; being clumsy)
- Aphasia (problems with speaking; using wrong words; can’t remember the right words; speaking with “double tongue”; “keyboard-aphasia”: swapping letters)
- Mental health problems:
“Short fuse” / irritability; Mood swings; Irrational to serious mental complaints
- Panic attacks and suicidal behaviour; Nervousness; Psychosis; Paranoia
- Dementia (memory loss); Depression; Confusion
- Fatigue (sometimes very tired)
- Drowsiness (need a lot of sleep, just fall asleep spontaneously)
- Lack of energy
- Discolorution around the knockles (skin is browner then the rest of your fingers)
- Glossitis (inflamed tongue; burning, painful or irritated tongue, especially among seasoned/spicy food, sour drinks and when brushing your teeth; inflamed and/or bloody gums; iron-/metal taste); Canker sores
- Tightness of chest (angineuze pains, palpitations, arrhythmias, accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath)
- Being cold (sometimes a burning sensation on the skin)
- Myalgia (muscle pain after exercise, is worse than before; sometimes muscle cramps; muscle weakness; strength loss)
- Pain (including back, hands, wrists, joints, hips and knees)
- Inflammation in the digestive system (up to bowel perforation)
- Nausea (no appetite, indefinable feeling in the stomach)
- Bowel complaints, diarrhoea (with some regularity)
- Derogatory reflexes
- Weight loss (loss of appetite, loss of taste/smell)
- Anaemia, sometimes little, often not; (fainting; dry skin; itching; yellowing eyes and skin; paleness; hyper pigmentation; spontaneous bruising; petechia)
- Problems with eyes (optic neuropathy, blurred vision, loss of visual field)
- Hearing problems (tinnitus, distorted sound),
- Hair loss
- Friable nails
- Hyper tone bladder (incontinent, even a little bit and/or weak bladder)
- Infections (vaginal-and an increased risk of urinary system infections)
- Menstrual problems (irregular, heavy, long, increased pain, sometimes no menstruation at all, error-positive PAP smear)
- Infertility/miscarriages, birth abnormalities; libido loss, impotence
- Young children with a deficit: growth and development is lagging behind, autistic behaviour
Who is most at risk from vitamin B12 deficiency?
Some groups of people are more at risk from vitamin B12 deficiency than others and the risk increases with age. The following groups should be especially vigilant for signs of a possible vitamin B12 deficiency;
Those with Atrophic Gastritis may have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 properly and so a supplement is often recommended to keep levels up.
Vegans and vegetarians may not get enough vitamin B12 because they do not consume animal products, supplements and foods with vitamin B12 added to them are recommended for those who avoid animal produce, especially during pregnancy when it more important than ever to have the right levels of vitamin B12 in the body.
People who are taking medications including Proton pump inhibitors, Metformin, Histamine antagonists, Bacteriostatic Antibiotics and anticonvulsants. Advice should always be taken from a medical professional if you are taking medication and think you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 and the Earth
The level of vitamin B12 in foodstuffs depends on how much nutrition the animal absorbs from the food it eats.
If vitamin and mineral levels in the earth are low, the animal then does not absorb as much and then we in turn do not absorb as much.
Intensive farming, chemicals and environmental damage all play a part in the depletion of nutrients in the soil and so farming techniques that take this into account will always produce better sources of vitamin B12 and other important nutrients.
Also there is the matter of the preventive vaccination the animals receive. The more we give this to the animals, the worse their general health will be, which in turn has his effect on the meat we eat.
Vitamin B12 and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition that experts are only really beginning to understand.
Sufferers experience widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disorders and depression. Many sufferers also have high levels of homocysteine and low levels of vitamin B12 (vitamin B12 reduces the level of homocysteine) and research now suggests a link between the two conditions.
Experts are researching how chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia could be successfully treated with vitamin B12 supplements.
Solutions to vitamin B12 Deficiency
The solutions to any vitamin deficiency are to increase the levels of that particular vitamin in your body.
For vitamin B12 deficiencies you can increase your intake of foods that are rich in vitamin B12, increase your intake of foods that have had vitamin B12 added to them or choose a supplement.
There are various supplements available, in various forms including injections. Research suggests that one of the most effective ways to take a supplement is in the form of a vitamin B12 spray.
Check with your health practitioner if you think you depleted with vitamin B12.
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by Dr. Sarah Myhill
Melatonin is the natural hormone which controls our biological clock, telling us when it is time to sleep and time to wake up. Sleep is an essential for life just like food and water. Some people are larks (I am – bed at 9.30, up at 5.30) some are owls (bed at 12.00, up at 8.00). It is melatonin which makes it that way.
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant and has been heralded as an anti-ageing drug (sleep is the best cosmetic!). It is made in the pineal gland in the brain.
There is a close relationship between melatonin and DHEA. If one is abnormal the other is also likely to be! With stress, such as low blood sugar, DHEA levels run high, so melatonin may be low and this further impairs sleep.
Now, if I see an Adrenocortex Stress Profile (salivary) with high levels of DHEA at night, I prescribe a melatonin supplement.
There is also an interesting relationship between brain neurotransmitters, DHEA and melatonin. The raw material is an amino acid tryptophan which is converted in the body to 5 hydroxytryptophan from which serotonin (the “happy” neurotransmitter which Prozac works on) and then melatonin.
Tryptophan -> 5 hydroxy tryptophan -> serotonin -> melatonin
Melatonin levels are normally very low in the day.
Melatonin has been of proven benefit in jet lag (5mgs at night), for cancer therapy (40-50mgs at night), for chronic insomnia (up to 75mgs at night) and in elderly insomniacs (1-2mgs at night). I usually suggest 3mgs at night and to adjust the dose up or down according to the response. Everyone seems different, for some, just 1mg is sufficient. I don’t use more than 9mgs.
Using these low doses of melatonin I do not measure levels first. However if a patient wanted to try a high dose, (above 10mg) then I would insist on monitoring levels.
The only side effect which has been a problem for some patients is depression and so I warn patients to look out for that. Other side effects are mentioned in the literature but these must just apply to the high doses because I have not seen them. They include confusion, headache, hypothermia, itching and tachycardia.
Everyone has to work out their best mind-set. It could be a childhood dream, or recalling details of a journey or walk, or whatever. It is actually a sort of self hypnosis. What you are trying to do is to “talk” to your subconscious. This can only be done with the imagination, not with the spoken language.
We know that the hypnotic state is characterised by extreme responsiveness to suggestion. You can use this information for conditioning yourself in self hypnosis. Here is a standard procedure to follow. Lie down in bed, ready for sleep initially with your eyes open (the room needs to be dark). Mentally give yourself the suggestion that your eyes are becoming heavy and tired. Give yourself the suggestion that as you count to ten your eyes will become very heavy and watery and that you will find it impossible to keep your eyelids open by the time you reach ten. If you find that you cannot keep them open and have to close them, then you are probably under self-hypnosis. At this point deepen the state by again slowly counting to ten. Between each count mentally give yourself suggestions that you are falling into a deep hypnotic state. Give yourself suggestions of relaxation. Try to reach a state where you feel you are about to fall asleep. Give yourself the suggestion that you are falling more deeply down into sleep. Some may get a very light feeling throughout the body; others may get a heavy feeling.
Let us assume that your eyes did not become heavy. Then repeat the procedure. You can count to one hundred if you need this period of time to assure an eye closure. The closing of the eyes is the first sign you are in a receptive frame of mind. Let us assume that you get the eye closure. Take a longer count to get yourself in the very relaxed state. Once you achieve this you should be able to respond properly. The difficult bit is not allowing your brain to wander off into other areas. You must work hard at concentrating on the counting and the responses that achieves.
If you respond properly, give yourself the “post-hypnotic suggestion” that you will be able to put yourself under later by counting to three, or using any specific phrase you desire. Continue using it every day and give yourself the post hypnotic suggestion every time you work with it, that at each succeeding session you will fall into a deeper state and that the suggestions will work more forcefully with each repetition.
Each time that you work towards acquiring the self-hypnotic state, regardless of the depth that you have achieved and whether or not you have responded to any of the tests, give yourself the following suggestions: “The next time I hypnotise myself, I shall fall into a deeper and sounder state.” You should also give yourself whatever suggestions you desire as though you were in a very deep state of hypnosis. You may ask “If I’m not under hypnosis, why give myself the suggestions?” You do this so that you will begin to form the conditioned reflex pattern. Keep at it. One of the times that you work at achieving self-hypnosis the conditioned response will take hold…..you will have self hypnosis from that time on. It is like learning to drive a car with a clutch. At first you must consciously go through the process of putting your foot on the clutch and shifting gears. Usually there is a grinding of the gears and you feel quite conspicuous about this, but gradually you learn to do this almost automatically and you gain confidence in you driving ability. The same is true of hypnosis. As you work at you task, you gradually get the feel of it and you achieve proficiency in it.
Example of a sleep dream
I dream that I am a hibernating bear, snuggled down in my comfortable den with one daughter in one arm and the other in the other. Outside the wind is howling and the snow coming down and I am sinking deeper and deeper down…..
We are all creatures of habit and the first essential is to get the physical essentials in place.
- A regular pre-bedtime routine – your “alarm” should go off at 9pm at which point you drop all activity and move into your bedtime routine.
- A regular bed time – 9.30pm latest! Perhaps earlier in winter.
- Learn to recognize the sleep wave – one comes every 90 minutes
- Your day needs the right balance of mental and physical activity.
- Do not allow a bed fellow who snores – you need different rooms!
- Small carbohydrate snack just before bedtime (eg nuts, seeds) helps prevent nocturnal hypoglycaemia – often manifests with vivid dreams or sweating or waking in night.
- Perhaps restrict fluids in the evening if your night is disturbed by the need to pee.
- No stimulants such as caffeine or adrenaline inducing TV, arguments, phone calls, family matters or whatever before bed time! Caffeine has a long half life – none after 4pm.
- Dark room – the slightest chink of light landing on your skin will disturb your own production of melatonin (the body’s natural sleep hormone) – have thick curtains or blackouts to keep the bedroom dark – this is particularly important for children! Do not switch the light on or clock watch should you wake.
- A source of fresh, preferably cool, air.
- A warm comfortable bed – we have been brainwashed into believing a hard bed is good for you and so many people end up with sleepless nights on an uncomfortable bed. It is the shape of the bed that is important (see section on posture). It should be shaped to fit you approximately and then very soft to distribute your weight evenly and avoid pressure points. Tempur mattresses can be helpful (if expensive) as are water beds.
- If your sleep is disturbed by sweating then this is likely to be a symptom of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
- Another common cause of disturbed sleep is hyperventilation which often causes vivid dreams or nightmares. This can now be tested for by measuring a Carbonic anhydrase studies in red blood cells However I often use a benzodiazepine such as diazepam 2-5mgs at night which reduces the sensitivity of the respiratory centre.
- If sleep is disturbed by pain, try to find the cause of the pain. If not possible then one must just take whatever pain killers are necessary to control this. Lack of sleep simply worsens pain.
- If one wakes in the nights with symptoms such as asthma, chest pain, shortness of breath, indigestion etc then this may point to food allergy being the problem with these withdrawal symptoms occurring during the small hours.
- Some people find any food disturbs sleep and they sleep best if they do not eat after 6pm.
- If you do wake in the night do not switch the light on, do not get up and potter round the house or you will have no chance of dropping off to sleep.
- Learn a “sleep dream” to train the subconscious to switch on the sleep button!
By Dr. Sarah Myhill
Sleep is essential for life by Dr. Sarah Myhill.
After the First World War a strain of Spanish ‘flu swept through Europe killing 50 million people worldwide. Some people sustained neurological damage and for some this virus wiped out their sleep centre in the brain. This meant they were unable to sleep at all. All these poor people were dead within 2 weeks and this was the first solid scientific evidence that sleep is more essential for life as food and water. Indeed all living creatures require a regular “sleep” (or period of quiescence) during which time healing and repair takes place. You must put as much work into your sleep as your diet.
Get the physical essentials for a good night’s sleep sorted by Dr. Sarah Myhill for some use full tips