So How IS your sleep?
I’ve recently forced myself to change my sleeping habits. Before I was busy taking care of my blogging efforts into the night, using my sleep resource as an account to overdraw for my unhealthy routine. I would often go to sleep by 1-3 am and necessarily wake at 6-6:30 to begin my day. Now I get to bed earlier (before or around 11-12) and wake usually at 5:00 to begin writing which gives me less time to write but more sleep and offers a healthy “deadline” to get my almost daily articles for www.ChallenYee.com published.
Even if you really need to go for a few hours of sleep, which I do not recommend for an extended length of time, it’s better, according the Chinese medical and health philosophy to preserve the time between 1-3 am so your body stands to benefit from its most regenerative time (known among Chinese Medicine as the “Liver” time). As you increase your sleep hours, try to bracket this time period, before and after, to build your foundation of sleep hours.
I have heard of professionals who need to work at night and over a long period begin to develop difficult to treat and to diagnose diseases, like Multiple Sclerosis. My initial assessment is the body is not able to properly regenerate and heal because of the loss of these critical sleep hours, so people’s ability to sustain natural detoxification and healing suffers until the point overload and disease sets in.
For you, I have brought together a couple of resources that I hope will help you in your efforts to optimize your sleep.
The following is an excerpt from “Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients” (2003) by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.
Stress and Immunity
There is little in life that is more stressful than having Cancer. This is not only because of the fear generated by the diagnosis but also because of the prolonged, often physically taxing treatments and their complications. When you have cancer, your life is completely disrupted, totally wrapped around your disease. It is as if you become a slave to your cancer.
If all this weren’t enough, your sleep is often disrupted. You feel tired and exhausted, which frustrates you. And you find that you cannot do many of the things you previously enjoyed. All of this adds to your stress.
We know from experimental studies that stress is much more than psychological; it can have profound physical effects that can be quite harmful. For example, animals put under chronic, unrelieved stress have been found to have severe depression of their immune system, especially of their cellular immune cells. This immune depression can persist for a very long time. In addition, chronic stress can dramatically increase the formation of free radicals.
This combination of increased free radical generation and immune suppression increases the likelihood not only that your tumor will recur, but also that you will develop a secondary cancer. So, you may be thinking about now, how can nutrition help with stress?
Actually, nutrition can help in many ways. Melatonin can help you to sleep better, and recent studies have indicated that may also have anticancer effects of its own … it protects the brain against stress-related free radical damage.
In addition, by improving your general nutrition, you will have a lot more energy, greater endurance, and far fewer complications associated with your treatments. Most patients
feel a greater sense of well being once they establish better eating habits … they begin to feel that they, not their cancer, are in control.”
The following guidelines are an excerpt from “The Power of Nutrient Therapy” (2005) by Erik Smith, L.Ac, MSN. I have deleted dosage recommendations as you should consult with your health practitioner/dietician for guidelines for your specific needs.
General Dietary Guidelines
– Eliminate all source of caffeine- coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, hot cocoa.
– Avoid alcohol and refined sugar.
– Avoid foods high in Tyramine in the evening. Examples include pork (ham, sausage, bacon), cheese (especially aged cheeses), eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, sauerkraut, kim chee, tempeh.
– A whole foods diet is rich in calming B vitamins and magnesium which help minimize sleeping problems.
– Choose foods high in tryptophan in the evening. Examples include whole grains (especially brown rice, whole wheat and oats), turkey, bananas, milk, yogurt, eggs, fish, peanuts, figs, dates, papayas, beans, and nut butters.
– If you suspect nocturnal hypoglycemia, implement dietary therapies [for] Hypoglycemia.
– Combination herbal teas containing ingredients like chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, skullcap, hops and valerian can be very helpful to calm the mind.
Nutrient Therapies [These should be considered in consultation with your nutritionist].
– Calcium & Magnesium – … within 45 minutes of bedtime.
– Melatonin – … taken 1-2 hours before bedtime. Only effective if the patient is deficient in melatonin. Melatonin production decreases with age.
CAUTION: melatonin is a hormone. Dosages greater than 5 mg can potentially disrupt normal circadian rhythm.
– 5-HTP – … before bed. 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin and can increase REM sleep (by about 25%) and deep sleep stages 3 and 4, 5-HTP should not be used at the same time as melatonin therapy.
– Vitamin B Complex – … if stress is a major cause of the insomnia.
NOTE: A small percentage of patients have increased agitation and greater insomnia with B complex.
– Chromium Picolinate – … for patients with hypoglycemia.
– Rule out restless leg syndrome as a potential cause of insomnia. If present implement appropriate nutritional therapies (also consider leg jerks from their sleeping partner)
– Regular exercise is extremely helpful in the treatment of insomnia. Exercise should be performed in the evening (5-6 hours before bed) for a minimum of 20 minutes at 60-75% of maximum heart rate.
– Qi Gong, Tai Ji, Yoga and deep breathing.
– Lavender oil is used by aromatherapists for anxiety and insomnia.
– If your patient is menopausal, consider implementing appropriate nutrient therapies.
– A host of medications can cause insomnia. Check the side effects of the ones [you are] taking.
A good resource to check the adverse effects of pharma-drugs is http://www.ePocrates.com where you need to create a free account to access some pretty interesting and useful information.
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Sleep Well my friend.