INSOMNIA / SLEEP APNEA / RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME Recommended supplements are listed below Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep, or awakening from sleep prematurely with subsequent inability to return to sleep. A sleep deficiency depresses the immune system and the libido, decreases productivity, and can lead to other disorders like depression, chronic fatigue, heart disease and headaches. Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder that can cause repeated waking during the night. This problem is commonly associated with snoring and extremely irregular breathing throughout the night. In sleep apnea, breathing actually stops, for as long as two minutes at a time while the individual is asleep. When breathing stops, the level of oxygen in the blood drops, resulting in oxygen deprivation. The individual then awakens, startled and gasping. A person with sleep apnea may awaken as many as 200 times through- out the night. • The two consequences of sleep apnea are a significant drop in the blood’s oxygen and severe sleep deprivation. • People with sleep apnea seem to have a higher than normal incidence of emotional and psychotic disor- ders. Experts attribute this to what they call a ‘dream deficit’ - a lack of adequate rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, the state of sleep in which dreaming occurs. A person with sleep apnea often cannot settle into REM sleep for even the eight to twelve seconds it takes to have a normal, healthy dream. While there is much about the phenomenon of dreaming that is not understood, it is known that prolonged peri- ods of REM sleep deprivation can induce various psychoses and other serious emotional disorders. It is recommended that you consult with your health care practitioner to diagnose and treat this condition. Restless leg syndrome: This is a disorder characterized by unusual or painful sensations in the legs, accompanied by an irresistible urge to move the legs. For reasons unknown, when these people are in bed, their legs jerk, twitch, and kick involuntarily. However, many studies have shown that restless leg sufferers have low or low-normal iron levels. Iron supplementation has helped many people, but three months of treatment is usually needed before improvement is noted. • An excellent supplement well worth trying is a calcium/magnesium supplement. Take Willow Calmag or try the Na- ture Fresh Calcium/Magnesium Powder. Best taken before you retire for the evening and/or when the legs become jerky, get up out of bed and prepare yourself a glass of Calcium/magnesium. • Also worth considering before bedtime is a mug of dried valerian root tea, chamomile, melissa, passionflower or hops tea. You could even try a combination of these herbs as a tea. CAUSES OF GENERAL INSOMNIA • Stress and anxiety, physical tension and acute trauma. • Ageing. It is common for many women experiencing menopause to develop insomnia. This is generally due to changes in oestrogen and progesterone levels and the solution would be to follow a hormone- balancing programme. See Menopause under ailments for more information. • Stimulants, including caffeine, decongestants, and thyroid medications. • Sugar, indigestion, pain, alcohol, lack of exercise, restless leg syndrome, Vitamin deficiencies, e.g., B12 and iron, poor absorption of calcium or a true deficiency. • Allergy: Increased heart rate following exposure. • Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea and asthma. • Hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia. • Poor mattress, television. • Unfounded fears: fear of not falling asleep; fear of not waking up! • Irregular sleeping hours; out of biorhythm. • Sleep studies show clearly that many nonprescription and almost all prescription sleep medications dras- tically alter sleeping cycles, suppressing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is true for barbiturates and benzodiazepines, which are the major sleep medication ingredients. TREATMENT AND SUPPLEMENTS Over-the-counter sleeping aids do not promote deep, restful sleep and they may also create any of the several side effects, including depression, confusion and dry mouth. They can also be addictive. Do not have any products containing caffeine for at least 8 hours before you go to bed. Also avoid sugar.
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