Waking during the night anxiety or rapid heartbeat.
Lacking interest in social events or multiple relationships.
Having to get up 2-3 times per night to go to the bathroom or shake off anxiety.
Waking with a deep ache in your head, which turns into a headache ache during the day.
Low tolerance for stress of any kind, which may include sensitivities to noise, smells or light.
Pain, sometimes severe in your joints and muscles that unexplainably come and go.
Your thoughts and feelings don't match your decisions and actions anymore!
Feeling disconnected from the world, thinking crazily, or wanting to scream.
Not interested in sex, or not being able to really enjoy it from tiredness.
Being irritable and hostile in relationships and feeling like a failure.
Unable to develop or retain muscle mass through exercise.
Inability to relax legs or keep from moving them at rest.
Canceling 'life' because you don't have the energy.
Falling to sleep at inappropriate times.
Possible Causes of Sleep Disorders
Body Sleep Position or Poor Mattress
Central Nervous System Disorders
Unresponsive Sympathetic System
Irregular Sleeping Schedule
Consequences of Sleep Disorder
When you are tired, both, your judgment and your focus are impaired. You can become moody, reckless and accident prone.
Your hormones balance during the hours you are sleeping. When you get too little sleep production in growth hormone declines and your hormones become imbalanced.
When your immune system is taxed from not enough good sleep it provides less resistance to viruses.
Not sleeping well on a long term basis may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain, as nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) don't break down in your body the way they should.
While you are sleeping tiny tears in your muscles are repaired. Without sleep your body cannot repair itself fully. This leads to muscle wasting, chronic pain and depression.
Sleep disorders can cause an overall reduction of oxygen in the blood during sleep. This can be a serious problem leading to high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, heart attack, strokes and accidents due to tiredness. This is not just a deficiency of oxygen in the lungs, even though this is true enough while you are not breathing, but an oxygen deficiency in the cells of your body. If you have a breathing related sleep disorder, please see your doctor for a simple oxygen test. A clothespin-like device will be clipped to your pointer finger for a few seconds and your oxygen levels will be recorded. This is good advice for anyone who finds themselves yawning all day long. Yawning is the body's way of increasing oxygen.
Note: It is possible to suffer from more than one sleep disorder.
Sleep Apnea: There Are Three Types
1. The first, and most typical type of Sleep Apnea, is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) caused by a blocked airway and can be treated with weight loss or a gadget that helps you to receive enough oxygen. In the case of sleep disordered breathing, Sleep Apnea is but one, which is usually characterized by snoring caused by an obstruction in the upper airway. This obstruction is usually a collapsed airway caused by sleep position or a 'heavy' neck which causes snoring. The nerves and muscles that keep the airway open during the day may not be as active at night. A weight loss of only 10% of the individual's body weight can sometimes eliminate the apnea all together. At present time it is thought that this type of Sleep Apnea is not caused by emotions or feelings since it can be treated with devices.
2. The second type of SleepApnea is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), whereby the mechanism (a group of neurons in the brain) that regulates breathing has temporarily failed and the lungs receive a delayed signal from the brain to breathe. Continuous oxygen deprivation can harm the whole body, especially the heart. Sleep Apnea may also be caused by a fear response and contracting muscles during sleep, similarly to tensing muscles when frightened. When problems are not worked out in waking life, they can surface in your sleep. Pain, during sleep, may also cause this fear response. The glitch causing CSA may not actually be in the brain, but anywhere in the Central Nervous System (brain and spine). Those with Central Sleep Apnea may also have problems with Tinnitus (ringing and noise heard in the ears).
3. The third type of Sleep Apnea is actually a combination of the first two.
Myoclonic jerks, which happen while trying to fall asleep, can be a real nuisance and kind of scary. They are caused by tight muscles that are trying to relax as you are falling to sleep, sleeping in uncomfortably positions, and from being over-tired. These muscle jerks can range from slight twitches and jerks (hypnic jerks) to jumping clean off the mattress (a massive hypnagogic jerk). Often times, in response to stress, we hold our shoulders tight, clench our jaws and contract our stomachs, sometimes all day long. Then, when muscles start to relax as we fall asleep, the brain thinks we are falling and alerts us. Sleep jerks are the result.
Loud 'bangs' or 'flashes of white light' in your head, as you are drifting off to sleep, are actually electrical shocks caused from being over-tired. They can occur alone or in combination with muscle jerks. This can be a sign of neurological problems, but is most often a sign of Magnesium or Calcium deficiency, or stress related tension. These excessive bursts of brain activity may be controlled through stress management techniques and nutritional therapies. Take, both, Calcium Citrate and Magnesium together. They work to calm the muscles, which built up Lactic Acid under conditions of stress, too much sugar, and too little exercise.
Hypopnea is a reduction in airflow, which can be caused by an upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) and although not considered an actual sleep apnea, still creates symptoms much as sleep apnea does. This apnea is usually only present when the person sleeps on their back.
Insomnia is not only the inability to get to sleep, but to stay asleep, or to return to sleep if awakened too early. There may be frequent waking during the night. It is related to UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome) and is more common in women. Insomnia is common during episodes of hormonal fluctuation. Some women report waking up after having been asleep for a particular amount of time after they have fallen asleep, such as an hour afterwards or three hours afterwards. They say it is like clockwork. Cycling hormones may be responsible.
Cheyene-Stokes Respiration is a condition marked by alterations between deep breathing and cessation of breathing due to the failure of the breathing control system in the brain. Brain sensors that register and measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood may be ineffective or injured in some way. This may be related to Central Sleep Apnea.
Nocturia is the need for sudden or frequent urination at night. It may be a symptom of Sleep Apnea, as a hormone is released during oxygen deprivation that causes this. The feeling of having to 'go' is so great that it can cause panic attacks. It may even take awhile to get back to sleep after one of these episodes. For those with incontinence, it can spell disaster! Changing pajamas and sheets in the middle of the night doesn't exactly promote sleep.
Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) is a mood disorder, which is often confused with or overlaps Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It typically bothers people during the winter months when there is not much exposure to sunlight, especially here in the Northwest. People who are tired, sad, depressed, especially during the cooler months of the year.
The symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome can drive one nuts in a hurry. There is the compelling urge to move the legs in order to get a tingling, crawling, nagging, pins and needles, prickling or pulling feeling to go away that makes it near impossible to sleep.
Natural Old World Remedies for Sleep Disorder (other than SAD or RLS)
First, rule out any other possible medical conditions, or medications, that may be interfering with your ability to get to sleep or stay asleep.
Don't watch or read anything stimulating before going to bed. This includes the news. If you must keep up with the news, do this in the morning after waking. Watch movies right after dinner. This gives your mind time to calm before bedtime arrives.
Try not to argue or get into deep analytical discussions or debates before bedtime. Chances are, if you wait until tomorrow, things won't seem so intense anyway and if they do, you'll have more energy to face the music.
Be active enough that your body requires rest. Inactivity leads to insomnia simply because the body is restless. Use up your physical energy during the day.
Eat foods that boost your serotonin later in the day. These foods help you to feel calmer, but don't eat them right before bed. Eat them at least an hour before. When a doctor prescribes an anti-depressant, it is often meant to keep your serotonin in your system longer to keep you calm. However, unless your depression is severe, L-tryptophan, which is found in foods, such as apples, watermelon, bananas, beets, cheese, cottage cheese, milk, eggs, chicken, fish, wheat germ, beans and legumes can work the same way. Your body turns L-Tryptophan into serotonin. By increasing the levels of L-tryptophan in your diet, serotonin will be produced and you will feel calmer. Affection, intimacy, laughter, joy, exercise, prayer, meditation, and yoga also help to boost serotonin levels.
Keep pen and paper on your nightstand to record things that cross your mind that you don't want to forget about doing tomorrow, so you can stop mentally reminding yourself.
Don't just lay there fuming and thumping your pillow. Get up. Walk around. Get a small bite to eat. Have some sugar free herb tea (no sugar substitutes). A little honey is OK. Read two pages out of a book, but not in bed. Write in your journal for ten minutes. Listen to some soothing instrumental music. Then try again. You don't have to just lay there and take it.
Instead of agonizing and thinking about the possibility of never getting to sleep and not being able to get up in the morning, and suffering through your job tomorrow, and dragging yourself home from work with a headache and heart palpitations, only to repeat the process all over again tomorrow night, tell yourself you are not allowed to go to sleep. This method of using reverse psychology sometimes works to stop brain chatter and calm emotional nerves. You are, in essence, giving yourself permission to stay awake, which, in turn, takes the edge off and helps you to fall asleep.
Insomnia may be a response to fluctuating hormones. It can also occur when you are not sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Being over-tired by the time you do go to bed can also cause insomnia. Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
Natural Old World Remedies & Supplements for Sleep Disorder & SAD
Lactic Acid is a substance that forms in the body as a result of inadequate oxygen levels. High levels of lactic acid create pH imbalance. and cause muscle pain. Another cause of an overabundance of lactic acid is too much sugar and too little exercise. Exercising, eating whole foods, reducing stress, drinking plenty of fresh water, breathing deeply, and removing toxins from your environment all help to balance your pH. Doing these things will help to improve your pain and your sleep.
80% of all those withFibromyalgia have sleep disorders. It has been proven that those with Fibromyalgia have deficiencies of cellular oxygen. Without enough oxygen in your cells it is very easy for the body to become too acidic (pH imbalance), leading to pain and dis-ease. It is unclear as to what came first, the Fibromyalgia or the Sleep Disorder. Both disorders show mineral deficiencies. Be sure to obtain enough minerals in your diet.
Sleep Apnea can effect and impair the part of the nervous system that controls blood sugar absorption. If you have sleep apnea, you should try to eliminate sugar from your diet as much as possible. I know that is easier said than done, but sugar and fats are 'flight or fight' foods. If you wake often at night, you are 25% less sensitive to insulin, a condition that is a precursor to diabetes. If you are feeling shaky, confused and faint after not getting a good night's sleep, it may have to do with your blood sugar. Studies show that when we don't sleep well our blood sugar dips and dives more-so than when we do, which is one reason we snack more when we are tired. Make sure you eat something regularly, every 3-4 hours. You also want to make sure you are getting in enough important minerals, especially Magnesium (Malate or Citrate). Magnesium deficiency can cause muscles and nerves to function less optimally.
Keep a year-round tan. Tanning beds can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's true. There are some tanning beds that do not put you at risk for skin cancer. However, you won't find them in run-of-the-mill salons.
People of make the mistake of hibernating rather than getting outdoors and enjoying the season. Don't allow father nature to keep you confined indoors during the fall and winter. Even in winter, light does your body good. Spend at least 15 minutes outdoors each day. During the warmer months the sun's rays help your body to create your own store of Vitamin D. 15 minutes of sun at least three times per week while the sun is closer to the earth is enough to maintain vitamin D levels. There's plenty of daylight to expose yourself to. But from October to April the sun isn't close enough to the earth to be of much benefit. So, you can, either, eat foods containing vitamin D or supplement with Vitamin D3 each day until April arrives.
Eat protein for calm.
Cut out stimulants, such as caffeine, at least two hours before bed. better yet, cut them out of your life.
Melatonin can help improve sleep as long as you are on a regular sleeping schedule. It does not, however, help with daily fatigue unrelated to your sleep disorder. I do not suggest taking Melatonin supplements, as Melatonin is a hormone. Instead, eat foods that contain Tryptophan, which will boost Serotonin, the feel good chemical in your brain.
Fish oils help with pain and therefore help you to sleep better if pain is keeping your mind distracted while you are trying to sink into a deeper sleep. If you are eating fish at least 2-3 times per week there's no need to supplement with fish, krill or salmon oil.
Take your B vitamins, considering it is the nervous system that is 'glitching'. They protect the nerves. Vitamin B-12 helps to reduce levels of homocysteine (a cause of heart attack and stroke) and restore normal sleep patterns by fostering the release of Melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. Vitamin B-12 also helps with mild depression, as do Omega 3 Fish Oils, which also help with pain. Take Vitamin B in a 50 mg or 100 mg complex that contains Folic Acid.
Make sure you are taking a high potency multi-vitamin with minerals.
See Supplements for proper vitamin dosages, food resources for the nutrients you are seeking, and precautions.
Sleep Disorder Associations
Spiritual/Psychological causes of Sleep Disorder: Lack of discipline, or over-indulgence, in some area.
Restless Leg Syndrome is also known as Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome and is characterized by disturbing sensations in the legs, which prevent resting, falling to sleep, or staying asleep due to leg or foot disturbances. There is the compelling urge to move the legs in order to get a tingling, crawling, nagging, pins and needles, prickling or pulling feeling to go away. Only moving the leg or foot offers temporary relief. During sleep the legs may jerk, kick, or bicycle. These movements are better known as periodic limb movements, which are usually considered symptoms from a different disorder and common in those with RLS. Those with RLS are frequently tired and tend to lose concentration and focus during the day.
RLS is often linked to autoimmune disorders, such as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. With RSD, the skin, muscle and bones near the area of nerve damage begin to show signs of discoloration, hair loss and extreme sensitivity. RSD is an autoimmune disorder. RLS is often genetic. Women, during pregnancy, sometimes get RLS. It disappears once the child is born.
A coating over nerve cells called the myelin sheath protects neurons (nerves) and is quite like the plastic coating found on electrical wires. This coating prevents signal interference in the nervous system and is made mostly out of fats (lipids). If these lipids are not formed right, the sheath is of no use. It is defected and can get cracks and holes in it. Certain foods and supplements can help repair the myelin sheath and prevent the pain and discomfort associated with restless leg and peripheral neuropathy.
Possible Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome
One of the #1 causes of RLS is Iron deficiency (anemia) or hemochromotosis (having too much Iron in your blood).
RLS may be associated with Fibromyalgia.
RLS may also be the result of blood circulation problems (PAD) in the lower back or legs.
Prolonged stress may aggravate RLS and also be the cause of RLS.
Attention Deficit Disorder has also been associated with RLS.
Other issues related to RLS, but not always, rhuematoid arthritis, diabetes and hypoglycemia, adrenal burnout, kidney disease (or failure with dialysis), Parkinson's, spinal disk problems and/or nerve damage, consumption of artificial dietary sweeteners, the consumption of stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.), medications and drugs (prescription, over-the-counter and recreational), thyroid thyroid disorder, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), alcohol abuse, toxins, and chemotherapy (a side effect of).
What Medical Doctors Are Doing for RLS
Your doctor can order blood tests that will rule out other conditions, order a polysomnography test, which records leg movement while you are sleeping, and can prescribe medication when necessary.
There are 3 classes of medications for RLS.
Dopaminergic drugs (approved by the FDA), Pramipexole and Ropinirole, which reduce sensory symptoms and the urge to move. These drugs cause augmentation in one-third to one-half of all patients, meaning the symptoms of RLS begin to appear earlier in the day when used over a long-term period.
Antisiezure medications, such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin (not approved by the FDA for RLS, but for nerve pain), which appear to be effective in reducing or eliminating RLS, but have many side effects.
Opiates (narcotic pain medication), used in low doses, are extremely effective to relieve RLS and improve sleep. There does not seem to be much evidence of abuse of these medications by the patients using them.
Natural Old World Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome
Keep your bedroom temperature cool, dark and quiet. Make it your cave with no distractions, which means no TV.
Daily moderate exercise, such as walking, and stretching can help to calm the restlessness you feel in your legs.
Apply ice packs or a heating pad. See if one works better than the other for you.
Take a warm bath, for at least 20 minutes, before bedtime.
Use alternating warm and cold water treatments.
Do not sit in positions that cause excess tension and aggravate your legs, such as positions where your legs are dangling, or crossed with one leg over the other. Try to sit so that circulation is not impaired, or at least balanced in both legs, without one leg taking the rap for the other.
Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage may also help. Self-massage can work just as well as professional in this case.
Keep your blood sugars stabilized. RLS may be related to unstable blood sugar levels, diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
It is important to eat a diet that is as healthy as possible so the body can adequately deal with stress and repair itself, but you will want to monitor your intake of Iron (see directly below).
Supplements for Restless Leg Syndrome
One of the number one causes of RLS is anemia (not enough Iron in your blood) or hemochromotosis (having too much Iron in your blood). A simple blood test is all that's necessary to rule this possible cause out.
Folic Acid and Vitamins B6, B1, and B12 are important for healthy nerve function. In fact, a deficiency in B-12 can cause RLS. Folic Acid deficiency has been linked to RLS during pregnancy. Taking individual B vitamins can cause a deficiency of other B vitamins in the body. For this reason, it is best to get your B vitamins from the foods you eat or to take a B complex supplement.
Taking 1000 mg of Calcium with 250 mg of Magnesium an hour or two before bedtime may help you to relax. This may also eliminate muscle jerks and twitches. Low Magnesium levels have been linked to Restless leg Syndrome. Low Magnesium is also linked to Fibromyalgia, which is a syndrome that often overlaps RLS. Take at least 500-1000 mg of Magnesium each day. Zinc is another important mineral for calm that works well with Calcium and Magnesium.
Amino acids (proteins) are the building blocks that are necessary for the body to rebuild itself. Protein is found in kale (over half protein!), chicken, eggs, lean steak, cottage cheese, lentils, coconut, fresh fish, anchovies, almonds, peanut butter (a herpes trigger), blue-green algae (Spirulina) and amino acid supplements.
See Supplements for proper dosages, foods containing the nutrients you are seeking, and precautions.
Restless Leg Associations
Spiritual/Psychological causes of Restless Leg Syndrome: Self-punishment over guilt issues. Often this goes hand in hand with unresolved communication issues.
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