Sleep - The Silent Healer

A very important lifestyle factor we often overlook in nutritional balancing is the vital importance of rest and sleep. Medical research confirms that adequate sleep is necessary to keep your heart, arteries, blood sugar, immune system and skin healthy. This bulletin addresses specific patterns on hair mineral tests indicating a need for additional rest and sleep, and how rest affects the test and body chemistry.


Why Get More Sleep?

Healing Requires Extra Sleep

During the day, one primarily uses the sympathetic nervous system which is associated with expending energy and tearing down the body. This is balanced by the parasympathetic system, which is associated with rest, nurturing and regeneration of body tissues. One may call it maintenance or repair time.


If you skimp on regenerative activity by not sleeping enough, physical and mental performance suffers, as well as one's work and relationships. Illness develops because there is not enough time to repair damaged tissues in the body. If you have a chronic illness, you definitely need extra rest and sleep.


You may envy those who seem to have lots of energy yet get by on little sleep. These individuals are usually burning themselves out and may not realize it. Many are using stimulants such as caffeine or sugar to keep going.


Elimination of Toxic Metals Requires
Extra Energy and Rest

Elimination of all types of toxins requires energy. If you use most or all of your energy running around all day, you will not detoxify nearly as well.


Mental and Emotional Processing Occurs During Sleep

Often, during the day, thought processes are not completed due to interruptions or other distractions. The mind completes thought processes during sleep. You may notice that problems that seemed difficult are solvable after a night's rest. This can be due to increased energy, but is also due to actual problem-solving that goes on during sleep. Emotional healing also occurs during sleep. When one deprives oneself of sleep time, these issues are often not dealt with as well, and this delays healing.


Bad Excuses For Not Sleeping

There are many excuses why more sleep is impossible. Here are some common ones:

  • I don't have time. If this is really the case, then it is time to restructure your life. Schedule naps, get help so that you have more free time and take on fewer projects. This will result in you becoming a more relaxed person.
  • Sleep is a waste of time. Sleep is an absolute necessity.
  • I could sleep for days and sleeping more doesn't make me feel better, so why bother. Most likely your body chemistry is out of balance. Ninety percent of city dwellers have exhausted adrenal glands and often sluggish thyroid glands, which makes one very tired. The answer is not to just take hormones, but to begin correcting body chemistry. However, not sleeping will only make the problem worse. Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep.
  • I'll miss my favorite television programs, movies, parties, etc. It is possible to leave parties earlier, schedule parties and movies earlier and record late television programs.
  • I can't go to sleep earlier. If I do, I'll be up at 3 AM. This is a common excuse. The section below regarding sleep difficulties may be helpful. Many people are stimulated by toxic substances in the body that prevent them from relaxing thoroughly. Blood sugar imbalances may also prevent one from sleeping through the night.
  • I have loads of energy.Occasionally, this is the case. A few people are healthy enough to get along on less sleep. Most often, however, one is out of touch, stimulated by toxic metals in the body or using stimulants that irritate the nervous system. It only appears one has loads of energy. If this is the case, you will eventually become exhausted. You might as well slow down now, before complete burnout occurs.
  • I just love staying up. Many people are night owls. They enjoy the peaceful feeling at night when activities slow down. Sometimes creative work is easier to do at night..

However, depriving yourself of sleep is not the answer. You may need to live in a quieter environment so you can experience peace during the day. Otherwise, arrange your schedule so that if you stay up, you can sleep in the morning or nap so you get enough sleep.


Hair Analysis Patterns For Lack Of Rest And Sleep

A very pronounced pattern to look for is a potassium level less than 4 mg%. This is often a person who pushes himself or herself and does not rest enough. We say these individuals are sympathetic nervous system dominant, meaning that one overuses the sympathetic nervous system.


Lack of rest can cause many other imbalances on the hair mineral analysis. These include: very fast oxidation, slow oxidation, a low sodium/potassium ratio, depletion of zinc and an increase in the copper level. It can also contribute to impaired digestion evidenced by a lowered phosphorus level and to adrenal exhaustion indicated by low levels of sodium and potassium. Lack of rest can also contribute to the accumulation of toxic metals in some cases.


Handling Sleep Difficulties

Sleep problems can be related to diet, lifestyle, one's sleeping environment, biochemical imbalances, ones temperament and other factors. Here are suggestions for improving your sleep.


  • Eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime. Eating late may leave undigested food in the stomach that interferes with sleep, especially if the food quantity is excessive or you have gas or other symptoms of indigestion.
  • Avoid sweets, juices or chocolate, especially at night. Sugar upsets body chemistry and may cause one to toss and turn or to get up hungry in the middle of the night.
  • Avoid stimulants, particularly in the evening. These include coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate and sugar in any form. More subtle stimulants include watching violent or even thriller movies at night, loud music or other stimulating activities in the evening.
  • Reduce mental activity in the evening. If you have trouble sleeping it is wise to forgo intense intellectual effort at night. Relax, do light reading or other activities that do not overstimulate the mind.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening. Better to exercise in the morning or during the day. In the evening , limit exercise to perhaps a gentle walk, an excellent way to end the day. Gentle exercise during the day may help sleep.
  • Be sure you are warm enough. A warm bath or sauna before bed is also excellent.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Install dark fabric behind curtains or use other methods so your sleeping area remains dark.
  • Let go of physical tension in the body. One can use natural therapies such as massage, chiropractic, rolfing, jin shin jyutsu and other techniques to reduce tension. At home, one may rub the feet, breathe deeply and do other simple procedures before bed to release tensions.
  • Let go of fears and worry at bedtime. Do your best to leave all problems and concerns behind when you go to sleep.
  • Fresh air is often helpful for sleep. Be sure the room is not stuffy. Open a window slightly so that fresh air can enter the room.
  • The type of bed or mattress can matter a lot. Many are available to choose from and it is wise to experiment if sleep is a problem. Newer types of mattresses offer many sleep options.
  • The size and shape of pillows can make a difference. A pillow should not cause undue strain on the neck. Cervical pillows and other types are worth experimenting with.
  • Avoid becoming overtired. When one is overtired, the adrenal glands are overstimulated. One may need to unwind before going to bed in this case.
  • Go to bed early, by 9 or 10 PM if possible, and if possible sleep later in the morning. The hours before midnight are excellent for resting. An hour of sleep before midnight is often worth two or three hours of sleep after midnight.

The reason for sleeping in is the adrenal glands become active about 5 AM. Many people awaken at this time and want to get going. However, this prevents the adrenals from resting more. It is best to go back to sleep if possible and get up after 7 AM, when the adrenals are less active. One may feel more tired at first, but it will help rest the adrenals.


Natural Help For Sleep

Copper toxicity is very common and almost always causes sleep difficulties. In these instances, a symptomatic approach is to take up to 50 mg of zinc, up to 300 mg of vitamin B6 and up to 400 mcg of molybdenum at the evening meal or possibly before bed, and more in the middle of the night if needed. One also needs a complete nutrition program to strengthen the adrenal glands and address other possible causes of copper toxicity.


Calcium, magnesium and zinc are called the sedative minerals. They are commonly replaced by toxic metals such as cadmium, lead or mercury as one becomes nutritionally depleted. The toxic metals have stimulating effects that interfere with sleep. Also, in slow oxidizers, calcium and magnesium become biounavailable, which interferes with relaxation and sleep. Many people are helped by taking up to 1200 mg of chelated calcium and up to 800 mg of magnesium with the evening meal. More may be taken at bedtime and in the middle of the night. During the night, liquid calcium/magnesium will be absorbed faster than tablets to help one go back to sleep.


Many other natural substances can help sleep. Among these are teas made with valerian, hops, passionflower, camomile, skullcap and other relaxing herbs. Other symptomatic remedies are tryptophan, 5HTP or melatonin. Others are Chinese patent herbal remedies An Shui Wan and Worry Free, Sleep Easy (Shui de An).



Copyright © 2005
Back to Newsletter list