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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).