Some Sleep Basics

Some Sleep Basics

Posted by DS DC on Oct 26th 2022

Some Sleep Basics

When people describe sleep problems they usually talk about difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep. These are different problems but natural remedies can often help either one.

Stages of Sleep

But first let’s establish a little context. Due to furious research about sleep, we understand more and more but some aspects still are unknown.Some decades ago brain wave studies have identified four primary brain sleep states. Stage 1 begins when we first fall asleep. Stage 1 is light sleep. Muscles relax and the heart slows down in stage 1. Stage 2, is identified by rapid eye movements and is called REM sleep. The autonomic nervous system is active in REM sleep, causing rapid breathing and increased stomach acid secretion and increased heart rate. Stage 2 is the period when we dream. During deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), no dreaming occurs. In a normal sleep period, a person cycles from stage 1 to stage 4 in about 90 minutes. Waking after one full sleep cycle is complete is common among the elderly and small children.

Drugs Do Not Induce Sleep

Drug companies will tell you they can induce sleep (with full blessing of the FDA I might add). Drugs cannot help the brain duplicate these healthy sleep rhythms. Pharmaceutical intervention induces an altered state of consciousness so you don’t know you aren’t sleeping.

A healthy sleep state requires brain health in the areas of the brain that control this physiological state. Some people have depression or anxiety issues but can still sleep OK. Others aren’t so lucky.

Cortisol Is A Useful Test

When we run cortisol profiles on those who have trouble falling asleep, we usually find abnormally high levels at nighttime. Cortisol levels ideally are high in the morning when you wake up and taper off slowly until they reach their lowest levels when it is time to sleep. We have seen some profiles that do the opposite making it difficult to fall asleep.

Checking Neurotransmitters Can Help

As always we recommend urine and saliva testing of metabolic breakdown products of neurotransmitters to give an idea of how the body is handling these bio-chemicals. With that information we can use different herbs and amino acids to support more normal function.

Blood Sugar Can Be A Factor

If you have trouble staying asleep, your problem could be blood sugar. The body sometimes has to increase levels of adrenalin or epinephrine to keep blood sugar levels stable. When that happens, you are awake. Again we can use herbs and amino acids to help support a more ideal physiology so you can get more of the sleep you so desperately need.

Commonly used products to address these issues are Travacor and Serene by NeuroScience; all help with winding down the cortisol at night. Products like Adrecor and Excitaplus can support low cortisol in the morning and early afternoon.

Sleep Product Suggestions

Should you have any questions about how we can test your cortisol levels you can call us toll free at 877-465-0844.