I do not remember my grandparents ever complaining of sleep problems. Two of them lived for 101 years.
Since Nature chose oxygen to drive all aspects of human evolution, it seems logical to me that oxygen should also drive the crucial restorative aspects of sleep.
Many people have poor sleep habits before the diagnosis of chronic illness is made.
Here is a small sampling of research as it affects Alzheimers and dementia. Sleep disorders seem to come before the diagnosis.
“Behavioral and psychological symptoms were very common in Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, and mixed dementia – The most common behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia were sleep problems (100%)”1
“Sleep is a complex behavioural state, the ultimate functions of which remain poorly understood. It becomes more fragmented as we age, with more night-time awakenings and greater tendency for daytime sleep. The magnitude of disordered sleep among individuals affected by dementia has been clearly demonstrated, and disturbed sleep is a major clinical problem in dementia.”2
The days of individuals with stress, anger, and chronic disease are often difficult; not surprisingly, so are their nights. Many people have poor sleep habits before the diagnosis of chronic illness is made. The shock of the initial diagnosis nearly always brings along sleepless nights. The search for the right treatment option usually worsens the problem.
Simple sleep remedies
I frequently prescribe hydrogen peroxide foot soaks for a variety of disorders. On many occasions, my patients give me an unsolicited comment about how peroxide foot soaks done in the evening improved their sleep.
Sleep hypoglycemia—difficulty of falling or staying sleep caused by low blood sugar—is very common among people with chronic stress, anger, insulin toxicity, and metabolic disorders.
I commonly observe a relationship between sugar/insulin/adrenaline roller coasters during the day and patterns of sleep interruptions during the night. Initially, I recognized this relationship when some of my patients with clinical hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar) told me of episodes of anxiety, rapid heart rate, and sweating during their sleep hours. When one is asleep, one is not dead. So, I reasoned that individuals who suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms during the day must also develop episodes of hypoglycemia during sleep. I validated my hypothesis by careful studies of prevention of those sleep–related symptoms with measures which I find useful for preventing hypoglycemia during the wakeful hours. I chose the term sleep hypoglycemia for that condition. In Table 1, I list the elements I use for controlling sleep (nocturnal) hypoglycemia. The reader would have guessed by now that eating desserts at bedtime would be just the wrong thing for individuals with sleep difficulties.
TABLE 1. MEASURES FOR THE PREVENTION OF SLEEP HYPOGLYCEMIA
|Protein Powder Snack (3 to 5 ounces)||May be prepared in the morning along with “Dr. Ali’s Breakfast” (two heaping tablespoons each of a suitable protein powder (80 to 90% calories in amino acids), flaxseed and lecithin mixed with 16 ounces of organic vegetable juice.|
|Protein food snack||A piece of cheese, fish, chicken, and others|
|Essential and fish oil supplements||Day’s supplements taken at bed time|
|Cod liver oil
(for supplemental vitamin D)
|Day’s supplements taken at bed time|
ANXIETY STATES AND SLEEP PROBLEMS
Following are some suggestions when anxiety states interfere with good sleep:
● Limbic Breathing (use Auto-Reg-II tape to learn). We have an audio tape for a $9.95 donation
LIMBIC BREATHING audio MP3 format $9.95
● Drink a cup of water
● If no water is available, put one Q10 lozenge (Coenzyme Q 10-M) under the tongue every fifteen minutes
●If Q 10-M is not available, put a pinch of salt under the tongue (not for persons with history of high blood pressure)
●Take passion flower, 10 drops every ten minutes (up to 30 drops)
●Take one tablet of Alka Seltzer (Gold brand) in a glass of water, if available, up to four times a day
●To prevent further attacks, take protein powder (with lecithin or flaxseed, if possible) as follows:
8-10 ounces in the morning
4-5 ounces in the mid-morning
4-5 ounces in the mid-afternoon
●Total elimination of sugar
●Total elimination of coffee and caffeinated beverages
●Benadryl 25 mg (some allergic persons benefit much from it)
●Consider anti-anxiety medications (Ativan or Xanax 0.5 mg, and others), but only as a last resort.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR SLEEP DISTURBANCES
In my clinical work, I have tested a large number of measures and natural remedies to restore restful sleep for individuals with chronic illness and other chronic disorders.
TABLE 2. SLEEP FACILITATORS
|Meditation/ prayer||Working meditation and prayer offers the best results|
|Low-volume music||No talk radio or TV during the hours before sleep|
|Hydrogen peroxide soaks||15 to 20 minutes during the hours before sleep.|
|Limbic Breathing||During the hours before sleep.|
|Limbic Exercise||During the hours before sleep.|
|Nasal oxygen||3 liters per minute for 30 to 45 minutes
(for individuals using oxygen for other reasons)
TABLE 3. SLEEP INDUCERS
(optimal dose varies widely from individual to individual)
|Valerian root||150 to 300 mg|
|Passionflower tincture||One-half to one dropper full at bedtime|
|kava kava||75 mg to 300 mg|
TABLE 4. SLEEP ENHANCERS
(gama aminobutyric acid)
|5-HT (5-hydroxytryptophan)||50 to 200 mg|
|Tryptophan||500 to 2,000 mg|
|SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)||400 to 1,200 mg|
|St. John’s wort||100-300 mg|
MY PREFERENCES AND VALUE OF ROTATION
I advise my patients with disturbed sleep to conduct personal trials with several measures and/or remedies included in Tables 2-4 to select two or more effective combinations. This allows one to use those combinations in suitable rotation during the week depending upon the intensity of metabolic and lifestyle stressors that interfere with good sleep at any given time.
As for specific measures, first and foremost I urge all patients with sleep difficulties to consider any or all of sleep facilitators listed in Table 2. These measures do not work as rapidly as drugs do. However, persistence with these measures pays off in the long run. Next, I ask them to test one or two items at a time from the list of sleep inducers and sleep enhancers in Tables 3 and 4 in the following order:
Limbic Breathing and practice of gratitude
Hydrogen peroxide foot soaks
GABA plus Inositol and one or two of the following:
St. John’s wort
1. Pinidbunjerdkool A, Saengwanitch S, Sithinamsuwan P. Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.J Med Assoc Thai. 2014 Feb;97 Suppl 2:S168-74.
2. Cipriani G, Lucetti C, Danti S, Nuti A. Sleep disturbances and dementia. Psychogeriatrics. 2014 Dec 16. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12069. [Epub ahead of print]