Can Poor Quality Sleep Really Cause Every Disease?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a different aspect of sleep and stress. I’ll show you how stress causes inflammation, and inflammation can ultimately cause many, if not all diseases.

Balance is the key

First of all, too much sleep is just as deadly, as too little sleep. This is because either state puts stress on your body. So then, balance is the key, and therefore, balance equals health.

Look at it this way. Our bodies are balanced when things that should be working are working. However, when things that should work, aren’t working; or, when things that shouldn’t be working are working, an imbalance is created.  And sooner or later, disease will set in.

By the way, if you’re thinking I’m exaggerating by saying too little or too much sleep is deadly, I’m not. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at stress and inflammation as they relate to sleep.

 Inflammation and Sleep

Poor quality sleep causes stress And stress causes a whole series of events to take place. However, we’re going to focus on a little guy called cortisol.

Cortisol regulates your immune system. Too much or too little over a period of time can cause frequent infections, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and chronic inflammation.

So even though Cortisol initially works to reduce inflammation, it eventually sets in motion a process that leads to chronic inflammation. And while inflammation is a part of wound healing, it can eventually cause disease, including cancer.

Also, reducing inflammation leads to suppression of the immune system, exposing us to disease. Yet inflammation itself can also lead to disease! It does this by ‘hiding’ mutated cells so that they go undetected by your immune system.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

I think further clarification is necessary here. That is that inflammation and infection are two different things. An infection can cause inflammation. But inflammation can take place without an infection, which is the focus of this article.

Let’s take a look a closer look at this.

Inflammation and Diseases

When you get an injury, your body responds by making your blood vessels ‘leaky’. This allows certain blood cells to go to the infected area and to properly deal with the invading organism; resulting in redness, swelling and tenderness to the area. Once the invader’s  dealt with, swelling goes down, and things return to normal; or at least they should.

But what if they don’t? What if you’re constantly under stress?  We’ve already seen how inflammation can turn deadly. Therefore,  poor sleep causes stress, and chronic stress causes damaging inflammation, and chronic inflammation could be the cause of every disease. So then, poor quality sleep could be behind most, if not all diseases!

Or put another way. Balance equals health, and imbalance equals disease. Therefore, good quality sleep (balance) equals health; while poor quality sleep(imbalance) equals disease.

The following is a list of some of the diseases caused by inflammation:

1-Allergic diseases, like Asthma, Eczema.

2-Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s.

3-Heart disease.

4-Chronic Inflammation is also a critical component of tumor growth. Although it takes inflammation 20-30 years to produce cancer. Cancer’s also a risk factor for heart disease.

sleep and inflammation

 

 

 

 

In addition to all this, inflammation even causes us to age faster!

So then, if it’s all about balance, what’s the best way to cure disease?

Treat the Cause, not the Symptoms

Guess what? Good quality sleep is an excellent treatment for inflammation.

Again, if disease is caused by imbalance, then restoring balance should restore health. But modern medicine deals with symptoms, not the cause itself. Therefore, by getting to the cause of the disease, many, if not all, diseases could possibly be cured without medicine. Or, are there man made drugs that do restore balance?

Allow me to rant a bit here. And I speak only for myself. But I wonder if entities that stand to make a lot of money selling drugs for diseases are censoring information that prove natural forms of treatment are more effective than modern medicine?

In either case, here’s a list of foods that affect inflammation.

Foods that promote inflammation

Pasteurized dairy products, red meat, refined carbohydrates, sugar.

Foods that reduce inflammation

1-Fiber, Fruits, and Vegetables.

2-Garlic is good because it has a high sulfur content, and sulfur inhibits inflammation.

3-Herbal teas, including green tea which has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to this acupuncture can effectively treat stress. And studies also show that moderate physical activity does reduce inflammation as well.

Conclusion

We saw how poor sleep causes stress,  stress causes inflammation, and inflammation causes disease. Now if inflammation is the cause of all disease, including premature aging, then a good night’s sleep can keep you healthier. Remember, it’s all about balance. Too much or too little of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

Therefore if inflammation is the common denominator of all diseases, including aging And if inflammation is an imbalance, then restoring balance, not medicine, is the key to curing disease.

And one of the ways to restore balance is to get good quality sleep.

So, what do you think are some good ways to restore balance? Or do you think it’s more involved than that? And can modern medicine really restore balance?

Please leave a comment. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this.

Any feedback from you will help to improve this blog.

Also, be sure to visit and like my blog on facebook.

Till next time…Blessings.

How to Improve Sleep by Treating Sinus Congestion

Sinus congestion can be a nuisance, especially if you have sleep apnea and use a nasal mask. In this article, I’ll address what to do when you have a stuffy nose and also use a nasal mask. I’ll also talk about allergies, proper mask care and what it could mean if you have constant sinus congestion.

How to Improve Sleep by Treating Sinus Congestion

First of all, there are many types of allergies, but in this article, I’m going to focus on the causes of sinus congestion, and how to effectively deal with it. As well as address proper skin and PAP mask care.

To begin with, let’s take a look at what causes nasal congestion and why it could be more than an annoyance.

An Inflammatory Response

When your body thinks it’s under attack, your immune system kicks in and several things happen. Among them is the release of histamine, which causes a build-up of fluid, (inflammation) around the injury in an attempt to ‘flush out’ the harmful substance.

So, an initial inflammatory response is good. But when this leads to sinus congestion, it can mean the difference between wearing your nasal mask, or go without. And you know how even one night without that feels.

That’s where antihistamines and decongestants come in. Antihistamines reduce congestion by slowing the production of histamine. Which stops production of mucous. On the other hand, decongestants dry up your sinuses after mucous is already produced.

Furthermore, chronic inflammation can not only lead to disease but cause you to age more quickly. Interestingly, mental stress makes inflammation worse. More on this in my upcoming article.

And in my previous article on stress,http://sleepguyblog.com/how-reducing-stress-improves-womens-health/we looked at how stress also releases cortisol, which has several negative effects, besides causing inflammation.

Now let’s have a look at some ways to deal with sinus congestion.

Sinus Congestion

If sinus congestion is temporary, it’s probably nothing more than an inconvenience, and here are some ways to treat this. We’ll look at conventional medicine first; then see what alternative treatments are available.

CONVENTIONAL

Briefly, steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase and Nasacort, reduce swelling in your nasal passages. Antihistamines, like Benadryl or Claritin, block histamine, and histamine is what produces congestion. Decongestants, such as Sudafed, also reduce congestion by decreasing the fluid that’s already there.

As with any medicine, these all have some rather undesirable side effects. For example, Sudafed is known to have caused heart attacks.

So then, let’s take a look at some treatment’s that might be safer, and quite effective.

ALTERNATIVE

There are a few treatment options here. Below I list some of the more common ones.

First up, the Neti Pot. Perhaps you’ve heard of this guy, or maybe even tried it, or use it. It’s basically a little pot that you fill with pharmaceutical grade saline. This is then poured into one sinus and drains out the other. The Neti pot is quite effective in relieving congestion.

Aroma Therapy is also proving to be quite effective in fighting inflammation and boosting your immune system.

Try the following:

Peppermint Oil–Helps reduce inflammation and opens your airway.

Tea Tree Oil–This is for topical use only; and is, therefore, good for skin allergies. Do not take internally!

Frankincense Oil–Relieves emotional stress. And because emotional stress increases inflammation, relieving stress will reduce inflammation.

Lemon oil–is actually a good detoxifier, besides improving digestion and promoting weight loss.

Also, while drinking hot liquids might seem to relieve congestion, it’s mostly a placebo effect. Although drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated is a good idea.

Then there are issues with mask irritation. Let’s look at that.

 Allergies and CPAP Masks

There are some basic things you can do to keep your PAP mask clean, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money.

First of all, just make sure you clean your mask and tube daily. Simply wash them in warm soapy water using non-fragrant soap. Then rinse with warm water and air dry. There are also machines that you can buy for cleaning your PAP equipment.

Your mask can also cause skin irritation if it’s not cleaned well, doesn’t fit right, or is made of a material that causes an allergic reaction. Beyond that, keeping your skin clean is important as well. Therefore it’s a good idea to wash your face with soap and water to remove dirt and oils before putting your mask on.

Conclusion

So while inflammation is your bodies way of flushing out toxins, it can be quite frustrating when sinus congestion interferes with your sleep.

Also, if it becomes chronic, it not only can cause disease, it can also make you look older than you really are. It also worsens sleep apnea, which can cause other diseases as well. However, there are some good treatment options available; as well as some things you can do to maintain your health.

Next time we’ll take a closer look at the dangers of inflammation as it relates to your sleep, and more importantly, your health.

 

Is There a Cure for Narcolepsy?


In this article, I’ll define Narcolepsy, discuss the difficulties with proper diagnosis; and then talk about some treatment options. As well as ultimately answer the question, ‘is there a cure for Narcolepsy?’

Is there a Cure for Narcolepsy?

So just what is Narcolepsy anyway? And where did this crazy word come from? The word itself actually comes from two Greek words which basically means ‘numbness attack’.

And there are essentially two types of this disorder; Those who experience muscle weakness during a strong emotional event, and those who don’t. And while this disorder occurs in about 1 out of every 2,000 people, yet most remain undiagnosed. In fact, Narcolepsy without muscle weakness is the most difficult to diagnose.

Furthermore, this disorder affects both men and women equally. Age of onset depends on whether it runs in your family or not. However, if there’s a family history, it’ll start earlier in life; otherwise, it can start just about anytime. Interestingly, it usually occurs earlier in African Americans; who also suffer more severe daytime sleepiness.

Now, let’s see what Narcolepsy looks like.

Signs and Symptoms

The four classic signs of this disorder are:

  • Excessive sleepiness with ‘sleep attacks’.
  • Hallucinations, which really are dreams breaking through into the waking mind.
  • Feeling paralyzed just before falling asleep, or just after waking up. This is known as sleep paralysis.
  • Muscle weakness caused by strong emotions. This is called Cataplexy.

Also, some people will exhibit something called ‘automatic behaviors’. This usually involves habitual behaviors, where a person will be doing something, then suddenly ‘zone out’. They’ll continue to do what they were doing, only at a lower quality level; but not be aware of anything.

Additionally, while people without Narcolepsy generally sleep for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs before entering dream sleep, someone with Narcolepsy can fall asleep and immediately be in dream land.

Not only that, but sleep comes on suddenly. However, some say they don’t just ‘pass out; yet others say they do. All the while having a crazy sleep schedule; along with laying awake at night, but fighting sleep during the day.

Eating disorders are also common in this disease. In fact, binge eating in childhood onset narcolepsy leads to obesity. These, as well as impulsive behaviors, are more prevalent in narcolepsy with muscle weakness (cataplexy).

There are also people who have thought they were going crazy because they would see things that weren’t there. Again, these hallucinations are actually dreams breaking through into waking life.

However, sleep paralysis is probably the most terrifying symptom. You see and hear things that aren’t there, all while not being able to move; and breathing can even be difficult. Sometimes you sense a presence in the room with you, which can be quite unsettling, to say the least.

What Causes Narcolepsy?

There’s strong evidence that, at least in some cases, it is hereditary. But there are other factors as well; and in some cases, the cause is unknown.

For example, there are certain neurons that regulate our energy levels. When these guys are firing full tilt, you become anxious; which is part of the fight-or-flight response. If there are low numbers of these cells, they cause sleepiness and eating disorders which can lead to obesity.

And people with Narcolepsy, have lower numbers of these neurons. That’s why if you have this disorder, you can also suffer from eating disorders and struggle with obesity. There’s also the possibility of it being an autoimmune disorder, where the body literally attacks itself.

Other possible causes include Food intolerance, brain damage, or tumors. As a result, diagnosis can take many years, especially if cataplexy is present. One reason for this is because Narcolepsy without muscle weakness can be misdiagnosed as depression.

With that in mind, what was it like to have Narcolepsy before people knew what it was? Especially considering the alternative.

Let’s take a look at something that’s quite intriguing.

 Narcolepsy or Schizophrenia?

Part of this disorder involves hallucinations, and these can become so intense, and the person so delusional, that they could be misdiagnosed with Schizophrenia. The question is, has this actually happened? Or, has anyone ever been admitted to an insane asylum, when really all they had was Narcolepsy?

Yet, while there are similarities between the two, there are also clear differences. Narcoleptic hallucinations are more visual; whereas Schizophrenic hallucinations are mostly auditory. And although both disorders exhibit delusional states, the more intense delusions in Narcolepsy are related to medications, not the disease itself.

So then, in order to properly diagnose Narcolepsy, you would first spend a night in a sleep lab. This would do 2 things: 1-Either establish or eliminate the possibility of sleep apneas the cause of daytime drowsiness. And 2-Establish a baseline for the follow up daytime study.

The daytime study consists of a series of naps to determine how fast you fall asleep, and if you enter dream sleep early on. Once properly diagnosed, getting the right treatment is next.

Treatment

Let’s take a brief look at both conventional and alternative treatment options.

Conventional

Some of the common prescription medications are Provigil and Nuvigil for excessive daytime sleepiness. Medications that reduce the amount of dream sleep treat sleep paralysis and hallucinations. These include anti-depressants such as Prozac and Effexor.

However, drugs only mask the symptoms and don’t address the cause of this disorder. Let’s look at some treatment options that do.

Alternative

Considering the evidence that Narcolepsy could be an autoimmune disorder, intolerance to certain foods is worth considering. If that’s something you want to explore, talk with your Nutritionist or Dr. about an elimination diet.

Also, Calcium, Magnesium, and a little guy called Co-Enzyme Q10, have been shown to reduce sleep paralysis.

In addition to these, studies show a supplement called 5-HTP help reduce Cataplexy and improve nighttime sleep. 5-HTP also naturally occurs in your body and helps build up Serotonin levels. And if you remember, Serotonin helps us sleep.

Keep in mind that regular exercise and nap times can be very beneficial as well.

Conclusion

So, Narcolepsy can very crippling, and go undiagnosed for years. This must be very frustrating to that person who might begin to question their own sanity. Moreover, the cause of Narcolepsy in some people remains a bit of a mystery.

But the question is, is there a cure for Narcolepsy? Unfortunately, not at this time; however, as you’ve seen, there are some pretty effective treatment options available. Therefore, if you have Narcolepsy, or if you know someone with this disorder, a Doctor visit is a good place to start.

Till next time, blessings.


, please post a comment; maybe get a conversation started on this rather debilitating disorder.

The Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation Part 2

Here’s part 2 of my article on sleep deprivation. Be sure to read part 1 first. This time we’ll focus on your gut health, as well as address some natural treatment options.

 

The Brain-Gut Connection

Serotonin is our first player. This little guy not only affects your mood but makes you sleepy as well. However, your gut makes more Serotonin than your brain. In fact, it produces 85% of your total serotonin.

Consequently, you can literally ‘feel’ with your gut. Not only that, but your gut is made of the same stuff as your brain; as a result, there’s a strong connection between the two.

So, mood and emotions have a strong influence on your digestive system. Sleep deprivation and gut healthThat’s why you get that ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling when you’re nervous or anxious about something. In fact, your gut is considered your ‘second brain’.

Therefore, anxiety can cause intestinal distress, and intestinal distress can cause stress or anxiety. Not only that, but stress and anxiety can even make inflammation worse, and/or make you more susceptible to infection.

Interestingly, low levels of Serotonin can be the cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, and some studies showed women tend to have lower levels of serotonin than men.

Our second player is bacteria. And while we usually think of bacteria as causing disease, many are absolutely essential for your health.

Let’s take a look.

Gut Health and Sleep

There’s a whole lot of good bacteria in your gut called probiotics. These little guys help regulate hormones which not only improve your health but also help you sleep.

These good bacteria can also increase levels of melatonin, which is your brains’ natural sleep aide. They do this by increasing levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, which is also found in certain foods. I’ll address this under ‘Treatments’

Additionally, your gut, just like your brain has a daily cycle. But if that cycle is disrupted, it can cause heart disease or even cancer. So sleep deprivation can have some serious side effects.

And because women experience more variations in their digestive system throughout their life, they are more susceptible to IBS and other diseases, even without sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, here are some food items that can make irritable bowel syndrome worse:

  • Fried fatty foods, large meals.
  • Chocolate, alcohol, caffeine.
  • Fructose, sorbitol, carbonated drinks.
  • High fiber, especially the insoluble kind.
  • Dairy products, especially cheese.
Lifestyle and Sleep Deprivation

I’ve talked with many patients in my sleep lab, and I hear over and over again that they use t.v for ‘white noise’;  or “I can’t get to sleep without the t.v. because it’s too quiet”. They claim they sleep better with it.

However, light interferes with sleep by resetting your internal clock, even if your eyes are closed. So if you believe you can’t sleep without the t.v., think again.

While you need a certain amount of sleep, taking a nap will reduce the amount of sleep you’ll need for the coming night. This can ultimately lead to fragmented sleep and insomnia.

So if you’re laying in bed, and for some reason can’t get to sleep, get out of bed (and even the bedroom), and go sit in a chair or something. The bedroom should only be associated with sleep and sex. 

Treatments

Some of the more common medications prescribed for insomnia are Ambien, Sonata, and  Lunesta. Also, the class of antidepressants that increase levels of Serotonin are proving beneficial in the treatment of IBS.

However, behavioral therapies have been proven as effective, if not more so, than medication for treating sleep deprivation. In fact, studies show that behavioral therapies remain effective even after treatments are stopped.

Let’s have a look at some of these treatments, shall we?

First up, Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT.

CBT is basically changing the patterns of thinking or behavior. First of all, you need to identify the underlying cause of your insomnia. This involves keeping a sleep journal for a couple weeks. Then techniques include:

  • stimulus control
  • sleep hygiene
  • sleep restriction
  • relaxation techniques
  • biofeedback

And while mild exercise before bedtime encourages sleep, rigorous exercise creates endorphins that can hinder sleep.

Foods that contain Tryptophan include:

  • Nuts, seeds, tofu cheese
  • Red meat, chicken, turkey, fish
  • Oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.

For Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there’s no standard treatment because symptoms of IBS have different causes. Knowing this, keep a food diary,  because what might not affect someone else may affect you.

In general, however, foods to eat include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Starchy carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes, bread, and rice.
  • Some protein foods, like fish and eggs.
  • Drink plenty of water, including herbal teas.
Conclusion

So, it seems that good quality sleep is more important than good quality awake time. And while many people think that depression and anxiety cause insomnia, the reverse might actually be the case.

Also, what you eat can affect your sleep, for better, or worse, and this is especially true for women.

Therefore, if you find yourself going in and out of sleep, waking early and not being able to return to sleep; and also feeling tired throughout the day, there’s hope. However, it will mean a lifestyle, and possibly a diet change.

And change can be hard work, but well worth a healthier life.