Eclass 48 Sleep Essentials
How did you sleep?
Such a simple question, yet so much information can be gained from this simple question.
This week we look at what you can do to help your clients sleep better, but also how treating sleep issues will also improve the resilience of their nervous system. We will cover
- The price of ignoring sleep
- The importance of sleep
- Why aren’t you sleeping
- Treat the cause
- Using Tissue Salts for sleep disorders
- The Clinical Science of Biochemic Medicine
- Gunther Heepen: Schuessler Tissue Salts – 12 Minerals for your Health
- Way to good Health Magazine
The price for ignoring sleep
Did you know that Healthy sleep has been proven to be the most important factor in predicting how long you live? Dr William Dement “The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection between Health, Happiness and a Good Night’s Sleep” reveals the price for ignoring sleep is an epidemic of Heart disease, 33% increase in traffic fatigue related accidents, as well as mental and psychological problems.
In my clinic, I see so many clients who, as part of their symptoms, have sleep affected. When you understand that sleep is one measure of how easily your nervous system can switch off and relax, you see that how we deal with stress is often reflected in our sleep patterns. The follow-on effect of a nervous system that is on alert, and can’t relax is that your digestive system also can’t digest your food properly. The nervous system needs to be able to wind down, turn off, “Rest and Digest”. Sleep is important for body and mind, digestion, rejuvenation and revitalization.
The importance of sleep – Lessons from Dorothy Hall:
I learnt early on from Dorothy Hall the importance of sleep, for clinical analysis and as a measure of nervous system health. She gave us a list of key areas to check for your client’s health. The first one was sleep. How easily your clients fall asleep, stay asleep, and how they feel when they wake up is a really good indicator of their nervous system health. This gave me information about which nervine I needed to give.
- A client who can go to bed and fall to sleep easily, sleep deeply through the night and wake refreshed shows that they can let go of the cares and concerns of the day, and rest and recover.
- A client who goes to bed but can’t get to sleep, wakes frequently, or wakes and can’t get back to sleep shows that their nervous system is compromised, and needs support.
Dorothy Hall’s system of herbal treatment involved a mixture of 5 herbs and 5 Bach flower remedies. Every client’s mixture always included a nervine, to help the nervous system. The Bach flowers were for emotional support and wellbeing. It was a great way to ensure that your client felt significant improvements in their health and wellbeing within a month.
Similarly, when using Tissue Salts, your client’s sleep patterns, and other signs and symptoms give a good indication of the health of their nervous system and, which Tissue Salts will support their nervous system. If their nervous system is healthy, their overall resilience is improved to handle life and the various stresses in their life.
Not sleeping? Why?
When clients don’t sleep well, it is important to work out the cause of the lack of sleep. This will help with your prescription.
So, take a moment to think about why your clients may not be able to sleep.
What sorts of things will disrupt sleep?
- Difficulties falling asleep
- Difficulty waking up
- Difficulty going back to sleep after waking up
- Restless sleep
- Restless or noisy sleeping habits of a partner or child
- Need to go to the bathroom one or numerous times in the night
Examples of causes
- Shift workers working irregular hours, or different hours to the rest of the household
- Mental and/or physical exhaustion
- Illness, pain or sickness, for example earaches, fevers
- Nightmares and bad dreams
- Physically exhausted, but can’t wind down
- Grief and loss of a loved one
- Prolonged stress
- Mental thoughts or overstimulation – mind won’t switch off
- Difficulties at work
- Relationship issues at home or in the workplace
- Worries and concerns
- Restless or noisy sleeping habits of a partner or disrupted sleep of child waking a parent – In these cases it may be important to treat the client, and the other family member
Treat the Cause
As well as using Tissue Salts in many of these cases, it is important to also address the cause of the problem.
For example, if little Johnny keeps coming into mum’s bedroom, and wakes her up several times a night, only giving mum Tissue Salts may help her recover from the lack of sleep. But why is little Johnny coming into the bedroom so many time in the night?
- Little Johnny is sick and has an ear infection – treat the ear infection and support both people.
- Little Johnny keeps having nightmares – Why? Is there something he is worried about? Does he need something in his room to help him feel safe at night? Does he need more time with mum during the day, so he doesn’t need to come in at night? Does he need cuddles and a bedtime story to help him wind down from the day?
- Little Johnny is bedwetting. Mum needs to get up every night to change the sheets most nights – Why is little Johnny bedwetting?
Using Tissue Salts for Sleep Disorders and to balance the nervous system.
So often I see that providing one or a more of the following minerals can mean the difference between
- waking up “feeling like you have been hit by a truck”, or waking up refreshed;
- tossing and turning all night, or feeling rested;
- waking up to go to the toilet …again, or sleeping through peacefully
- waking up with a head full of thoughts and not able to get back to sleep, or dropping off to sleep easily, and sleeping through the night
- waking up to cramping muscles or twitching limbs which keep you from sleeping restfully.
- and more…
I think you get the idea…
Each of these scenarios give clues to which minerals might be out of balance, and hence how to treat that imbalance so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Calms the nervous system, and is great after physical labour, effort or exercise. It helps your muscles to relax, and often leaves you waking feeling rested and refreshed.
Have you got one of those minds that won’t stop thinking? Kali phos is important when there is fatigue from mental effort, or when there is physical and mental exhaustion. It helps regulate the nervous system with Magnesium phosphate.
I use Kali Phos when clients wake from sleep and can’t get back to sleep due to thoughts running around their head, and their mind won’t switch off. 5 tablets taken in the middle of the night when it happens often has them sleeping like a baby soon after.
Calc phos has an important relaxation role in the body. I like to think of one aspect of its action as “rest and digest”. Children are using a lot of calcium phos to build their bones, and bodies as they grow. A child is more likely to need Calc Phos if they aren’t sleeping well, than Kali Phos.
Silica helps the carry the messages in the body and is a key component of the outer sheath of the nerves. I find it beneficial for children who you put to bed at one end, and come in later to find them turned around and the sheets all twisted around.
Older people suffering insomnia also benefit from Silica before bed.
Additional remedies that may assist with a well-rested sleep are:
Nat Chlor helps when there is poor quality sleep and the person is tired on waking. They may also suffer drowsiness with muscular weakness.
Nat Sulph is a great detoxification remedy. Clients who lie awake between 11pm and 1am can benefit from Nat Sulph to help regulate bile. Insomnia between 1am and 3am is well known as liver time, and Nat Sulph may help in those cases as well.
Nat Sulph also helps the body to digest during the rest stage, and may assist movement of the bowels in the morning along with excretion of any toxins.
- Mag Phos and Kali Phos balance both sides of the nervous system and work well together when sleeplessness is due to stress.
- The time that your client wakes can be attributed to the appropriate minerals required using the Chinese organ clock. In some cases this may help you work out the best mineral.
- 5 Mag Phos and 2 Calc Phos before bed may also assist sleep. This is especially suitable for
- Children who aren’t sleeping well generally need Calc Phos and Mag Phos rather than Kali Phos and Mag Phos
- After shock or trauma Calc Phos and Mag Phos have been found to be better to regulate the nervous system than Kali Phos and Mag Phos. Tissue Salts for Animals expert Sue Bradtke has found this is especially so with traumatized animals.
- This combination helps to relax and calm the nervous system.
- Detoxification – Detoxificaion remedies like Nat Sulph can be taken before bed to help with the rest digest and detox process whilst the body is sleeping and in “rest and digest” mode.
Other reasons for disrupted sleep
Frequent need to urinate in the night or bedwetting
Whilst bedwetting (enuresis nocturna) is more common in children than adults, adults may have disrupted sleep from waking numerous times.
There are a variety of causes
- Frequent Urinary tract infections – use appropriate remedies for the infection, eg Ferrum phos, Calc Sulph during the day.
- Stress, or psychological pressures such as family conflict, excessive demands on the person
- Inability to relax and relieve the bladder during the day. On falling asleep the body relaxes, and the bladder releases.
- Involuntary urination – Nat Sulph
- Problems with the Bladder sphincter – Ferrum Phos
- Weak nerves or exhaustion despite having a healthy nervous system – Kali Phos
- Psychological causes – Kali Phos. Use in conjunction with appropriate psychological therapy
- In older men – prostate issues may cause frequent need to urinate in the night. Use appropriate remedies for the person. These may include Mag phos and Calc Sulph
Jet lag and shift work
Mag Phos can help to regulate the sleep patterns caused by jetlag or shift work.
- 10 Mag Phos tablets taken before bed the day before a long-distance flight,
- 5 tablets taken before each sleep cycle on the flight or every 12 hours
- then each night 30 minutes before bed at your destination
- Take mag phos 30 minutes before bed after your shift, or your normal bedtime.
I hope that gives you some new ways to think about sleep issues.
I thought you might like to see how I use Dorothy Hall’s Quick Assessment tool to track my client’s sleep patterns and other improvements.
Dorothy Hall’s Quick Assessment Tool
Dorothy Hall was a world renowned Australian Herbalist. She was incredibly skilled in her knowledge, and in her ability to teach practical information that her students could use and be successful in practice. In fact, she had the highest rate of students becoming practitioners of any herbal course in Australia, at least double of any other course. This is one of the simple tools she taught us to sum up the case.
No of Pregnancies:
No of Children/ages:
Alot of information can be gained quickly just by answering these questions. Answers don’t need to be in long sentences, but in your own shorthand. For example, for sleep, here are some examples.
- I sleep like a log and from 10pm don’t wake til 7am 10pm _________________7am
- I get up to go to the toilet at 2am __________ 2am____
- I have trouble getting to sleep til 12 then sleep well ……….12am__________
- I feel like I am in and out of sleep all night
- I sleep ok, but wake up grumpy and don’t want to get up __________________—
So you can vary this easily in your own way, with your squiggles indicating various types of sleep. This mini picture makes it very easy to see how their sleep patterns have changed from their first consult compared to follow up consults.
Key points to note are
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Times that they wake or fall asleep
- No of times or regular time that they wake to go to the toilet
- Times when they wake and can’t get back to sleep
- How they feel in the morning when they wake up.
A quick note on the other categories listed and information to add. These quick categories can shortcut a whole lot of questions. If you can, create your own shorthand answers that you can interpret quickly and refer to as a quick assessment of where your client was, and where they are now.
Appetite: lack or excessive, snacking between meals, cravings
Fluid: water intake, and tea coffee juice or softdrink
Alcohol: how much and preferred type. For example, a beer drinker is more likely to drink with their mates, red wine with a meal, white wine socially or away from food. From a Naturopathic point of view the different alcohol preferences can help indicate different deficiencies, remedies and personality traits.
Life: what life stresses have they had and when. And how do they view life. Things happen I life, but different people deal with stress in different ways
Bowels: frequency of bowel movements, type and consistency, tendency to diarrhea or constipation
Urine: colour and frequency
Menstruation: symptoms prior to and during menstruation, e.g. cramping, clots, heaviness, and when they stopped menstruating and any menopausal symptoms
Rel/sh: (Relationship) quality of close personal relationships, eg supportive/ happy/ stressful/ unhappy. This is the environment they are in day in and day out and may contribute to their overall health and wellbeing.
Energy: energy levels, and how long energy levels have been this way.
Medications: any medications they are on
No of pregnancies: No of children/ages: gives a quick overview of any history of miscarriage etc, and of the possible stresses from having children.
I hope you find that useful both as an assessment tool and as a follow up of where your client was, and where they are now.