Sleep Disorders

Healing begins with good sleep
--Dr Javed Hingora, Founder of the STEPS Program©

Why do we need sleep?

All bodily processes have a certain rhythm to them, natural cycles of highs and lows we go through. This is called the circadian rhythm. Like the sun rises, reaches its zenith and then starts to set. There is an unmistakable rhythm to all these processes. We all go through a period of high energy, that ebbs, leaving us needing rest. The accumulated result of all this activity needs reorganizing and repair. Sleep is this essential activity that enables repair, reorganizing of neural activity of the day and rejuvenation of the body and mind. We cannot survive without it and it is as essential as breathing and feeding. Sleep comes naturally, or at least it should. It is so natural to humans that it sometimes poses a safety risk; people fall asleep while driving!

Sleep problems are on the rise globally, leading to general health disturbances. Since the invention of the light bulb, there has been a gradual shift in sleep patterns around the world, as the difference between light and darkness has diminished. As the most important signal affecting the circadian rhythm is light, artificial lighting, gadgets and stresses of modern life have had a profound negative impact on human sleep cycles.

How much sleep do you need?

An average adult needs about 7 to 8 hours of good sleep a day. Though its the quality of sleep that matters more than the duration. Children are particularly affected by lack of sleep since it affects their general development.

How do you know if you are getting enough or good sleep?

If you wake up easily, feel fresh and energetic on waking, you are sleeping well. With a good restful sleep, there is no need for naps during the day. If you find yourself snoozing the alarm, feel dull or unfresh on waking, need to take naps during the day, need caffeine to wake you up completely, most likely you are not sleeping well.

Factors affecting sleep duration or quality:

  1. Anxiety and stress
  2. Bad bedtime habits like gadget use
  3. Caffeine, alcohol or tobacco use
  4. Chronic pain
  5. Hormonal imbalance
  6. Lack of physical exercise
  7. Medication side effects
  8. Nasal blockage
  9. Not maintaining regular sleep timings
  10. Poor dietary habits like eating too close to sleep time
  11. Prostate of bladder problems
  12. Restless leg syndrome
  13. Sleep medications
  14. Snoring or sleep apnea

Sleep problems:

Inability to sleep well is one of the most important indicators that precedes disease conditions or a deterioration in health. It is often a consequence of an imbalance on the physical, emotional or mental level.

Some common sleep problems are:

  1. Difficulty falling asleep
  2. Dreams disturbing sleep
  3. Excessive or prolonged sleep
  4. Light sleep
  5. Restless sleep
  6. Sleep talking
  7. Sleep walking
  8. Too short sleep
  9. Unrefreshing sleep
  10. Waking often

Disorders associated with disturbed sleep:

  1. Nightmares
  2. Restless leg syndrome
  3. Sleep apnea
  4. Sleep paralysis
  5. Sleep talking
  6. Sleep walking
  7. Teeth grinding (Bruxism)

Myths Associated With Sleep

Sleeping Pills Help Sleep:

One of the biggest myths is that sleeping pills make a person sleep. They do not. They numb the brain into a non functional state, hindering a lot of brain activity essential for background processing and sorting of neurological activities of the day.

Sleeping is a waste of time:

Another myth is that sleeping is a waste of time. Gaining some extra time by losing sleep is soon compensated negatively by profound negative effects of sleep deprivation on the mood, concentration ability, and ability to use higher-level brain functions for many days. The negative effects of sleep loss are so profound that people who are drunk outperform those who lose sleep.

One can catch up on lost sleep over the weekend:

If there is sleep deprivation, it leaves its impact on health right the next day. Catching up on sleep over the weekend does not reverse the damage caused by loss of sleep.

One can function without sleep using caffeine as a stimulant:

Nothing is further from the truth. Caffeine only provides a short term kick but requires more than 48 hours to be flushed out of the body. This causes poorer quality sleep when it is possible to have a good sleep. Caffeine cannot be a substitute for the fresh feeling that comes with a natural good sleep.

Damage Caused by Insufficient Sleep

  • Accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain cells
  • Anxiety
  • Bodyache
  • Hair loss
  • Higher risk of accidents while working or driving
  • Impairment of creativity, problems solving skills and emotional balance
  • Inability to organize information in the brain cells leading to memory lapses and poor focus
  • Increase in stress hormone cortisol
  • Increased craving for unhealthy food, increased appetite leading to weight gain
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Irritable mood
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Lack of patience
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Premature aging
  • Proneness to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity
  • Tremors and muscle twitchings
  • Unhealthy skin and hair

Tips to Have Natural and Healthy Sleep

  1. Avoid Sleeping Aids:
    These include melatonin, sleeping pills, alcohol, cough syrups, panadol night etc.. All of these disrupt your brain's natural ability to have a good sleep. Sedation or numbing of the brain using any of these aids seriously interferes with the various stages of sleep cycles and disrupts normal restoration of brain cells. Most such aids are also addictive. If you are unable to get good sleep naturally, a thorough analysis of the cause and a natural treatment protocol is needed to fix it permanently.

  2. Stop Drinking Caffeine (at least after lunch)
    Coffee seriously affects the quality of sleep. Yes, even a cup in the morning has an impact on that night’s sleep. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by raising adrenaline release and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Caffeine has a six hour half-life, meaning it takes 24 hours to get flushed out of the system. A cup at 8 in the morning means you still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8 in the evening. Anything you drink after noon will still be near 50% strength at bedtime. Presence of any caffeine in the body makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Not only that, caffeine impacts sleep by reducing rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the deeper stage of sleep when your body recuperates the most. This would cause you to wake up with a cognitive and emotional disturbance. You’ll be naturally tempted to grab a cup of coffee or an energy drink to try to make yourself feel more alert, creating a vicious cycle.

  3. Avoid Blue Light at Night
    Since light is the most important signal influencing sleep and wakefulness, the blue light emitted by gadget screens influences our brain’s ability to go into sleep negatively. Morning sunlight contains high levels of this "blue" light. When you are exposed to this light directly, this blue light stops the production of melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone and making you feel more alert.
    By afternoon, the sunlight starts to lose its blue light, allowing the release of melatonin and beginning the process of making you sleepy. By sunset time, your brain does not expect any blue light and becomes very sensitive to it. With direct exposure to it through various devices, melatonin production is impaired and interferes with the ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. The best thing to do is avoid screens after dinner (television is okay if sufficient distance is kept from it). If you must use screens in the evening, you can limit your exposure with a blue light filter or protective eyewear.

  4. Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
    Keeping your sleep timings consistent helps immensely allowing the body to follow a rhythmic pattern. This applies especially to your wake up time. When you have a consistent time to wake up, your brain adjusts to this cycle and accordingly starts to be active at that consistent time. Levels of certain hormones rise about an hour before you wake and continue to rise gradually (along with your body temperature and blood pressure), causing you to become fully alert. This is the reason some find themselves waking up right before their alarm goes off.
    When you do not maintain this consistent cycle, your brain doesn't know when to complete the cyclical process and when it should start to be alert. Before the invention of the light bulb, sunlight ensured a consistent wake-up time. Nowadays only an alarm makes this possible.

  5. No binge sleeping on the weekend
    Trying to catch up on lost sleep and binging on sleep on weekends has an unhealthy impact on your circadian rhythm. By suddenly changing the time that your brain should be alert, it causes you to feel groggy and tired. It also makes it harder to go back to the original schedule because that would mean waking up at a different time the next morning.

  6. Estimate How Much Sleep You Really Need
    Each person has a different need in terms of the number of hours of good healthy sleep they need. It is genetically encoded and is not something one can change. Due to pressures of modern lifestyle, most people sleep less than this required amount. They start to experience subtle signs of degradation in their overall performance and health, but fail to connect it to insufficient sleep. By judging how fresh and energetic you feel on waking up and how exhausted you are around bedtime, you should be able to figure out the right sleeping hours you need.

  7. Stop Working
    Work is stimulating to the brain and slows down its transition to sleep mode. Evening is when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Surveys show that about 60% of people check their smartphones for work emails before they go to sleep. It is not only bombarding your brain with the blue light, but also creating alertness as it forces you to actively think. Any work before bed should be avoided if you want good quality sleep.

  8. Eliminate Interruptions
    Unfortunately there are factors beyond our control that might interrupt sleep like families with small children. The idea here is to minimize all the interruptions that are under your control. Like putting the phone on silent mode, wearing earplugs if the neighbors are loud etc. If you think it through you can make changes to eliminate unnecessary interruptions to your sleep.

  9. Learn to Meditate
    Meditation is known to improve the quality of sleep, reducing the number of hours needed.

  10. Try Taking Power Naps
    Short afternoon naps lasting between 15 and 25 minutes are known to rejuvenate brain function and reinstate alertness back to pre lunch levels. On the other hand if you feel an overwhelming need to sleep in the afternoon, you are probably not getting quality sleep at night. If this happens, it’s a good idea to take a short nap (even as short as 15 minutes) rather than resorting to caffeine to keep you awake. A short nap will give you the rest you need and you will sleep better in the evening without the caffeine.

Treatment of Sleep Disorders with the STEPS Program©

The STEPS Program© approach to treating sleep disorders can be summarized in 3 words

Know ---> Heal ---> Evolve

To truly heal, one must first know oneself, and all that causes one’s disease. For, it is only after true healing that one evolves to their full potential.

Dr Javed Hingora

Founder of the STEPS Program© and the KIDS Program©

Know ---> Heal ---> Evolve

Step 1

Know

Diagnosis

Using the Health-O-Meter© Analysis, the first step is to know what needs to be treated or changed. This analysis reveals the following about the person:

  • The person’s unique personality type, body type, sensitivities and associated factors involved in causing this disorder.
  • The current health status based on an analysis of genetic history, birth history, medical history, laboratory tests and evaluation by various holistic experts.
  • Lifestyle factors like diet, sleep, exercise, toxins that contribute to the condition.
  • All therapies, interventions and changes needed to heal and restore normal functioning naturally.
Step 2

Heal

Treatment

  • One or more of the appropriate natural therapies are employed from the STEPS Program© and Philolife therapies, to treat the problem and its core causes.
  • Periodic assessments are done to ensure progress and permanency of healing.
Step 3

Evolve

Disease Prevention and Health Improvement

Resources for forming healthy habits and lifestyle choices are offered in collaboration with Philolife therapies

For more information Enquire
Step 1

Know

Diagnosis

Using the Health-O-Meter© Analysis, the first step is to know what needs to be treated or changed. This analysis reveals the following about the person:

  • The person’s unique personality type, body type, sensitivities and associated factors involved in causing this disorder.
  • The current health status based on an analysis of genetic history, birth history, medical history, laboratory tests and evaluation by various holistic experts.
  • Lifestyle factors like diet, sleep, exercise, toxins that contribute to the condition.
  • All therapies, interventions and changes needed to heal and restore normal functioning naturally.
Step 2

Heal

Treatment

  • One or more of the appropriate natural therapies are employed from the STEPS Program© and Philolife therapies, to treat the problem and its core causes.
  • Periodic assessments are done to ensure progress and permanency of healing.
Step 3

Evolve

Disease Prevention and Health Improvement

Resources for forming healthy habits and lifestyle choices are offered in collaboration with Philolife therapies

For more information Enquire