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The following article originally appeared in the February, 2007 edition of
Natural Awakenings Magazine-Houston

Sleep: The Ultimate Healthy Escape, by Stuart C. Marmorstein, DC

Forget airport security, reservations and even packing. Your destination is the ultimate healthy escape: sleep. REALLY get away from it all. Your well-being depends on it. During sleep, you restore your body, mind and spirit in ways waking activities cannot duplicate. You can experience dreamy adventures or gain insights during your sleep hours, or just wake up feeling refreshed and peaceful.

Unlike vacations, which some unwisely consider optional, the need for sleep is non-negotiable. Losing sleep can be disastrous. Some people lose sleep because of a fast-paced lifestyle, while others suffer with treatable imbalances.

According to Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, chronic sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders affect 70 million Americans, racking up $15 billion in health care costs. Insomniacs can hurt the rest of us, too. I don't know about you, but I don't believe that surgeons or truck drivers can operate safely unless they're awake.

Too, sleep deprivation increases the risks of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. White blood cell count and activity decrease, lowering immune function, as sleep loss continues. The brain starts shutting down like a city during a power failure. With that shutdown goes judgment, learning ability, reaction time and the ability to maintain a good mood. Conditions related to pain and fatigue, like fibromyalgia, may worsen as a result of sleep difficulties and their effects on the nerves and metabolism.

The essential trick to taming sleep deprivation is to identify the stressors that keep the brain from downshifting. Once we've eliminated the obvious behavioral factors of voluntary overstimulation before bedtime (including twilight double espressos, heavy dinners, heated arguments or late-night workouts) we can look at some subtle and surprisingly common health issues that many lose sleep over.

One oft-overlooked truth is that our brains are electrochemical entities. They need certain chemicals called neurotransmitters to function properly. These chemicals include serotonin, acetylcholine, GABA and dopamine. Ironically, prolonged sleep loss, pain and stress can cause the levels of these chemicals to nose-dive. Thus, the vicious cycle begins: Low chemicals lead to less sleep, and vice versa. Fortunately, reliable urine testing methods can reveal key levels of six neurotransmitters, and proven diet and supplement strategies can bring these levels back to normal. The result: Better focus, lower craving for junk food and proven relief from anxiety and depression.

Muscle Response Testing (Kinesiology) can be used to detect stress caused by toxins, infections, and allergies. Since insomnia decreases immune function, organs (including the brain) may be vulnerable to attack by viruses, bacteria, molds and parasites.

CranioBiotic Technique is also an effective, non-invasive, holistic treatment. The doctor checks body reflex points, then uses muscle response testing (kinesiology) to tell when the body is reacting to stored toxins, and infections, or allergens. Since insomnia decreases immune function, organs (including the brain) become more vulnerable to attack by viruses, bacteria, fungi?including yeast?, and parasites. The patient can also develop allergies to dust, dust mites commonly found in bed clothing and mattresses. Once the problems have been pinpointed, stimulating acupoints on the head halts these adverse reactions to the sleeper's environment. The result: improved sleep habits.

Another way to help fight those sleepless nights is Bio Cranial Therapy. The brain is protected within the skull by a lining that surrounds it and divides it into sections. When external and internal forces affect this lining, they interfere with subsequent nerve conduction and blood flow. When balance is restored, the nervous system can more easily shift from the sympathetic mode prevalent during our active days (think Orange Alert); to the more relaxed parasympathetic mode?allowing the patent to slow down, relax and drift into sleep when it's time to do so.

According to an Irish proverb, "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." May you be blessed with both and with plenty of great Natural Awakenings.

Bio Cranial™ can naturally lower inflammation See proof here.