Why do we sleep?
Sleep is a process that our bodies require to regenerate physical tissue. It is the state of being that is best suited for cells of all kinds to repair and regenerate. Without it, our bodies would rapidly decline in a few short years and our life span would be more closely to that of many animals.
To better understand the requirements of sleep and the natural order of our body, it is helpful to get a grasp of our evolutionary development as human beings.
We have carefully and slowly evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years in perfect concert with natural selection. Through this time, evolutionary development has adapted to all the complex requirements the various species need for survival.
As man had to face the elements, the dangers of other animals and changing weather patterns, nature slowly introduced and developed physical attributes and requirements that best supported our efforts to survive.
All of these attributes were in perfect harmony with everything that existed because in evolutionary terms, there was no hurry and only that which worked could survive over time.
The elements involved were things like the presence and absence of sunlight, changes in temperatures and cellular respiration. In case you were wondering just how perfect nature is, remember that during this whole evolutionary developmental process, anything that did not fit in became extinct.
By the time we got to 50,000 years ago, our bodies were well programmed to sleep after the sun went down to repair and regenerate cells. This created a pattern in our body called the ‘circadian cycle’. The circadian cycle is a series of times throughout the day and night, which call for our bodies (and minds) to do certain things.
What is important to grasp here is that the development of this cycle took millions of years to complete. Therefore, anything that has come about within the last 100 years is completely foreign to our physiology. Knowing this, it is easy to see that to the extent we get out of sync with this cycle and natural order, is the extent to which our body cannot function ‘normally’.
In order to make sure that we adhere to this cycle, nature developed a special organ called the Pineal Gland. This small gland is housed in our brain, close to the location of our master hormonal glands, the Hypothalamus and Pituitary Glands. The purpose of the Pineal Gland is to secrete a substance known as melatonin, which reminds our body that it needs to sleep. The Pineal Gland also triggers hormonal activity ordained by evolution to occur during rest time. Hormones like HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and Prolactin are secreted during sleep time. The Liver produces bile during sleep to be stored in the Gallbladder. Cortisol levels are raised to peak upon wakening.
If that wasn’t enough to get us to want to lie down, other safeguards were ingrained in our physiology. Since cortisol levels are built up during sleep and cortisol is what our brain requires to focus, a prolonged lack of sleep will result is our complete inability to concentrate, forcing us to be unable to stay awake.
This is because nature has ordained that sleep is critical to our ability to repair, sustain and maintain our organ function.
How much sleep is enough?
It is often asked about the number of hours required for sleep in a person. The correct answer is ‘enough time to complete the sleep cycle of non-REM and REM several times over’. From the best we have been able to measure, it seems that in a normal adult this is somewhere between 7 and 9 hours per night. It is true that some people can require less and some more. But few individuals can go through the required regenerative processes in less than 6 hours per night.
The reason that individuals differ in sleep requirements is that each person’s rate of cellular regeneration and hormonal activity vary in accordance with their level of health. Contrary to common logic, we do no adjust or get used to sleep levels and times less than required by our body. In fact, we accumulate what is known as a ‘sleep deficit’ that must be made up relatively quickly (within a week) to correct this deficit and avoid longer-term physiological damage.
Why do people not get enough sleep?
The basic reason people do not get enough sleep is embedded in our modern departure from the natural circadian rhythm programmed in our body. For many people, when the sun sets, energy and activity requirements begin. We have demands upon us that are out of concert with natural order. We have stimulation that has only existed for less than 3 thousand years (e.g. books etc.) and some that have existed less than 70 years (e.g. television).
This is not nearly enough time for evolutionary development to adapt. We are therefore living in an unreal existence in relation to our creation.
Is sleep deprivation dangerous?
Sleep deprivation is possibly the most dangerous health hazard facing modern society. Many experts suspect lack of adequate sleep to be the root cause of all dysfunction in health over the long term.
This is because the regeneration of cell-mediated tissue is the only mechanism we have to survive. Even surgery is entirely dependent upon cell regeneration to succeed. For this reason, surgeons are hesitant to perform even routine surgeries on patients over a certain age. As we age, our ability to regenerate slows down and can render a simple surgery ‘life threatening’.
Can you get by with little sleep?
As the old expression goes; ‘When you jump off a building, you think you’re flying’. This is nowhere truer than with sleep. Remember, nature has carefully designed our bodies to survive. And even to the extent we will develop harmful health conditions and diseases, our bodies will find a way to compensate.
One of the key requirements we have, to both process Melatonin and maintain smooth nerve transaction, is minerals. This is because for over millions of years, trace minerals that existed in our environment became part of the life process. Minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and others are an integral part of human functionality.
When we go into sleep deprivation, we do not preserve mineral levels because our body is forced to draw on our reserves to keep functioning. This quickly becomes a ‘monster feeding on itself’, because these same minerals are a direct requirement for effective sleep patters. This means, the more we deprive ourselves of sleep, the harder it is to sleep deep enough to reach the required state when we do sleep.
In addition to this, poor food quality, food processing and soil erosion have rendered the food supply void of many of these critical substances, making their replenishment inadequate. And if that’s not enough, radiation, ‘blue’ monitor light and artificial indoor lighting all take their toll.
We may feel we are getting by with little sleep, but are bodies are mightily struggling to keep up with survival. Eventually, diseases develop due to these deficiencies. We typically try to suppress the symptoms and move on.
Is there a clinical solution to lack of sleep?
Yes. In my clinic, we regularly handle these issues successfully.
The way to fix this condition is to treat the actual cause…organ dysfunction from specific nutritional deficiency. These deficiencies are the long term result of processed food, highly refines sugars and soil erosion exasperated by the misguided notion that food is not primary to health…on all levels. You are literally the result of everything you have eaten and drank in your lifetime.
We need to identify the specific organ dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies are at the cause of the problem. We are not competing with medical science. We are simply using medical science in a more logical and responsible way by addressing the causes of health problems; not simply suppressing the symptoms and assuming everything is ok.
What makes this a challenge is that each person and problem presents a unique set of deficiencies because each person’s life experience and nutritional intake has been unique over the course of their lives. In other words, we must find out what specific organ dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies are causing your sleep problems, not your coworker’s or family member’s.
This requires a competent system of analysis in order to make an accurate determination, and then the right concentration of food source in the right amounts to get the body functioning again.
To do this, we use a variety of clinically proven tests and testing techniques, make a determination and design a specific program of supplementation needed to fix the problem. This supplementation is in the form of concentrated whole food nutrients that are only available through a physician. We supervise the administration of these over a treatment course to get the results desired.
If you or someone you know is experience sleep problems, you owe to yourself or that person you know to schedule a consultation to learn what can be done. Please don’t wait because serious health consequences can follow poor sleep patterns.
Dr. Michael Forman received his doctorate degree from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine with a specialization in internal medicine. He also has a post doctorate certification in Applied Clinical Nutrition, which is the clinical application of concentrated food, homeopathic and herbal-based medicines used to address health problems and diseases. Most of Dr. Forman’s patients have been able to reduce or eliminate some or all of the medications they have been taking and are well on their way restoring their health.