In today’s culture, being busy seems to be the hip thing.  

We tend to push sleep aside in order to get more done.  

As Lupus patients, sleeping is vital but many struggle due to imbalances in sex hormones, physical discomfort, and adrenal imbalances.

Whatever your issues might be, sleep is something we must work to achieve every night.

While sleeping is when our body is regenerating, repairing, and healing.

Stress

People who have Lupus generally have excess stress before and after the diagnosis.  It’s the obvious root cause of many diseases.

How we deal with stress is just as important as whether we have stress or not.

Stress is obscure and most of us know we have stress. But stress is not something that’s obvious and tangible.

It can affect your organs which then affects your hormones. 

Stress affects your adrenals, thyroid, sex organs, and digestive organs such as the pancreas, stomach, small and large intestines, gallbladder, and the spleen.

I believe stress is what caused my Lupus, and it’s something that I try to manage as best as I can.

Types and Stages of Sleep

There are two basic types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which has three different stages).

The three non-REM stages are dependent on the brain waves.  

When sleeping, you cycle through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep several times, typically with increasingly longer, deeper REM periods toward morning.

Stage 1

This stage is defined by the transition from being awake to sleeping.  This happens in a short period where you are in relatively light sleep. 

The heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements are slow and your muscles relax with occasional twitches.  This is where your brain waves slow down.

Stage 2

Stage 2 is defined by the period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep. 

The heartbeat and breathing slows down and muscles relax even further.  Your body temperature drops and eye movements stop. 

The brain waves are slow, but they are marked by brief bursts of electrical activity.   This is the stage where most of us spend our time sleeping.

Stage 3

This stage is defined by the period of deep sleep that you need to feel refreshed in the morning. 

It typically occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night.

The heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels.  Your muscles are relaxed, and it is at this stage that it is likely difficult to wake you.

REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) 

REM sleep typically occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep. 

The eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids and is characterized by mixed frequency brain wave activity.

The breathing becomes faster and irregular, and the heart rate and blood pressure typically increase to near waking levels.  

This is where most dreaming occurs, although some can also occur in non-REM stages.

Sleep and Rejuvenation

Sleeping is paramount to health, as this is where the body repairs and rejuvenates.

Although the effects of sleep remain somewhat of a mystery to many, we know what happens when individuals lack sleep.

The productivity goes down, and inflammation goes up. Overall health declines to where one can expect elevated risks for heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and increased blood pressure.

If you have difficult time sleeping, there are things you can do to enhance your ability to fall asleep. 

This includes taking supplements like melatonin, magnesium, valerian and hops extracts.  

If you need assistance with supplements, please email [email protected] for specific formulations.

Winding down in preparation for bedtime is also something you can do. 

Nightly rituals where you avoid stimulating activities, including watching TV, exercising, and drinking alcohol or caffeine, are very helpful.

Drinking calming chamomile tea, taking supplements to help you sleep, and taking a bath are all things that can help you relax your mind prior to bedtime.

Sleep Disturbance

Stress can also alter sleep by affecting our adrenals and thyroid. 

If you suspect you have some medical imbalances and/or suspect your stress level is affecting the quality of your sleep, it will benefit you to get professional help.

We can help you get to the root of your issues to improve your quality of sleep. 

It’s important to avoid taking sleeping medications, as they can not only be habit forming but also create dependency and affect the quality of sleep even more.

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See you next week.

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