The Meaning of Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disturbances are not illnesses; they are symptoms of physical, mental, and spiritual problems.
The causes of sleeplessness and insomnia (Causes of Insomnia) can be physical ailments, mental imbalance, or spiritual one-sidedness.
Viewed in this way, sleep disturbances are signs that something is not in order. They are messages from the organism that corrective measures are essential. We become more alert to problems.
We notice mistakes such as a life change that puts us out of our rhythm, a flood of unprocessed sense perceptions that burden us, and other things. Like all afflictions, sleeplessness is a fundamental experience of human life on Earth.
Treating symptoms can never relieve the underlying cause of a problem. Illnesses and afflictions have meaning for our lives and should not simply be expunged or eliminated by medication. Removing symptoms makes the search for the cause more difficult, sometimes impossible, and there is a danger that much worse harm can result.
Too much regeneration can lead to illnesses. Health is a delicate balance between too much and too little. It has been statistically confirmed that people who get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night live longer on average than people with more hours of sleep. Mortality rate increases with either extreme.
For instance, too much vitality can build a suitable foundation for pathogens and lead to infections. On the other hand, when a person gets too much sleep and the spiritual-individual aspect does not penetrate, then the physical body cultivates the earth forces too strongly which can bring about sclerosis or even cancer formation. In such cases, sleeplessness might be seen as an expression of a tendency to self-healing.
Too Much Sleep
Just as too little sleep or disturbed sleep can cause problems, too much sleep can also have negative effects. In the case of too little sleep, the organism can make up the necessary sleep at a later time.
In contrast, too much sleep can become problematic and more harmful than not enough. Who has not awakened on a weekend feeling battered, bloated, and not-together because he or she slept too long? As was described at the beginning of this article, regeneration of the physical body takes place mostly at night.
Various Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disturbances can occur for many reasons, from outer or inner influences. Among the causes originating on the outside are environmental disturbances such as noise, light, room temperature, a bad mattress, improper bed linens, and the like. A quick change in altitude to above 1,500 meters (approx. 5,000 feet) can have a negative effect on sleep.
Everyone has experienced problems when becoming accustomed to new surroundings and sleeping in unfamiliar beds. Children who do not have a regular bedtime also can suffer from sleep disturbances.
Sleep disturbances can be caused by sleep medications or other kinds of medications. Substances containing amphetamines (psycho-stimulants and particularly in appetite suppressors) belong in this category.
In the group of psychotropic drugs, these substances are found in neuroleptica, antidepressants, as well as lithium salts. Unstable sleep can come from medications that stimulate blood circulation, as well as cortisone compounds, antiepileptic drugs, ephedrine and drugs containing theophylline (flu, cough, colds, bronchitis, and asthma medication, also in spray form), antihypertensive drugs of the beta blocker type, thyroid medication (thyroxin), digitalis glycoside (given as support for heart function) if given in too high dosages, and medications to prevent fluid retention. Please consult your doctor if you have questions about the above-mentioned medications.
At the forefront of sleep disturbances with an inner cause are all acute or chronic physical ailments. In this category are problems with the heart circulatory system, the central nervous system (spasms or Parkinson’s disease), as well as the stomach-intestinal tract, and the musculoskeletal system.
Problems with physical reorientation during menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and psychiatric illnesses like depression and schizophrenia can all cause sleep disturbances to appear.
Very often a person’s mental state can leave one susceptible to sleep disturbances, problems like angst, worry, and hardship. Excessive demands in daily life resulting in nervousness and stress can also have lasting and disturbing effects on sleep.
Stimulants such as coffee, tea, nicotine, energy drinks, and cola that are consumed in the late afternoon or evening can noticeably disturb sleep. Overeating, eating heavy foods, or eating too late in the evening is often not tolerated well. An erratic, irregular lifestyle can also lead to sleep disturbances as well as travel across time zones (jet lag), or shift changes at work.
Often people have misconceptions about their sleep. For instance, a patient in a hospital complains that she did not close her eyes the whole night while her neighbor in the next bed complains that the patient snored for hours. This situation is also familiar from studies in sleep laboratories. Usually, people get more sleep than is apparent to them.
By temporary sleep disturbances I do not mean those that do not last longer than three weeks. They are usually caused by particular situations like nervousness before exams or other one-time challenges or concerns.
Chronic sleep disturbances
Chronic sleep disturbances are those that last longer than three weeks and despite the disappearance of the original cause. The extent and length of the problem is no longer related to the cause. In addition, there is a difference between problems falling asleep and problems sleeping through the night as well as awakening too early
Parasomnia should also be mentioned here. This includes sleepwalking (somnambulism), night terrors (pavor nocturnus), nightly bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), nightly teeth grinding (bruxism), and periodic myoclonic episodes (cramp-like twitches during sleep). These can have organic, physical causes or mental causes and they should be examined by a medical doctor. (Limb twitches while, falling asleep is very common and not a cause for concern.)