sleepless in germany - 80 percent do not get enough rest at night
we tackle sleep disorders in natural ways at naturheilzentrum bottrop
if you sleep badly at night, it’s hard to get going during the day. you’re less productive and creative. sleep is indispensable for our species. it’s impossible to do without it. heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism are lowered, so even the body’s temperature decreases while we sleep. essential procedures. brain activity changes. healthy sleep is important for regeneration, it strengthens our immune system. if we get enough of it - on the average, between six and eight hours a day for healthy People - we can start the new day feeling relaxed.
a whole lot happens while we sleep. the brain is the organ, which remains the most active. “every night, the hard drive is cleared,” explains the naturopath, farid zitoun with a wink. information that is no longer needed will be deleted. valuable memories, knowledge or images will be shifted from the short to long-term memory and will thus be permanently accessible. “the hypothesis of learning in your sleep is therefore not entirely wrong,” say the health experts from naturheilzentrum bottrop. however, having a book under your pillow has absolutely no effect. “nevertheless, it is worthwhile going through relevant facts in the early evening before an important meeting or exam, in any event. our brain is stimulated overnight. it stores the information in the right place.”
antibodies even form overnight
sleeping is also important for a functioning immune system. our defenses are strengthened to protect the body from possible infections. a large number of the antibodies, which we need for this, are essentially formed overnight while we sleep. regeneration, relaxation and well-being - these are also things that are closely related to the topic of sleep.
newborns require a sleeping period of up to 16 hours, adolescents need at least 8 to 9. this can also be explained medically: “while we sleep, an increased volume of growth hormones are released. this is not only the case with us HumanS, but can also be demonstrated in all newborn mammals. the gh growth hormone doesn’t just make little ones grow rapidly. it is also an important building block for forming muscles and bones.” the older we get, the less sleep we need. “from the age of 60, the duration of sleep decreases significantly,” says farid zitoun. but it is not just the time factor that determines how well or badly we’ll sleep. “sleep quality depends on many factors,” explains his colleague, the bottrop-based christian rüger.
four to five sleep cycles per night are normal
during a normal night, we go through four to five sleep cycles. they last 90 minutes on average. a sleep cycle consists of light and deep sleep phases and the so-called ‘rem sleep’ - the sleep phase that involves dreaming. even externally, it is possible to observe what happens inside the body. “we are relaxed during the light and deep sleep phases. the heart rate and breathing frequency only increases significantly in the rem sleep phase. this also applies to blood pressure. it has been proven in lab tests that there is increased brain activity during rem sleep when we dream. eye activity is a visible sign of this. the movements take place when the eyelids are closed,” explains christian rüger from the naturopathic practice. these movements also gave their name to the sleep phase: rapid eye movement (rem). the deep sleep phase is the most important phase for ensuring that the body gets enough rest. it usually starts 20 to 30 minutes after falling asleep. the first deep sleep of a night, as sleep researchers have discovered, is also always the longest. the duration decreases with each of the subsequent sleep cycles.
bad sleep can make you ill
if our sleeping pattern is disturbed, it can have dramatic effects on our health. over 80 symptoms such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (rls), insomnia and hypersomnia can be traced back to a sleep disorder. and the number of People who suffer such symptoms is not insignificant. 80 percent of germans complains of sleeping problems. the dak health insurance company titled its 2017 health report “germany is sleeping badly - an underestimated problem”, (https://www.dak.de/dak/bundesthemen/muedes-deutschland-schlafstoerungen-steigen-deutlich-an-2108960.html). this has just been published and shows that the problem with sleeping is getting bigger. there had already been an initial study on the subject in 2010. the figures have increased significantly since then. by 66 per cent for the 35 to 65-year-old age group. 5200 adults between 18 and 65 were interviewed for the current study - 80 percent of whom indicated that they often had problems sleeping or falling asleep. every tenth employee suffers from a severe sleep disorder; so-called insomnia. also a significant increase compared to 2010: the latest study revealed 60 percent more cases of insomnia.
sleep-ritual: tv or computers are taboo
“a worrying development,” say the alternative-medicine practitioners, farid zitoun and christian rüger. because those who do not sleep properly have a higher risk of suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. yet only about 4.8 percent of respondents really take their sleep disorders seriously and seek medical attention from a doctor. many of them try non-prescription sleeping remedies and aids to help them fall asleep. these are frequently taken over a long period of time.
in order to avoid a sleeping problem developing into a sleep disorder, the bottrop rehabilitation and prevention center focuses on education and special sleep-rituals, among other things. “the dak study shows that a high workload is one reason for increasing sleeping problems,” says farid zitoun. stress and the strain on the job, accessibility around the clock - these are things that do not give you peace of mind at night. “our bodies need time to be able to switch off after a hard day of work and adjust themselves to sleep.” sleep mode therefore cannot be switched on at the touch of a button.
we sleep best at 16 to 18-degree temperatures
the bottrop-based naturopath’s tip: official matters are taboo just before going to sleep. a one-hour buffer is mandatory. “so no more checking e-mails or planning the next day in the office when you’re still in the bedroom.” in addition, rituals for falling asleep can help. “as matters stand, these rituals should be singularly and individually determined for each affected Person. one Person could briefly go into the garden one time, water the plants in the flower boxes. another Person could enjoy the view over the rooftops of the city from the top floor of the house for a few minutes.” the only important thing is the constant repetition.
but our leisure activities are not necessarily conducive to sleep. 83 percent of those surveyed in the study have admitted that they watch movies or series on the television or computer screen before falling asleep. counterproductive - according to the judgment of the health experts. as are late meals, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes. regular bedtimes are far more important. they ensure an even sleep-wake rhythm. relaxation exercises can help relieve stress, relaxing the body and mind. “and, of course, the atmosphere must be right. create a pleasant sleeping environment.” important prerequisite: adequate ventilation, darkness and a room temperature of 16-18 degrees.