We break ourselves all day; we fix ourselves all night….or not.

If my clients are representative of the general population, one third of the U.S.A. is lying awake in their beds for long periods of time between 1 and 4 in the morning.  A good place to begin resolving any imbalance is with Lifestyle Compensations.  Fix the foundations first; otherwise you are applying patches to a crumbling foundation.

Good sound sleep is CRITICAL for health BECAUSE we repair when we sleep.  AND we NEED to repair.  Taking sleeping aides has been shown to cause cognitive impairment and other undesirable outcomes (see Phactoids below).  Good sleep means

  1.  you fall asleep within 1/2 hour of going to bed (w/o drugs);
  2.  you stay asleep all night, or, for 6-8 hours;
  3.  you wake up easily and feel ready for the day.

If you use and abuse your body all day long, and don’t repair it at night, then no wonder you feel broken down – you are!!

To resolve this, let’s look for the root of the problem, instead of looking for the black tape to cover up the ‘service required‘ light.  Differing root problems disturb our sleep in different ways.  Let’s divide the sleeplessness into two categories: I’m awake for reasons I can explain, and, I’m awake for no reason at all.  If this info does not provide you with the insight and means to get a good night sleep, then make an appointment.


1. I Know What Wakes Me Up or Keeps Me Awake

A.  Pain – This is a no-brainer.  Who sleeps well while in pain?   You must understand that the pain is a signal of an imbalance and it is not a Tylenol deficiency.  The general etiologies of the causes of pain and general remedies are in that document.  Some specific causes of joint and muscle pain and related remedies are in that document. This is not a sleep problem; it is an inflammation problem.

B.   Restlessness – This means tossing and turning, as the body feels like it needs to move/stretch to get comfortable, and in a few minutes, we need to move/stretch again.   For some there is voluntary moving the leg to make it feel better, and for others there are involuntary spasms of the leg.   Restless leg syndrome falls into this category.   The most common cause of the voluntary movement is poor circulation  (Regular use of a vibration massage pad helps with circulation issues from inactivity in convalescence.  There are elecro-medicine devices that are helpful here to improve circulation.)  If the circulation remedies don’t completely resolve the situation, look into possible kidney imbalances (often it involves circulation though the kidneys so circulation should be addressed first).    Feeling a need to stretch and then stretch and then stretch some more whilst lying in bed signals kidney/bladder issues.  This is from acid buildup. The the urinary document has many other indicators that the urinary system is imbalanced (along with basic remedies) so you can see if you fit the ‘kidney’ profile.   Finally, jerky movements are indicators of nerve inflammation.  This can arise from long term acid buildup.  These people may find themselves more susceptible to viral issues.

C.   Cannot fall asleep – just remain plain awake – no tossing and turning, no busy thoughts, just awake, with maybe a sense of being a little ‘wired’.  This can be a sign of an autonomic nervous system imbalance, or the liver not pulling certain irritants out of the blood.  So I would do CA ATC (#826-3) 2-3b since calcium is sedative and this is an herbal calcium.  Or take T/R Valerian(#721-1) 1D, 1b (my personal favorite).  Valerian is indicated when people feel irritable or edgy during the day or their foot or knee goes into continuous motion while the rest of their body is still.
And I have had several cases where this ‘cannot fall asleep’ is a grounding problem.  That is, the nervous system is agitated by accumulated static charges so check out the grounding post.
In the strange-but-true category, the introduction of energy efficient LED lighting presents a spectrum of light to our eyes that inhibits the production of our own melatonin which induces sleep.  The enhanced blue part of the spectrum is the culprit.  Blue-blocking glasses, amber light bulbs, adjusting the screen display on computers and electronic devices are important interventions that allow our melatonin to be produced.
If there are other liver indicators, then N Acetyl Cysteine (#509-7) works great.
Finally I’ve found that deficiency in some neurotransmitters leaves us wide awake.  5HTP (#2806-4) may be helpful as well as specific electro-medicine devices which stimulate our natural neurotransmitters production.

D.  Leg cramps – Generally the calves are affected and the restlessness remedies above will work.  If these don’t and the large muscles of the calves are where the problems are, then the endocrine document adrenal remedies are the ones to investigate.  Other indications of adrenal imbalance are listed in that post to see if you have an adrenal contribution to your leg cramps.

E.   Urination, that is, frequent urination wakes you all night – If you have other signs of kidney/bladder/prostate problems then check out that document for general remedies.  Another common problem is lowered bladder volume due to crowding or pressure from other neighboring organs in the lower pelvic.  Generally the bowel is the culprit and that document has some things to clear it up if you fit that profile.  To begin remedying the problem, do the Abdominal Massage.  This is a cheap, quick and easy fix.  Commit to it for just one month and see how much better you feel AND how much longer you can sleep between potty calls.  This helps also with incontinence.

F.   Snoring/Sleep Apnea.  This is another one of those ‘has many contributors’ kind of problem, soooo let’s parse it out (BTW surgery and blowing air up the nose does not address the cause – just sayin’.)  No matter what the cause,  CoQ10 seems to noticeably mitigate the problem as the underlying cause is being addressed.

  1.  Sinus is swollen – The respiratory document gives many suggestions and the Sinus recipes document as well.  People tell me that the TeiFu wick greatly mitigates the stuffiness all day as well as the snoring all night.  Cheap remedy.  Try it.  Keep in mind sinus and snoring problem begin with poor digestion, so address the gut for the long term fix.  Often digestive aides help here (like Fenugreek and Thyme (#885-1))  Do 3B, 3D and inside 1 week you will know if it works.  That said, if you are causing your inflammation via diet, start there.
  2. Lymph retention in the head/neck area.  An indicator that this is a problem is that this person generally does not have a visible jawbone line, that is, their cheek blends with their neck.  This can signal kidney or circulation problems or both with attendant high blood pressure.  Check out those docs to see if you fit the profile.  The pressure of the retained water affects the esophageal cross-sectional area, that is, reduces the opening size that air goes through, especially when lying on the back.  Lymphatic drainage techniques can reveal the jawline and reduce the double chin and the retained fluid pressure in the neck.  Pulsed EMF applied to the tonsil reflex is especially helpful.
  3. Abdominal pressure executed up through the esophagus, that is, a bloated abdomen pushes up on the stomach which in turn pushes up on the esophagus which forces a narrowing at the back of the throat when lying on the back.  This is very common and these people usually also report some occasional trouble swallowing, esophageal spasms and/or acid reflux.  Cleaning out the intestines/digestion, and doing the Abdominal Massage will remedy both problems. This upward pressure can be fatal in that the pressure also acts on the heart while reclining. People who must sleep in a recliner should follow both of these recommendations diligently.
  4. A weak/stuck diaphragm can be a contributor.  That is, the breathing muscle, which draws in our air is either weak due to lack of exercise or impaired by a full abdomen.  Several sessions of deep belly breathing a day should help, and doing the Abdominal Massage is also corrective.

G.  Mental Chatter/busy mind comes from a nervous system that is stressed with unresolved problems.  If the remedies in that document don’t completely solve the problem, you can try GABA Plus (#1823-6) 2-3b which has a good reputation for calming a busy mind.  These situations are attended by high stress levels so the recommendations in the Emotional Stress Release doc should be applied nightly.  If even this doesn’t help you may need to make an appointment.

H.   Nightmares are indicators of the kinds of beliefs that torment our soul.  As such they are gentle pointers to what past traumas we need to come to terms with.  These beliefs are often a result of childhood trauma but could accompany Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Adults and children are often helped by the Flower Essences.  In this situation it would be good to make an appointment to determine which one would be best.  Alternatively you can face the issues permanently by doing the exercises in my book.

I.    Sweating  – This is NOT just a female problem.  Often men tell me they have to get up and change clothes at night.  If you are just doing the sweating at night, it is a healing sign and should pass when your liver resolves the problem – and it will resolve faster if you give it help w/liver herbs at breakfast.  If this is a serious, long-standing or recurrent problem the Gentle Liver Cleanse would be an important therapy to close this chapter.  (Add the NAC assist.)  If the sweating occurs day and night then the endocrines are involved and it may be related to hypoglycemia with exhausted adrenals contributing.  Sometimes the heat is from too much prescribed thyroid hormone.  The endocrine document will give indicators as to where the imbalance is and how to begin addressing it.

J.   Heart Racing/palpitations at night – This can be scary but often the doctor tests show no heart problems.  Even if they do find heart problems and they attempt to fix it with drugs/surgery, this problem will not resolve that way BECAUSE it is NOT a heart muscle problem.  It may be a heart crowding problem in which the same situation/remedies of section F.3. above apply (viz. the upward pressure of the guts while lying makes more work on the heart).  OR it is a heart controller problem.  (Sometimes the racing is from too much prescribed thyroid hormone.)  The heart rhythm is governed by the nervous system and the endocrine system.  Applying all these approaches should greatly help or simply make an appointment.


2. I wake up for no reason (that I know of).

This is a very common scenario.  A person can fall asleep without a problem but within the same time frame each night they find themselves awake, looking at the clock to see about the same time they woke up last night and the night before, etc.  Once awake, they cannot fall back asleep.  Several contributors…

A.  For certain blood types (O and B), the type of food eaten before going to bed can produce an insulin response and consequent blood glucose drop in the middle of the night.  If this is the case, avoiding high glycemic foods at bedtime is a must.  These include ice cream or other sugary things, popcorn, corn chips, cereal or other high glycemic grains.  If you are hungry at bedtime consider peanut butter, cheese, a light protein like chicken, turkey or egg salad AND do NOT overeat at this time.  Other helpful pointers are in the Insulin Resistance Diet.

B.   A related cause is overstressed adrenals.  The sleep problems associated with this along with other indicators are described in the endocrine document.  Remedies are also found there.

C.   If you tend to wake up at very close to the same time each night this may be an indicator of which organ(s) are imbalanced.  Consult with the appropriate document links in the table below to see if there are other confirming signs that this is indeed the case.   Daylight savings time may skew the times an hour.

If you tend to have difficulty sleeping between…
.. it could mean that the following organ is OVER active, inflamed or revved up
OR … it could mean that the following organ is UNDER active, under nourished or of lowered vitality
9 PM- 11 PM Adrenals or thyroid Spleen
11 PM – 1 AM Gall Bladder Heart or Circulation
1 AM – 3 AM Liver Small Intestine
3 AM – 5 AM Lung Bladder
5 AM – 7 AM Large Intestine Kidney
7 AM – 9 AM Stomach Gonads

So hopefully I’ve convinced you to find the underlying cause of your sleep difficulties and also convinced you that for the long life ahead of you and for good quality of life, YOU MUST SLEEP WELL. AND, poor sleep is not an Ambien deficiency.  Another avenue to explore while addressing the underlying cause is Electro-medicine.


Pharmaceutical Phactoids – In the unlikely event that your doc failed to warn you that…


Sleep Aides and Cognitive Impairment

Drugs commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions negatively affect your brain, causing long term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter.

They include such common over-the-counter brands as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom. Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil are available only by prescription.

“Researchers … conducted a six-year observational study, evaluating 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began … ‘Taking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk.'”

Physorg July 13, 2010


Sleeping Pills Linked to Raised Risk of Death, Cancer: Study

MONDAY Feb. 27, 2012 — Prescription sleeping pills may help you get some much needed rest at night, but using them routinely might also make it more likely that you will die or develop certain types of cancer, research suggests.

A new study suggests that those who take these medications are four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them. What’s more, the research shows that sleeping pills is also associated with a raised risk for certain cancers. The findings appear online Feb. 27 in the journal BMJ Open.

Sleeping pills linked to these risks included benzodiazepines such as temazepam; non-benzodiazepines such as Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Sonata (zaleplon); barbiturates; and sedative antihistamines.

The new study only shows an association between the sleeping aids and death risk, not cause-and-effect, and many experts are urging caution in jumping to any conclusions from the findings.

The study author, however, was less reticent.

“Popular sleeping pills are associated with a shocking excess of deaths and a horrible increase in new cancers,” said Dr. Daniel Kripke, of the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center, in La Jolla, Calif.

Many Americans use sleeping pills. During 2010, between one in 20 and one in 10 adults took a sleeping pill in the United States.

In the new study, Kripke’s team tracked more than 10,500 people averaging 54 years of age. These patients had a range of underlying health conditions and were prescribed sleeping pills for an average of about 2.5 years between 2002 and 2007. The researchers compared these patients’ risks for death and cancer against those of people who did not take sleeping pills.

Those who were prescribed up to 18 doses a year were 3.6 times more likely to die than their counterparts who were prescribed none, while those prescribed between 18 and 132 doses were more than four times as likely to die, the study showed. Those taking more than 132 doses a year had five times the risk of dying compared to those prescribed none. This was true regardless of age, but risks were highest among those individuals aged 18 to 55.

©Pat Block ND 2008



4 Responses to Sleep

  1. Sara says:

    I am concerned about my sleep. I have been diagnosed with Rim Sleep Disorder.
    If I never get into the rapid eye movement stage – am I still resting and rebuilding?
    I am always tired. Is there anything that I can take that would allow me to reach the Rim sleep stage. Thank you, Sara

  2. Carolyn Pierce says:

    Hi Pat
    I have a grandson age 7. He has always been very active and so was his father. He never takes a nap just like his father and stays awake until 12 or 1 in the morning. He is constantly playing and talking until he finally goes to sleep and then gets up around 6- 7 am. I am not sure what to do. please help because I know this is not good for his health. And as far as activity you can take him all day to the beach and it still does not wear him out.Appreciate any suggestions or help in this matter.
    Thank You Carolyn

    • PatBlockND says:

      Hey Carolyn,
      It would be best for one of his parents to contact me for a consult on the child. People often ask me what I would do and then are not in a position to act on it. Also I need a signed form on file that the parents know I’m not a medical doctor.

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