Ophthalmologist Dr. Rob Daniel joined us in the JoziStyle studio at Radio Today Johannesburg to discuss the importance of good sleep hygiene, the consequences of sleep deprivation to your health and dangers of taking medication.
Anybody who has battled with insomnia will appreciate that that a good night’s sleep is worth more than gold. I’ve become quite possessive over my sleep that any disruption is an unwelcome one. I used to take prescription medication for many years to help me sleep but they weren’t the solution I was hoping for as over time I was being prescribed stronger medicine and increased doses. It was only when my doctor suggested I consider a schedule 7 sleeping tablet that I decided to take responsibility for my well-being and stop taking them.
Well, going cold-turkey is not for the fainthearted because I was shattered within days of less than two-hours sleep a night. I did find the old wives’ tales that I previously scoffed at did offer some relief. A cup of hot milk with honey and a homeopathic remedy offered some relief, and I swear by using essential oils like lavender, geranium or chamomile to create a conducive environment for a better night’s sleep.
I also took it one step further by consulting a hypnotherapist- who helped tremendously, to the point that I invested heavily in Brain Sync brainwave technology which blends advanced meditation techniques with harmonically layered binaural beat frequencies. Part of my routine was to play one of Kelly Howell’s CDs during the night while I slept. The results were profound. Within 30 days I couldn’t believe that I was previously unable to fall asleep without medication.
Now that I have a natural sleep pattern, I am no longer so obsessive about my sleep rountine, but if ever I have the occassional bout of insommnia, I go back to basics rather than persuing prescription medication.
One thing I did learn was how natural and artificial light, specifically blue light, have a chemical effect on the brain which controls your sleep patterns. Both send a message to your brain that it is daytime so it’s time to rise & shine. At nighttime your metabolism gears down for sleep. It’s call the circadian rythym.
The problem with living in the 21st century is that our eyes’ are inevitably glued to a television screem or a PDA which emit the same kindof light that the brain registers as daylight. It can be 9 PM to you but in front of a television screen your brain thinks it’s sunrise. Dr. Rob Daniel informed me that sunlight and artificial light interfere with the production of melatonin- a sleep hormone that is also available as a supplement to relieve jet-lag but is also prescribed for sleep disorders, so by disrupting the brain’s perception of blue light one can continue with normal activities (like watching television or updating social media), without disrupting our sleep patterns.
He also introduced me to the SleepSpec Shades which block the blue light emitted from electronic devices. SleepSpec Shades are intended for use in the two hour period preceding your normal bedtime so you can continue with normal activities without disrupting melatonin production or your sleep pattern.
How does SleepSpec work?
Sleep is a complex physiological occurrence as is energy, sex drive, temperature control, memory and cognition. Many factors will affect these functions. Where other factors exist, resetting the circadian rhythm may not be all that is required to restore normal sleep function and we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of SleepSpec products in these circumstances.
According to the literature, SleepSpec is a scientifically formulated product, which operates by blocking a certain area of the visual spectrum. This has been shown to act as a zeitgeber in the daily setting of the circadian rhythm by the natural neuronal connections between the melanocytic receptors and the suprachiasmatic nuclei within the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the seat of the circadian rhythm and controls the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. SleepSpec tools act by removing the unnatural and untimely stimulation of this pathway, thereby allowing sleep to occur naturally within its predetermined time within the circadian rhythm. Although slight genetic variations in sensitivity and cognitive perception to the alterations in this pathway may exist, the essential human physiology is universal within many higher mammalian species.
I found them to be comfortable- both mechanically and visually. They do change the colour balance of whatever you are watching by eliminating blue shades and toning other hues with a soft rose red. It does take a bit of getting used but I didn’t find it intrusive. Some television shows didn’t work in rose but (surprisingly!) I was able to watch the Food Network shows and found the food look better. It might be a hit and miss for you watching television but if you suffer from insomnia it is a great tool before resorting to self-medication!
I personally spend most of my late nights working on my laptop; either blogging or responding to emails, so the SleepSpec Shades are a welcome accessory.
The Standard SleepSpec Starter Pack retails for R695- approximately the cost of a two month supply of “decent” sleeping tablets, and is available from www.sleepspec.co.za.
Dr. Daniel has combined the essential SleepSpec tools in a cost effective starter pack for JoziStylers!
This stylish starter pack includes:
1. SleepSpec Shades
2. SleepSpec Shield
3. SleepSpec Spotlight.
If you’re interested in reading more about natural remedies, I also found natural-herbal-remedies.net a valuable source of information.