Therapy While Sleeping:

The need for good quality sleep is essential for promoting proper healing and maintaining healthy bodily function. Pain, which may be associated with diseases and acute and chronic disorders often compromises the body's ability to heal by leading to sleep disorders. It has been found that most healing occurs at night because 70% of growth hormones are produced while sleeping.

Hormones are chemical substances secreted into the blood by the endocrine glands and carried by blood and tissue fluids to the cells they act upon. Different classes of hormones (such as steroid, peptide or protein and amine) act on the target tissue by different mechanisms and can alter the function of the target tissue.

Peptide and protein hormones (insulin) stimulate the intracellular enzyme activity by interacting with receptor sites on the cell surface. Protein is needed to meet the need for tissue repair and resistance to infection. Protein helps to replace losses resulting from immobility.

Steroid hormones (such as glucocorticoids and hydrocorticoids) are important factors of glucose metabolism. Increased secretion of these hormones can result in elevated blood glucose levels.

Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that affects the peripheral motor, sensory or autonomic nerves. Diabetes, alcoholism and occlusive vascular disease are the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. A mononeuropathy affects a single peripheral nerve and it's branches. This occurs when the trunk of the nerve is entrapped or compressed (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome), traumatized (e.g., bruised by a blow) or overstretched (e.g., dislocation of a joint) or inflamed. Polyneuropathy is exhibited by bilateral function disturbance usually starting in the feet and hands. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include loss of sensation, muscle atrophy, weakness, pain, diminished reflexes and numbness/tingling of the extremities (paresthesia).

The lack of sleep and hormonal instability is typical in diabetic patients with severe neuropathic pain. Diabetes with sleep deprivation can diminish the body's ability to secrete and respond to the hormone insulin (which helps regulate blood sugar). Diabetics already have compromised blood sugar and insulin levels, and further problems with sleeping can lead to poor health and complications. It is interesting to note that depression in itself can lead to lower insulin levels.

It is fairly common for diabetics to become clinically depressed after months and years of poor sleep. Another example is carpal tunnel syndrome patients. They experience similar events because of the loss of sleep with the classic symptoms of waking in the middle of the night with severe pain in the hands. It is noteworthy to mention that the body naturally minimizes blood flow to the extremities while sleeping to maintain body trunk core temperature and functions. This in turn, can further the process of pain while sleeping. Patients already suffering from poor circulatory problems such as diabetes, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. may in fact benefit from nighttime therapy that promotes microcirculation.

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RESEARCH: Sleep

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