Reset Your Sleep Cycles to Upgrade Your Health & Learn Why a Perfect Night's Sleep Takes Much More Than a Prescription
Lack of proper sleep can contribute to a variety of medical problems. It can affect virtually any aspect of your health. Living things have 24-hour internal clocks known as circadian rhythms. Your internal clock enables you to adapt to your environment. It is a driving force for all the cells of your body. Any interference to the circadian rhythm has a cumulative effect on your health. Getting one or two good night’s sleep cannot even the debt.
Your body repairs and regenerates during sleep. It is therefore critical to take it seriously. Your ability to fight off illness depends not just on the quantity of your sleep, but more importantly the quality. I have observed that many people peculiarly take pride in being sleep deprived! This is a disturbing trend—bragging about working (and playing) too hard and too long. This is actually a conscious decision to decrease one’s health.
We are diurnal beings. This means it is natural for us to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light. This is of course, no brilliant observation, yet it is largely not followed. Many people suffer circadian rhythm disturbances, resulting in physiological confusion in the body. It is notable that sleep disorders and deprivation can result in hormonal imbalances linked to obesity. Although there is considerable disagreement among researchers on the question of how much sleep we need, there is no disputing that people need quality, quantity, and consistency.
Following the Herd
When it comes to health, doing what everybody else is doing is the road to ruin. Prescription and over-the-counter sleep medicine is Western medicine’s answer to sleep difficulties. Using drugs as a primary approach to sleep dysfunction has no scientific basis. In my opinion, it is a frightening and barbaric practice. Applying a brute force attack to induce drowsiness does not restore a normal healthy sleep cycle. Some of the serious potential side effects from some of the most popular prescription sleep drugs include amnesia, hallucinations and delusions, coordination difficulty, increased appetite, decreased sex drive, and impaired judgment. There have been reports of people not remembering activities such as driving a car, eating, talking on the phone, having sex, and sleep walking.
Correcting the causes of sleep troubles takes much more than merely prescribing a drug. It takes serious detective work. Sleep disturbances are often an effect of other underlying medical conditions. There are many possible reasons for poor sleep. One major problem is low production of the essential hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain.
Dr. Donald Liebell, DC, BCAO
477 Viking Drive #170
Virginia Beach, ViA 23452
The pineal gland is a pea-sized brain structure that has only recently been known to have great importance to many bodily functions. It gets its name from its pinecone shape (Latin pinea). This master gland responds to different levels of light, and thus is instrumental in your biological clock. It regulates the sleep cycles, as well as sexual development. The pineal gland transforms the neurotransmitter, serotonin (the “happiness chemical”) into the hormone, melatonin. Frightfully ironic it is that pineal gland function can be disrupted by antidepressant drugs! Knowledge of such a fact makes it challenging not to feel bitter towards our medical system.
Your melatonin production takes place only when it is dark. When light strikes the retina of your eye, nerve impulses to the pineal gland shut down melatonin production. It appears that pineal gland and melatonin are not only involved in sleep, but other aspects of our health, including fertility and aging. People diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) should know about the pineal gland. Researchers hypothesize that it has greater physiological importance than ever considered. Melatonin production tends to decrease with age.
Melatonin pills are sold as a natural supplement to treat insomnia, depression, and jet lag. This is a deceptive practice. Normal regulation and production of melatonin is unlikely to be restored by giving the body melatonin. The pineal gland must perform its functions by producing and regulating hormones itself. Taking melatonin hormone supplements may actually suppress normal pineal function. It is hardly a healthy long-term solution, and thus I do not advocate it. I would never give my patients melatonin, even though countless professionals applaud this as a natural approach to sleep. Melatonin supplements may be derived from nature—but they are not natural.
The pineal gland's function is critical to your sleep cycle and other health matters
To achieve better sleep, your pineal gland must naturally regulate melatonin levels. This results in truly restorative sleep that regenerates both mind and body. You can help increase your body’s production of melatonin by eating raw whole foods such as pineapples, bananas, cherries, tomatoes, and oranges. Whole raw walnuts are another melatonin-supportive food. Vitamin B6-rich foods are helpful for your body to generate its own melatonin. Fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent sources of B6. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in calcium, which is important in your body’s manufacturing of melatonin. These are foods that most folks should be eating anyway!
In my practice, patients receive auricular therapy (ear acupuncture treatment) and bio-energetic homeopathic supplementation to support pineal (and other glandular) function.
Bedtime rituals must be addressed with each individual patient. It is critical to treat the person instead of the sleep disorder. Many people simply don’t have enough energy to support and sustain their own sleep cycles. Add to this, anxiety, stress, and worries, which can be part of having a hyperactive mind and body. This is complicated further by regular use of substances like caffeine and alcohol. Rarely considered by doctors, but tremendously important is undetected toxicity and infection. Microorganisms can affect the pineal gland, as can various toxic chemicals. The sodium fluoride added to public water supplies may cause calcification of the pineal gland. Fluoride is an entire topic of great controversy and concern, for which I encourage investigation.
Prescription sleep medications fly off the shelves, while the cause of the problem isn’t even remotely considered (let alone treated).
Addressing the causes of sleep problems is an essential part of effective natural treatment. We must address regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters. We must address underlying causes of stress and illness, and take our time to find realistic solutions (and realistic time frameworks to achieve them).
During the 1960s, French neurologist, Paul Nogier, MD determined that the pineal gland can naturally be stimulated through its corresponding nerves on the outer ear (auricle).
Using the fascinating and sophisticated techniques of advanced auricular medicine (furthered by Nader Soliman, MD), we commonly find energetic blockages to the pineal gland. This is quickly and safely corrected by means of auricular therapy, using either neuro-electric ear stimulation and/or needle acupuncture. Incidentally, the pineal gland cannot be directly affected by meridian-based traditional Chinese acupuncture. Acupuncture performed on pinpoint areas detected on the ear, which directly correspond by reflex with the pineal gland and other sleep-related brain structures can jumpstart the restoration of normal circadian rhythm.
It is critical to address correction of sleep cycles, but not to attempt to chemically induce drowsiness with medicine. Causing drowsiness is the single-minded pharmacological approach. Even though I passionately disagree with the philosophy, I do not tell patients to discontinue usage of prescription sleep aids without discussing it with the prescribing physician. The goal is to safely and gradually reduce the need for sleep medication over time as cycles are normalized. The homeopathic effect of the bio-energetic supplements I provide is not from doses of pharmaceutical medicine, but rather energetic essences of various substances, designed to support normal sleep cycle regulation. Details of the ear acupuncture and bio-energetic supplementation are provided in separate articles.
If you suffer chronic pain, sleep difficulties may play a large role in preventing recovery. I am proud to safely and sensibly address this aspect of my patients’ health in a unique manner. It's not as simple as inserting an acupuncture needle in a "sleep point." Every patient is evaluated for energetic blockages of the pineal gland and several other brain structures. Comprehensive case history and consideration of sleep cycles and rituals is an essential component of whole-body, wellness-based treatment.
The pineal gland can be treated by stimulating the nerves through the skin of the ear
For many patients, the challenge of sleep lies in suffering from an overactive mind at bedtime. Many people feel exhausted both physically and mentally, but when it comes down to going to bed—they simply cannot turn off their own brain. Their own thoughts keep them awake, ruminating over the events of the day, the day before, and what is going on tomorrow. Bedtime is sleepy time; it is not problem solving time. But many suffer the inability to shut down their own thoughts. Waking up many times during the night can start the whole maddening and frustrating process over again and again.
Have you ever fallen asleep on the couch or bed watching television?
You probably were not trying to fall asleep, so there was no pressure or conscious effort to do so. You just did. But then, you got up and tucked yourself into bed to intentionally go to sleep—but it was a disaster. Your mind was set on the goal of falling asleep. Maybe this happens to you on a regular basis.
Here’s a suggestion:
Have Someone Read You a Bedtime Story!
Reading children bedtime stories is a time-tested method that has worked beautifully for generations. It can work equally as well for adults too.
The secret is listening to audiobooks. Bedtime story time is right at your fingertips, and if you are willing… it is FREE! I have seen this to be effective for over 30 years. You can get thousands of titles of recorded books on CD from most local public library systems. You can also purchase them from bookstores and online stores very easily.
My public library system here in Virginia Beach even has instant download audiobooks that can be legally imported to an mp3 player using their free Overdrive software. Your regional library system likely has the same type of service.
When you listen to a recorded book, it provides a distraction from your own thoughts. It can help you fall asleep because when you are listing to a story, you are not trying to sleep.
Many people listen to books that they do not have time to read. Other alternatives include podcasts, which are available by the thousands on the Web. It is important that the listening material does not include music, commercials, or any fluctuating volume.
WARNING: Do not use a cell phone to listen to audiobooks at bedtime! You must NEVER have a source of electromagnetic radiation by your head!! Instead, use an inexpensive MP3 player with a built-in speaker. They are easily purchased on Amazon and other sources. Download audiobooks, drag and drop them into the MP3 player, and you’re all set!
Restoring healthy sleep cycles requires normal function of the pineal gland. This cannot be accomplished by taking melatonin supplements. Ear acupuncture (auricular therapy) and bio-energetic homeopathic supplementation are the means by which we support the body to restore pineal gland function itself.
Try listening to audiobooks at bedtime on an MP3 player. NO CELL PHONE RADIATION!
477 Viking Drive #170, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452, United States
The Liebell Clinic has office hours one Saturday each month for special evaluations. Times and dates are variable month-to-month.
Copyright © 2021 The Liebell Clinic - All Rights Reserved. Donald Liebell, DC, BCAO. The information and statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The content of this website is for informational purposes only; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Your reliance on any information provided by Dr. Liebell’s website, any referenced parties is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment, because of information contained in this website. This website expresses Dr. Liebell's health care views, and describes wellness-based, natural treatment methods, and must not be misconstrued as direct treatment advice—it is information only.