Sleep Therapy in Naturopathy is a vital element in man`s mental as well as physical life, since the loss of sleep exerts seriously detrimental effects upon the nervous system. This involves a periodic rest of the body, which is absolutely essential for its efficient functioning.
Abstaining from sleep for longer periods may cause intense psychological changes such as loss of memory, irritability, hallucination and even schizophrenic manifestations. Sleep is the indispensable condition to the recuperation of energy.
The average amount of sleep needed to feel well rested is seven-and-a-half hours, though it varies from six to nine hours. Women sleep from forty five minutes to one hour more than men. The amount of sleep required varies at different ages such as for new born it is eighteen to twenty hours, for growing children it is ten to twelve hours, for adults it is six to nine hours and for aged persons it is five to seven hours. Throughout the sleep the depth of ordinary restful sleep fluctuates. In most adults, sleep deepens through the first hour, after which it lightens rather sharply and then more gradually until morning or until the usual time of wakening. However in growing children sleep deepens a second time for a little while. Two hours before and two hours after midnight are the most valuable for sleep of all the twenty-four hours of the day and in at this time, the mental and physical vigour are at their lowest ebb and sleep is soundest and most natural.
There are many theories about good and bad sleeping positions. Practically everyone changes positions several times during sleep. For proper sleep, however, one should not sleep on one`s back but on the side with one or both legs brought well up and the head and the shoulder slightly forward. Sleeping pills are no remedy for sleeplessness. They are habit-forming and become less effective when taken continuously.
Sleeping well is an art. It needs an ideal blend of healthy habits and control of mind. A clean body and mind, relaxed mood, physical exercises, and perfect dietary control are some of the basic sleep-inducing methods. The sleeping place should be well ventilated, with balanced temperature and free from noises. The bed should be neither too hard nor too soft, but comfortable. The pillow should not be too hard or too high. The bedclothes should be loose-fitting and light coloured. Another important rule is not to eat heavy food shortly before bedtime.