Here we go for another round in explaining some aspects to one of the most important things in our life. In this part we will have to build some ground work for the next few parts.
Many of you have heard of the terms, Parasympathetic Nervous System and the Sympathetic Nervous Systems, correct? These two systems are at the very core of sleep.
The parasympathetic system for the most part runs the systems of your body that you don't have to think about to induce function or action. The Sympathetic system is largely the one that you have to think about to induce or cause to function or bring about action. Both of these functions somewhat together, but in some areas one will take the role as lead and the other as follower. This role many times will switch back and forth during a single tasks. Sleep is highly involved in both of these systems. During slow wave deep cycle the parasympathetic is running the show. This is why it is easy to fall asleep, falling is the operative word. It is easy to force this as all you are doing is dealing with a simple physical deal and that can be done with drugs, or what ever. Since it is the para side, it is a simple stimulus/response deal, ie; give a drug, get a reaction. But when it comes to the rapid eye movement part of the cycle, that is largely run or influenced by the sympathetic system. What happens here is that when you first go into the slow wave cycle, the first step of brain recharge is done, essentially like the effect of a nap. After a nap, you are up and going, but only for a short period of time. Then the rapid eye movement of the deal is when the brain is doing all of its activities, like consolidating memories, forming new connections to the learning that has taken place, etc. This cycle takes you real close to being awake, so when you come on the up side of the sleep curve you don't level out when you should, you just keep the upward curve to awake status. So you wake up early on in the sleep cycle and stay awake. This is due to the fact that the brain has gotten a recharge of energy and no can go on, for a while anyway. This is due also to the fact that the brain uses a large amount of energy and has very little energy storage capacity. So in the whole of the sleep period, several trips up and down the curve and through the cycles several times per rest period is required.
Anything that interferes with the sleep cycle will cause stress. It is the body's reaction to protect its self. The whole deal here is best understood from the "Fight or Flight" response that we all have. I am sure that all of you are familiar with that whole deal. This why the stress is normal when the sleep cycle is interfered with. The body responds because something has happened to potentially cause a threat, a threat to your safety and well being. We have that stress factor there to protect us and the mechanism to facilitate that is a hormone called "Glucocorticiod". These glucocorticoids are present when stress is involved. As part of the fight or flight response to threat, that hormone is elevated, so as to illicit a call to respond. This is done by the parasympathetic system. The sympathetic then evaluates the situation then decides which it will be, fight or flight. In our world the fight part has limitations. With that limitation we many times see the emotional choice put forward of Learned Helplessness. Another critical factor in sleep issues. That is a state of mind of a person coming to the realization of there is nothing they can do about it and just accept it and live with it. In sleep it might be expressed as staying awake until you collapse. When you collapse you never really follow a coherent pattern of sleep so you essentially have to get some kind of rest until you can be refreshed enough to be able to enter into a normal sleep cycle.
Now getting back to the glucocorticoid thing. Any kind of stress will raise these levels and when the fight selection is selected, then it makes it hard to sleep with you are in the middle of a fight. So by a natural course you aren't going to be able to go to sleep and enter into the cycles. You are fighting against some sort of an insult of sorts and many times that ends up being an insult to you emotional state. To your mind the emotional state of mind fight can be more real than a physical type insult or fight. At least with the physical fight you can use more senses to be able to defend your self, where as with the emotional fight you can use hardly any senses. IE; you can't see it, can't touch it, how do you work with a phantom? That is essentially what you are working withdealing with emotional issues, a phantom.
When looking at sleep disorders on area that we have to consider is the glucocortoids one has to see its effect on being able to sleep. When that hormone is elevated then you can't sleep, it is against your nature as a living organism to "zone out" under hostile conditions. Once the threat is gone, the levels will drop and then sleep can take place, both cycles on the sleep process. There is not only one area that is affected by this hormone being elevated , but many sections are affected to one degree or the other by it. Now is a good time to deviate a bit to illustrate and explain the solution side.
In the part one of this series a lady asked about Marjoram, Marjoram essential oi in particular and dealing with snoring, as snoring is related to sleep, correct? Yes it is, so here goes. In the one essential oil blend, Organ Master we find Marjoram in it. When that was being developed, Marjoram was screaming to be included, once it was the blend worked perfectly. It also works with Asthma as well, even though it was developed for internal organ issues. Lets go back, remember the parasympathetic nervous system discussion? For the most part the internal organs are run primarily by the para system. Here is Marjoram's role. The composition of Marjoram works really, really good in blocking the glucocortoid signals to the affected organs. Marjoram seems to affect the M3 receptors. This is closely associated to the vagas nerves which is found where?? All over the whole internal organ system. So what it does is sort of messes with the gloco (for short) hormones effect on those nerves, which allows the nerves to function and the digestive process to function, sort of an over ride of the hormone's effect. But it full potential is not realized unless it is used in conjunction with several of the other oils that are found in that blend. Then guess what else, do you remember me talking about how we found out that Organ Master works good for asthma issues?? Here is why, those same M3 receptors are found in the bronchial and trachea areas. So it affects those systems by relaxing them, allowing the asthmatic to breathe.
Marjoram has also been noted to deal with sexual stuff in a negative way. Here we go again with sex, but it has to be addressed. Yes too much Marjoram will shut down the penis from getting erect. But as with most essential oils, a little bit does wonders, a lot does not work wonders. This part of the deal is run by the parasympathetic and it does it in part by affecting the nitro oxide levels which is imperative to making the male come to attention and function, but it also affects the females quality of the "meeting" equally or maybe even more when it comes to the quality of the act its self, on a physical level. Which the physical quality is directly with the emotional quality as well, usually exponentially. So this is a key in dealing with sexual enhancement for both parties. So the question is not answered yet about if Marjoram works for snoring. Well yes it has, in the Bronchial and Trachea applications by relaxing the certain muscles associated with the M3 receptors, for example. But if the snoring isn't an issue that is affected or run by the parasympathetic system, then not likely to help much. Notice I say not likely, sort of dependent on a complex set of issues.
So now that we have talked about a quality roll in the sack, the glucocorticoid levels are way down and thus sleep or at least getting to sleep isn't a problem. So the quality of a physical activity then directly affects the parasympathetic system, which in turns affects the quality of the sympathetic nervous system and how it runs the show, on its part.
So lets get back to sleep. When we look at sleep issues we have to address both of the nervous systems. We have to deal with both and their effects on each other. I wanted to include the part about Marjoram as it helps to explain a lot. I hope it gives you some perspective about the oils. When you are dealing with making blends for example, like the synergy blends to do something on a personal level it almost always works very good. But when you get doing some of these more complex blends, many factors have to be considered and then tested out. So when someone asks if this oil will do this or that, many times you will hear me him ha around or even dodge the question. Most of the time I will say, "In theory" The reason is it is sometimes a very complex situation that can't be answered in a drive by manner, at least in my opinion.
So in this post we didn't get into the sleep issue very heavy as I believe that in order to fully understand the sleep issue, you need to know some back ground. Some of you may already already know this stuff inside and out. Some may not know any and others somewhere in between. So bear with me. Until next time, enjoy and thank you for your time and interest. I will get part 3 done later in the week or sooner if I don't get side tracked.
Written by Kent King.