Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has long been viewed as a remedy for aging and the diseases associated with the aging process. Research published in the AMA Journal of August 16, 2000 links sleep disorders to a lack of HGH.
In an article on research undertaken at the University of Chicago, headed by Professor Eve van Cauter, published in the August 16, 2000 AMA Journal, a link was found between the sleep disorders in 149 men aged between 16 and 83 and the lack of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in their blood.
This lack of HGH was found to be a possible cause of "middle age spread" in the test subjects, and they theorized that the lack of HGH in older persons was a reason for the typical build up of fat and the loss of muscle mass.
HGH is produced naturally in the body, particularly at night during deep or slow wave sleep, and this component of sleep in the men was found to decrease from 20% for men 25 years or younger when their HGH levels were highest, to 5% for those over 35. By the age of 45, the research found that the men had almost lost the ability to fall into a deep sleep once they had awakened during the night. It found that by 50 years, the amount of sleep had declined by 27% a decade. They also established that growth hormone secretion decreased by 75% over this period.
There was nothing to link the reduction in sleep to a lack of HGH - this research showed a counter link - that less HGH was produced by the body because of less deep sleep.
How Deep Is Your Sleep?
Research shows that deep sleep is dependent on "the state of the person as they enter into the sleep period" - or in other words, how relaxed and safe someone is as they go to bed at night.
Unfortunately, people in the 1st World suffer from high to very high underlying stress levels at all times and this influences of course the systems of the body as it enters the sleep cycles.
To put it simply, the body cannot distinguish between feeling anxious because there are 12 mountain lions just outside the front door and an unpaid bill or fear of redundancy, being nervous about upcoming events or worried for a relative.
As a result, it will naturally go into emergency mode - the lighter states of sleep which allow for rest but the person remains very aware of outside influences, noises and movements and wakes up immediately when there is any disturbance, bright aware and ready for action.
This of course is a most useful safety device where mountain lions are concerned; however, it was never devised for constant use, a lifetime's worth of worry and anxiety about all manner of things which basically *never ceases at all*.
As worries and anxieties and underlying fears are not resolved but tend to increase, one piling on top of the next and new ones being added as the years go by, sleep disturbances increase and HGH levels decrease in turn, making it harder still to find balanced states of mind and body and a sense of security *within one's own self* which are the pre-requisites for deep sleep - and more HGH production.
Sleeping Without Fear
Now, and although the title of the article concerns the topical HGH, there are of course all kinds of reasons beyond this why sleeping deeply is so important.
There are a great many reasons for sleep disturbances and if in doubt, of course medical opinions should be sought; clearly however, being unable to enter the deep, slow wave sleep states because of underlying anxiety, fear and stress is the most common problem, affecting a large part of the population in many different ways.
So how can we go to sleep without fear?
Ananga Sivyer, author of "The Art & Science of Emotional Freedom", says, "I am sure that many sleep disturbances have their root in childhood and child rearing. Simply put, children are not designed to be left on their own, unguarded, when they are young and vulnerable. Aready then, being unable to relax deeply and profoundly becomes the normal order of things and it just gets worse from there."
As this is primarily a direct physiological set of responses in reaction to perceived vulnerability from the environment, there are a number of techniques to help adults regain a sense of safety.
Mind Control & Meditation Techniques
Although these can do little about existing "background anxiety", these kinds of techniques can at least relax the body enough so that medium deep sleep with some incidences of deep wave sleep can be achieved. In turn, if this is happening regularly, a "virtuous cycle" begins to develop whereby the slightly increased vitality and overall functioning of the body's system begin to alleviate some of the background anxiety in turn.
A simple and very useful example is to turn one's focus from the problems of the day to imagining a guardian of some kind being present who will protect the sleeper; this may be a person they might know and trust or a guardian angel, a spirit animal or any type of being or creature which will perform the "guarding service" for the sleeper so they may really go deep and leave their body indeed, vulnerable and unable to respond immediately to outside stimuli for a time whilst they are in deep wave sleep.
There are many useful articles on how to prepare and slowly remove oneself from the stresses and stressors of the day available; also many other meditation and mind control techniques to "calm the thoughts in the moment".
The core component is to remember that the sleeper will need to feel safe and protected - what exactly needs to be done to make this so is essentially idiosyncratic and different for different people.
The other avenue in order to achieve the healing deep wave sleep states is to begin to deal with the "background anxiety" - the main fears and worries that underly everything else.
A great many people are quite unaware of their own "background anxiety" and how high this actually is. This may be a good time to point out that everyone has this, and it is not a question of strenght of character, being a coward or even unusual in either men, children or women in the 1st World.
There is an excellent range of meridian based self help techniques available today which calm emotions and remove fears and anxiety by working with the human energy system rather than in the old fashioned psycho-analytical way; all of these are gentle and userfriendly and highly recommended (see Resources).
All the seemingly miraculous effects of artificial HGH treatments, from weightloss, better condition, more energy and a better functioning immune system can be had quite naturally when we put ourselves in a position where we can begin to produce natural amounts of our own HGH again.
For this, we need to sleep - not a lot, but deeply. And in order to sleep deeply, we need to target particularly anxiety, stress and fear, both at bedtime as well as our own individual every day "background anxiety" levels.
When we do this with the help of the many useful new mind and body techniques available, we will reap not only all the advertised HGH benefits, but we will do so naturally, in accordance with our own bodies and without fear of having to pay the price of the side effects later. In the contrary, we are setting up a virtuous cycle of healing and improvement in our physical and mental functions.
Understanding how important it is to acknowledge, find and treat our fears and anxieties WILL put a great many things to rights - and without complicated diets, additional supplements or unnatural exercise programmes.