Sleep patterns have evolved drastically over time as have our thoughts, ideas and expectations around them. Hundreds of years ago, it was normal for someone to sleep only 4 to 5 hours a night. Society, as a whole, has a drastically different approach to life than our ancestors did in times past. We try to fit in more activities and longer work hours, which simply create more stressful aspects to our days. We fall too easily into the trap of live to work instead of work to live. These stresses affect our ability to “turn it off” in our heads and allow our brains to fully relax enough to facilitate proper sleep patterns. Without proper and adequate sleep, our minds and bodies do not operate at our fullest potentials.
The burning question is how much sleep does one really need and what is considered adequate? The answer to this question is different for everyone and is dictated by our circadian rhythm. According to an article from Medical News Today, Circadian Rhythm is defined as “a routine of biological and behavioral processes that roughly occur every day over 24 hour cycles.” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319425.php). There are so many factors that can affect our internal clocks, including daylight and what we do during those wakeful hours. In fact, New York Times Online states “Our circadian rhythm evolved to be tied to the solar day. In other words, our internal clock is easily influenced and kept in check by the daylight cycle.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/opinion/sunday/can-sleep-deprivation-cure-depression.html). As humans in the ever-quickening rat race of today’s world, it is important to understand our bodies and our sleep patterns and to solve the deficiencies that occur around the lack of sleep. While our bodies all respond differently to inadequate sleep, the most common side effects are irritability, depression, and higher levels of anxiety.
This brings us to the question of what to do about sleep deprivation. What is the solution? This question has so many answers depending on who you ask, yet some of those answers may not necessarily address the root of the problem. Medication tends to be one of the first routes that people take. With potential side effects and the chance of the medication not solving the problems, many people would agree that this is not the best alternative. What if there was a more natural, holistic option that addressed all the side effects of insomnia and sleep deprivation? Float therapy does just that and aids in helping additional symptoms too. Floating in over 10 inches of body temperature water that is filled with over 700 pounds of medical grade Epsom salt is beneficial for both the mind and the body. The high levels of magnesium are great for the physical recovery aspects of the body and the weightlessness that occurs allows the body to relax and calm the nerves.
Float therapy allows one to reach a deep state of relaxation by removing outside sensory inputs and stimuli which also helps to slow down the body’s natural fight or flight response. Because of the minimization of outside stimuli, the mind can reach the theta state which leads to REM. Through this process, one hour of float is the equivalent of four hours of sleep. Floating activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system which allows the brain to relax, in turn, calming the nervous system. This also helps to lower the cortisol levels which aid in hormone balancing. Creating an environment that allows the body to relax, the mind to shut down and the outside world to disappear, provides the ground work that the body needs to start adjusting poor sleep patterns and insomnia.