Treat sleep disorders – can you learn to sleep?

Those who sleep little get more out of the day, you might think. But those who suffer from sleep disorders quickly become a shadow of their former selves. Lack of sleep is detrimental to mental and physical health, while sufficient sleep can make you beautiful and even slim. Fortunately, sleep disorders can be treated.

Healthy sleep can be learned. Now there is even an evidence-based Kneipp compact cure for sleep disorders that is recognized by health insurers. The three-week cure is designed to provide lasting help for people with lifestyle-related sleep disorders. It takes place in Füssen in the Allgäu region.

At the heart of the three-week program is the idea of “inner order,” central pillar of Kneipp’s natural healing method. For Sebastian Kneipp was not only the “water doctor” who prescribed his patients cold showers. Above all, he wanted to teach them a healthy lifestyle, and this is how you learn how to treat sleep disorders.

The Kneipp specialists in Füssen have taken this holistic approach of the Allgäu health pioneer a step further in keeping with the times: participants in the compact cure are to learn techniques and practice lifestyle habits that can be used to treat sleep disorders. The techniques are also intended to help maintain a balance between one’s own resources and the demands of everyday life. Questions around the topic answer the diploma psychologist, sleep expert and coach for the reorientation of life, occupation and personality Sascha Maurer in the PODCAST interview.

Why are sleep disorders on the rise?

“It has a lot to do with our lifestyle. Hectic schedules and stress often don’t allow us to rest even when we sleep. Even in bed, our thoughts are still doing the rounds.”

What is the consequence?

“After too little sleep, concentration drops, reaction time increases, blood pressure rises. Depressive moods increase.”

Why is sleep so important?

“Sleep is more than a break. Because our organism also works at full speed during the night. The immune system, for example, needs sleep to regenerate every day and prevent infections. What we have learned can only be consolidated in the brain if we get enough sleep. If the soul doesn’t get any relaxation, the consequences can be burnout and even depression.”

What exactly happens during sleep?

“The recovery process that takes place at night is controlled by a variety of messenger substances, such as the so-called sleep hormone melatonin. A high concentration of it in the blood promotes sleep; a deficiency can lead to sleep disorders. Beauty sleep also really does exist. One of the reasons for this is the growth hormone somatropin, which repairs cell damage in the skin and tissue. Not only is it important for firm skin, it also helps break down fat from the body’s cells.”

And how can you treat sleep disorders yourself?

“It is very important not to stay in bed when you can’t sleep. If you have insomnia, do not sleep during the day either. Rather shorten the sleep for a while, so that you go to bed very tired in the evening. And then there are the rules that are well known to most, such as: avoid heavy meals in the evening, don’t drink more than one glass of wine or beer.”

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Is there a perfect sleeping environment?

“It’s different for every person. Some like darkened bedrooms, while others prefer it bright. Fresh air and a comfortable temperature of about 18 degrees and a quiet environment are certainly conducive.”

What do you think about sleep rituals?

“Reading can help relax, as can listening to music. But I’d rather recommend trying different things before going to sleep so you don’t focus on the sleep issue.”

And finally: can you sleep ahead or catch up on sleep?

“Unfortunately, neither really works. But you can make sure that you recover by getting enough sleep after nights that are too short, and usually the deep sleep phases are especially intense then.”

Lead photos: Damir Spanic