Our subject today is the secret of sleep, which correctly indicates that there are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to sleep. One of the most important questions is:
Why do we have to sleep?
Sleep conserves energy, we spend less energy while we sleep. We are not subjected to the cold, we do not need to strain our muscles, for we are usually lying in a warm bed.
However, it is not only saving energy – we actually recreate the capacity to protect our body against the cold, the ability to stay warm when we are subjected to the cold the next day.
Therefore it is a matter of conservation of conservation. We do not only save calories, it is more the ability to regulate calories that is renewed – which means body-warmth as well as energy for the metabolism. It is known by most, that while we sleep our brains work, even though not in the same way as they do when we are awake. The areas of the brain that are working only at a low level during the day are now taking over, while those ones which determine the activities of the day are resting. The science has not yet answered to the question what exactly happens during the various phases of sleep, but I would like to underline one of the very important things we know. Sleep like a “database maintenance” for our memory. During our day we are confronted to many different small or bigger happenings. Everything that occurs during the day goes into the short-term memory of our brains. While we sleep, our brain goes through all those memories and filters them to send what it deems important to where long-term memories are “registered”. All the other unimportant things are kept in the short term memory, where most get forgotten. This function is a very important one and shows why many people having sleep disorders often have memory problems.
Those two topics I just describes detailed are the most important and evident effects of sleep:
- Regulation of energy: helps us to fight disease and have a healthier body
- Regulation of our brain’s “database”: helps us to avoid overloading our brains with unnecessary information and to memorize important topics.
Considering only those two points, we understand why sleep disorders leads to lack of energy and problems to concentrate. But…
…What exactly is considered a sleep disorder?
There are multiple possible causes to a sleep disorder, as much as there are multiple types of sleep disorder. I would like first to point out, that not every sleep behavior not fitting in the standards as we define them, should be considered as disorder. The age influences strongly the sleep pattern (for example: teenagers need much more sleep than adults), but also, let us not forget that we are all individuals and just very different one from another. Some of us need no more than four hours of sleep to be fit, while others of us need more than ten.
A therapist need first to find out if really there is a case of sleep disorder. This sometimes can be answered already through some short questions, but sometimes a clear diagnosis includes one or several nights in a sleep lab.
If disorder there is, the quality of life from the concerned patient is affected and so without any doubt, the problem needs to be solved. At this point, it is important to find out first where the sleep disorder comes from. Our Institute is specialized in non-organic sleep disorders. If we find out, that it could be a physical problem that leads to the problem, we refer the concerned patient to one of the specialists we work with. The psychic origins can be many, as many as there are individual life stories; Burnout, depressions, PTBS are just some of the possible origins of sleep disorder. Sometimes, even very astounding answers come out, so of course, the sleep habits have to be analyzed as well. Gerhard Klösch, co-worker in our institute, has for example described an astounding phenomenon in his book “A bed for two”. He found out during his researches, that many people, especially women, sleep bad when they sleep in the same bed than their partners. The origin of sleep disorder can sometimes be as simple as that! Let us face though, that even if the origin in this case is simple to analyze, it is much more difficult to solve that problem, as understanding for each other can be a real problematic topic for a couple affected by that. As many of those seeking answers on our page for sure are well aware of, our dream worlds can answer many of our questions. Even if dreams sometimes have a cryptic way to reveal us our subconscious, the show what busies our minds, what deprives us of our healthy sleep… The worlds of our dreams and nightmares do not only help us to find out the reasons, they also can be the solution. You can learn more about that on our pages, in our publications or seminars, but of course, our Institute is here for you and can help you to find out the individual solution for each person suffering from a sleep disorder.
Sleepcoaching is a method for rapid and lasting treatment of sleep disorders. It has been first presented in 2007 by Brigitte Holzinger und Gerhard Klösch in their course Sleep Coaching and in 2013 in their book „Schlafcoaching | Wer wach sein will, muss schlafen“. Since then the method has been refined and the new components will be presented in 2017 in a new book publication. This method builds upon the fundamental idea of Gestalt therapy, which considers the Self of humans as an interaction with the environment, the “field”, surrounding them. In this open frame of the Gestalt, sleep coaching includes four elements which uncover and treat the sleep disorder. Those four elements, which can unfold freely in the world of the Gestalt, are: sleep education and knowledge about sleep, sleep training with its roots in cognitive behavior therapy, relaxing techniques including hypnosis and meditation techniques, and dream work. The specific characteristic of the sleep coaching method is the rapid effectiveness, that helps really fast to increase the quality of sleep within people affected by sleep disorders and so relieves them from the negative psychological and physical effects of unhealthy sleep. The here presented method of sleepcoaching also has a lasting effect and thus provides on a long term a better quality of life. For people visiting our site and working in the field of medical health care, we would like to draw attention to the possibility to attend to the postgraduate program “sleep coaching” at the Medical University of Vienna. The program lasts 3 semesters and participants who successfully complete the program get a certificate from the University qualifying them as sleep coach.