Community Health, Complimentary Therapy, Healthcare

Sleep – The Elixir of Life

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In previous posts and papers, mention has been made of the importance of sleep. it really is the elixir of life. When we sleep is when our brains do all the housework. The brain actually swells slightly and changes physical size allowing better flow of cerebrospinal fluid, (CSF), which removes metabolites and toxins and supplies nutrients to the brain.

Divers can go into chambers for a number of reasons. In some cases it is used as decompression tool. Divers are instructed to omit their final decompression stops from 9 meters up. When they get to the surface we re-compress them to 12 meters (2,2 ATA) on oxygen and carry out their decompression requirements within the chamber where the environment is more controlled. Its called surface decompression. In fact this is where the common term “decompression chamber” comes from. the name is attributed to it’s use.

In other cases, divers may be re-compressed in an emergency and in cases of decompression sickness. Accordingly the name “re-compression chamber” is attributed again to it’s use. Either way though it’s the same chamber.

Regardless of the purpose of the compression, and equally so for therapeutic compression of non-diving related therapy, in my 25 years involved with diving in some way or another, the most common report I have heard from divers following a session in a chamber or even an enriched mix dive is, ” I have never slept so well in my life”.

From personal experience I can absolutely confirm that a hyperbaric session on pure oxygen will most certainly help even the worst insomniac get a good nights sleep. Good restorative sleep at that. 60 minutes or so at 2 atmospheres absolute (ATA) on pure oxygen and I for one sleep like a rock.

It’s not a far stretch to then say that any form of recovery and healing is dependant on good quality sleep to one degree or another. Many stress, depression and anxiety related conditions share many commonalities with insomnia.

Sleep allows the brain to rest, flush and do vital housekeeping and HBOT can give you that good nights sleep. It’s one of the reason those recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction enjoy HBOT. It helps clear the mind and give them a solid nights sleep.

Fatigue is listed as a consequence or side effect of HBOT. To my mind at least it can also serve as a therapy for the sleep deprived. After suffering at one time for months and months of sleeplessness, I can attest to the fact there is little worse than sleep deprivation.

Attached below is a short abstract to a peer reviewed paper on sleep and it’s importance in mamalian brain biology.

Sleep – the elixir of life as they say. Something HBOT can and does deliver.

Hayden Dunstan

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