Get a Good Night’s Sleep for Improved Health

By Dr N. Bhikha
Neurophysiologist at Sandton Sleep and EEG Laboratory

Sleep is a magical escape from our consciousness, yet sleep disorders are more commonplace than one would think. The key to maintaining good health lies in diagnosing, understanding, and overcoming these disorders to foster good sleep habits.

The Function of Sleep

Sleep involves a plethora of neurobiology. The endocrine system is unleashed to drive sleep cycles that follow in tune with our day/night cycles. While we sleep, our bodies consolidate, get rid of metabolic waste, repair themselves, and are rejuvenated.

Good sleep patterns ensure the body is aligned to the circadian rhythm, which regulates the sleep–wake cycle.

Common Sleep Disorders

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is respiratory related and results in a total cessation of breathing while sleeping
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Medication or stress causing excess cortisol, which disrupts the sleep cycle
  • Insomnia
  • Corona Insomnia, sparked by working from home, isolation, depression, and long-term exposure to LED lights

The results of sleep deprivation caused by these disorders are fatigue, memory loss, and dysfunction during the daytime. These elements put you in a high-risk category for ailments like hypertension, diabetes, mood and behaviour disorders, dysregulated metabolism, and high blood pressure leading to heart issues.


The Connection Between Sleep and the Nervous System

The sleep centre is situated in the hypothalamus. With this the brain initiates and perpetuates sleep, releasing all the neurochemicals to take the body through the sleep-wake cycle. When you have any disease in the body the neurochemical pathway is disrupted, which will affect the sleep cycle.


How Do Sleep Labs Work?

Sleep and EEG laboratories, like Sandton Sleep Lab, consists of multidisciplinary teams comprising neurologists, cardiologists, psychologists, and technicians that attend to patients suffering from a sleep disorder

Patients are attached to equipment that measure physiological parameters. With this information, we can diagnose the type of disorder, the respiration rate, the heat rate, and the EEG function – all of which tells us how you are progressing through the night.

With this data at hand, we can offer a treatment  accordingly . With sleep apnea, for example, we would prescribe the use of a CPAP machine, which supplies a  positive air pressure into the upper airways to  ensure the patient can breathe better and sleep better.

Get Better Sleep with Diagnosis and Sleep Hygiene

There are certain methods that must be put into place to get the sleep cycle started. We share these practices with our patients to help them get good rest. Sleep is the golden thread that links our bodies to wellness. It’s all about balance, limiting white light from technology, and embracing a bedroom that’s only for sleep and sex.

For more information about how to get a good night’s sleep, watch this interview with Dr Bhikha on eTV or contact Sandton Sleep Lab at

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