Sleeping better for us than pills

End of July marked a special holiday worldwide: Sleepyhead Day — aiming to draw attention to the health problems caused by insomnia

By Zoya Nenasheva

“Those who sleep well tend to be happy!” asserts the Scientific Studies Deputy Director of the Republican Research and Practice Centre for Mental Health, Tatiana Dokukina. “When we sleep well at night, we smile in the morning and spend the entire day in a good mood.”

Any sleep disorder significantly deteriorates our quality of life, usually inspiring the person to seek medical help. When the usual home remedies of hot baths, herbal tea and relaxing massage fail to work, then assistance is needed. “A specialist can help you to restore your normal sleeping habits,” promises Ms. Dokukina. “More importantly, you learn to be happy and sleep well.”

Neurologist Sergey Kolomiets, a post graduate student at the Department of Nervous and Neurosurgical Diseases of the Belarusian State Medical University, also emphasises the importance of proper sleep. “The amount of sleep and its quality are two different matters. Rest ensures health, so you should ensure your bedroom is conducive to relaxation.”

The problem of lack of sleep is acute in today’s busy world. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, weight loss and, even, illness. You aren’t safe to drive unless you are well rested, asserts Minsk City Executive Committee’s State Road Police Inspector Irina Sapunova. She notes, “Minsk Region roads are mostly transit highways. Unfortunately, many road accidents take place as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Since the beginning of the year, there have been six such accidents registered in the Minsk Region; one person died and six were injured. The cause was simple lack of sleep and fatigue.” Unfortunately, even experienced drivers can be blase. The human body is not a machine.  A careless attitude towards our own health, with just 3-4 hours of sleep, can result in disaster…

Good sleeping habits are an investment in a healthy and happy life — better than any medicine. It’s a waste not to use sleep to the full.


Useful advice
Adults need 7 to 8 hours a day of sleep, rising with age.

Your mattress should be firm and at least 8-10cm deep, made from natural materials. It should keep a steady temperature and humidity for the whole period of your rest.

When choosing a pillow, keep in mind that its height should be equal to the size of your shoulder. Try to keep you head in one line with your body.

Keep your room ventilated, dark (with curtains where necessary) and quiet.

Be careful not to over-indulge in food or drink before bedtime. However, a light snack can help your body to relax.
The pose you sleep in is individual but it seems that men should not sleep on their stomach, since it disturbs microcirculation in the small pelvis, which can cause early impotence. Sleeping on your side is healthier.

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