“Sleep is the best cure for walking troubles.” – Cervantes
A sound sleep is very vital to our body needs and health for it enables us to feel rested, invigorated and alive. Sleep is considered to be nature’s sweet restorer. It allows man to temporarily escape from the world’s problems. Sometimes sleep gives us a glimpse of a fleeting pleasure that we enjoy in a beautiful dream as well as a taste of hell in a terrifying nightmare.
I used to give a series of lectures on Sleep Disorders but I would only focus on insomnia, for this is the most common complaint of man. Everyone, one way or another, has experienced temporary sleeplessness in his life. However, we pity individuals (the insomniacs) who suffer the agony of an intractable insomnia, a kind of a very stubborn type of sleeplessness that does not easily respond to an ordinary sleeping measure and may become addicted to repeated use of sleeping pills. This is believed to be due to deepseated unresolved conflicts which need intensive psychotherapy.
Insomnia per se is not a disease but it can be a major symptom of a disease or bodily disorder such as: pain, anxiety, depression or other distressing problems. All mental illnesses usually start with complaint of sleeplessness.
Insomnia is defined as the inability to sleep during normal sleeping hours.
It may vary from simple restlessness to wakefulness on and off through the night to total sleeplessness. Insomniacs feel so tired, irritable and lousy upon waking up in the morning.
Many forms of insomnia is mostly associated with psychological or emotional conflicts. It may also be due to physical disorders as mentioned above; but it can be related to conditions in the immediate environment such as noise, extreme climatic conditions (too warm or too cold), lack of ventilation, poor sleeping facilities and other factors like hunger pangs, G.I.T. upsets (LBM/ constipation) high fever and chills, drinking of stimulants like coffee, tea, cola at bedtime, and too much sleeping during the day can cause insomnia.
Duration of sleep varies largely. The average hours of sleep recommended for adults is 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Pope Leo XIII needed only 3 hours of sleep but others like the former US President Woodrow Wilson and many others used to sleep for 9 hours a night. Babies need much more hours of sleep for growth and development.
But adults and old people need much less hours of sleep. A nap at noon (about 30 mins.) is also good for most workers.
Elderlies may rest for an hour or more.
Suggestions to prevent simple insomnia:
- Do not bring serious problems to bed.
- Take a 10 to 15 minutes walk before bedtime.
- Take a warm bath.
- Drink a glass of warm milk.
- Avoid, coffee, tea, cola at bedtime.
- May listen to soft and relaxing music.
- Close your eyes and visualize (imagine) a tranquil scenery, like a serene lake, etc.
- Pray like a child to Almighty God that you may still wake up in the morning. Incidentally, aside from “bangungot”, many middleaged Filipinos suddenly die in their sleep usually at dawn of heart attack as reports claimed. Please ask your medical internist the reason of why this predisposition.
Warning: Consult your doctor first regarding in take of sleeping pills. These medications are known to be addictive if indiscriminately taken and overused. Pray, be peaceful, sleep tight, and have a nice dream, fellas!