Sleep deprivation and insomnia are fraught with dangerous health consequences and the development of serious ailments, but they can be prevented if you follow a number of fundamental rules of healthy sleep. "Vechernyaya Moskva" learned how dangerous insomnia is in the era of a pandemic and how to get enough sleep even under stress.
According to the doctor-somnologist at the Center for Epileptology and Neurology named after V.I. A.A. Kazaryan Irina Zavalko, there are two serious problems associated with sleep in the era of a pandemic. On the one hand, the doctor says, there are people who do not understand how important sleep is for health, and neglect it in order, for example, to spend more time on the Internet. On the other hand, there are patients who already suffer from sleep problems, including insomnia.
What are the risks of sleep problems: nerves, heart, excess weight
According to the interlocutor of "VM", it has been scientifically proven that the consequences of lack of sleep, associated, in particular, with insomnia, are real and great.
- The first thing that worries everyone now is the effect of sleep on the immune system. If a person does not get enough sleep, his immunity decreases, he is more likely to suffer from various infectious diseases, - says Irina Zavalko.
The second negative consequence of poor sleep is disruption of the cardiovascular system. As the doctor clarifies, those who, for one reason or another, do not get enough sleep, the risk of developing ailments related to the heart and blood vessels increases.
In addition, the doctor continues, in people suffering from lack of sleep, metabolism may be disturbed in the direction of overweight and obesity.
- Of course, lack of sleep affects the psychological state. In the short term, the very next day after poor sleep, a person's motivation decreases, attention and mood deteriorate, and in the long term, the risk of anxiety and depression increases, the expert added.
She concluded that all of the above factors reduce life expectancy and increase mortality.
Sleep or work - the doctor's answer
According to Zavalko, in a situation where there is a choice - to go to bed on time, but neglect work, or vice versa, you should still make a choice in favor of healthy sleep.
- Lack of sleep reduces the efficiency of work and planning. It is possible that the hour, two or three that a person vomits from his sleep will not pay off in the future. He will spend the same time or even more on correcting mistakes that he can make due to lack of sleep, - explained the somnologist.
Can insomnia cause serious illness and death?
Several sleepless nights will not provoke one hundred percent development of dangerous ailments, says the interlocutor of "VM". According to her, sleep disturbances up to insomnia can lead to serious consequences, but this is just a risk of their development, and not a guaranteed occurrence.
- Never does insomnia structurally destroy the brain, does not lead to its physical damage. And one cannot die from insomnia - the cause will always be some concomitant disease, but not herself, - the specialist noted.
What if you have trouble sleeping?
Lack of sleep and insomnia are caused by anxiety and stress, which are abundant in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Additional disturbing stimuli will only worsen the situation, the doctor warns, advising "not to think about how scary this is all in your head."
- Even during a pandemic, you should not overthink the negative aspects that we cannot influence, because often our brain paints the most terrible pictures. And the more we think, the more they seem real, - says Zavalko.
For sleep problems, the first thing the expert recommends is to learn to relax and learn concentration practices to distract from bad thoughts.
- You need to be able to prepare for sleep: an hour or two before it, dim the lights and move on to quieter activities. Don't interrupt important tasks, turn off your computer, and go to bed right away. Relax first, and instead of lying down and trying to force yourself to sleep, you can use relaxation techniques. Everyone has something different: breathing exercises are suitable for someone, exercises for muscle relaxation (progressive muscle relaxation) are suitable for someone, auto-training or meditation is useful for the third. Finally, you can just imagine yourself in a place you like. It is worth choosing a method that is suitable for relaxation, and using it regularly, '' the doctor said.
She also emphasized that in case of insomnia, one should not lie in bed and “oversleep”. Otherwise, sleep disturbances may take hold rather than go away.
- It may not seem very logical, but you should not try to sleep too much, - said the doctor.
She added that sleep patterns are equally important.
When to see a doctor
If all of the above practices did not get rid of sleep problems, they become chronic (a person does not get enough sleep more than three times a week, and this has been going on for more than a month), then you need to contact a specialist.
“It is often difficult to get out of this state, and somnologists have both medication and non-medication methods of treatment,” concluded Zavalko.
Earlier, Alexander Kalinkin, head of the Sleep Medicine Center of Moscow State University, said that with regular lack of sleep, the risk of contracting any viruses, including COVID-19, increases by more than 250 percent.
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