Sleep is one of the basics of a normal daily routine. Experts say that a person must sleep six to eight hours a day so that he can regain his activity and strength for the continuity of life. However, there are some people who suffer from insomnia, or sleep for fewer hours, which affects their health.
According to the Ministry of Health, failure to adhere to the normal sleeping hours causes several health problems, including; poor decision-making and slow reaction, hallucinations, memory problems, increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, getting wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes, weak immune system, and increased feeling of pain and fatigue.
Recent studies have shown that staying up late and being sleep deprived can cause long-term brain damage. Those who face sleep problems three times a week for a month are advised to go to the doctor immediately.
Lack of sleep is one of the problems of the modern era, and it is more common in developed countries, where work pressures are more severe compared to other societies. The spread of smartphones too has, in turn, affected the quality of sleep at a global level and they are considered “disruptive” factors for healthy sleep, due to the rate of blue light that negatively affects the secretion of the hormone melatonin responsible for sleep, according to doctors.
Besides the technology, there are reasons behind the lack of enough sleep at night, which maybe taking a nap during the day, going to sleep on a full stomach, dirty pillow and sheets, not getting enough exercise, tension and excessive worry, drinking caffeinated stimulants, and it could be because of health problems related to age or diseases.
However, there are psychological and behavioural techniques that can be useful for treating insomnia, such as relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises, meditation techniques, guiding images and listening to audio recordings. These practices can help one fall asleep and also fall back asleep in the middle of the night.
One of the techniques is the use of sleep stimulants which help build a relationship between the bedroom and sleep. This is done by arranging the room, using a comfortable bed and room lighting control.
The other technique is cognitive behavioural therapy, which includes behavioural changes such as maintaining a consistent bedtime routine (bedtime and wake time, and no afternoon naps), as well as cognitive changes aimed at modifying unhealthy beliefs and fears about sleep and teaching rational and positive thinking.
Moreover, the Ministry of Health noted that sleeping pills can be used under the supervision of a specialist doctor to treat acute insomnia for a temporary period not exceeding two weeks, due to the danger of dependence on this type of medication.