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Golden rules for better sleep

Prof. Okan Bolukbasi, neurology expert in Okan University, preaches on golden rules of a quality sleep: What is sleep?

It is rather difficult to describe it. Once it was thought as non-action part of life, now we know that it is an active period for our brain affecting our mental and physical health.

What factors cause insomnia?

Breath relieving drugs, sprays, caffeinated drinks, diet medications and unfavorable conditions in bedroom…

And cigarette?

Even more. Smokers sleep like rabbits, having the least REM sleep. They can only go into sleep in 3 to 4 hours, when the nicotine level was reduced. Also, alcohol is a factor, contrast to general perception it is not good for better sleep.

What is ideal duration of good sleep?

Newborns need 16 hours of sleep. For adults 7 to 8 hours is enough. Adolescences sleep nine hours. Pregnant needs more. Body gets back its share if the people do not meet its need for sleep. In line with aging, older people sleepless and become minimal after 65 years.

What are the problems caused by insomnia?

Almost all branches of medicine are related with sleep patterns. Attacks are more frequent during sleep especially just before dawn, because of changing pulse of hearth and hormone levels.

Are there any relation between insomnia and mental illnesses?

In most of the mental problems, sleep problems are seen. For example, depressive people wake up so early and they cannot go back to sleep.

What is sleep apnea?

Breathing stops while snoring. Having less oxygen during sleep causes headache and feel of tiredness, loss of libido, mental abilities, reduction of pulse and change of the rhythm. Apnea increases the risk of traffic accident three fold.

What is restless leg syndrome?

It is the cramps in the legs during sleep causing numbness, pinching and tingling sensations. The patient wants to constantly move his legs. It can be seen at any age. Anemia (iron deficiency), pregnancy and diabetes mellitus may lead to this situation. Patients are relaxed by administering dopamine,  a  biochemical stimulant.

Golden rules for better sleep

* If you are taking a nap during the day, do not exceed 30 minutes. Excessive napping affects the night sleep.

* Before you go to bed, stay away from stimulants like caffeine, nicotine. You can eat a high protein snacks and fruits 2-3 hours before sleep. These foods increase the consumption of sleep-regulating hormones. But stay away from cereal and sugar because sleep rhythm breaks down. Avoid fatty, fried, spicy, edible, carbonated foods and beverages.

* Exercise provides good sleep quality. A short 10-minute bike or hike will significantly increase the night’s sleep quality. However, do not exercise intensively during bedtime.

* Exposure to natural light all day long. Your bedroom should not be so bright at night.

* Get a useful relaxant habit before sleeping. Warm shower, book reading, light stretching exercises, contemplation, etc. Avoid pre-sleeping emotional speech or situations.

* Your bed linen, your pillow and bed should be convenient and comfortable. Your bedroom must be cool, not warm or even lukewarm. One of the signs that prepare the body to sleep is the fall of the ambient heat.

* Your bedroom should not have light and sound sources such as televisions, cell phones, etc. If necessary, you can have dark curtains, propellers, air humidifiers, and earplugs.

* Do not put any electric appliance closer than one meter. Do not use noisy alarms. They stir anxiety in the body.

* Just use your bed only to sleep. Go to bed as early as possible. 23.00 o’clock is the most ideal. Because it is time to renew our adrenal system between 23.00 and 01.00. We’d better be asleep in the meantime. The biliary artery also discharge poisons in this period. If you are awake, the poisons return back to the liver.

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