Milagros Merino Andreu is Coordinator of the Department of Neurological Sleep Disorders at La Paz University Hospital and Head of the Sleep Medicine Program at Ruber Internacional Hospital.
He develops research activities that include clinical, pharmacological and genetic aspects of sleep disorders in children and adults.
He has presented over 130 papers at congresses and scientific meetings and published them in national and international journals.
The importance of a good rest: ten recommendations
Dr. Milagros Merino, President of the Spanish Sleep Society
Sleep is a physiological state that has existed in hominins for millions of years, and if it persists, that means it has a real utility: it allows physical and mental recovery in our bodies to restore biochemical and psychological processes, such as tissue repair. , protein synthesis, muscle growth or enhancing memory and learning.
It is estimated that normal and healthy sleep in adults is about 7-9 hours a day, but in any case, its duration should be long enough so that there is no drowsiness and fatigue during the day.
However, sometimes there is sleep deprivation or unrefreshing sleep, prolonged sleep, or resting events (apnea, sleepwalking, etc.) that have daytime effects.
These are sleep disorders that are classified as insomnia, parasomnia, hypersomnia, sleep breathing disorders, circadian rhythm disorders, and sleep movement disorders.
The prevalence of sleep disorders in the adult population is estimated at 40% worldwide and 20-48% nationally.
Children are also not free from them: a third have problems with sleep. In adults, the most common disorders are insomnia (15-20%), which is even more common in women, and obstructive sleep apnea, which is more common in obese individuals and affects 20% of moderate to severe men. and up to 10% of postmenopausal women.
According to its severity, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome stands out among all, which causes sleep apnea pauses and intermittent hypoxemia, and can also cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, metabolism and traffic accidents (according to DGT, up to 15-30% traffic accidents are attributed to drowsiness while driving).
AND narcolepsy, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness, episodes of weakness in the face of emotions and disturbed nighttime sleep, and which seriously affects the quality of life of those affected, but fortunately does not lead to a higher mortality rate.
Any disorder that is not effectively treated tends to become chronic, even if it started after a stressful event and disappeared.
The consequences of such chronification are numerous: from increased drowsiness, fatigue, irritability and apathy to anxiety disorders, depression, loss of memory and concentration, attention deficit and hyperactivity in children; experiencing weight gain, headaches, hypertension and greater immunological vulnerability.
In the presence of sleep apnea, in addition, to these consequences can be added a greater risk of heart rhythm disturbances and a greater predisposition to heart attack or stroke, thrombosis, heart failure, etc.
Get restful sleep
More and more effective treatments are being developed to combat major sleep disorders, but in any case, from a therapeutic point of view, it is fundamental to observe the rules of sleep hygiene and, as soon as the type of disorder is determined, the initiation of specific treatment. .
In no case, yes, you can not take the drug without the supervision of a doctor. In this sense, it is important to remember two things: on the one hand, what is effective for one person may not be shown to another, even if the sleep problems are similar; on the other hand, that not everything that “causes drowsiness” serves as a treatment for insomnia.
Ten tips for a good holiday
As we said before, it is important to apply some basic sleep hygiene tips to prevent sleep. Among them are ten absolutely necessary recommendations for a good rest, but not always sufficient to combat sleep disorders that require treatment:
1. Hold fixed time to go to bed and get upincluding weekends and holidays.
2. click It has two benefits: it “recharges the battery”, that is, it has a general strengthening effect, and it helps to synchronize the circadian rhythm. In any case, yes, you should avoid sleeping for more than 30 minutes.
3. Keep your bedroom clean. temperature pleasant and minimal light and noise.
4. Avoid taking in the afternoon. chocolate and drinks containing caffeine and theophylline.
5. alcohol and tobacco they impair sleep and should be avoided a few hours before bedtime.
6. Don’t go to bed until two hours have passed. After dinnerwhich should be light.
7. Avoid strenuous exercise in the hours before bedtime.
8. Do not use a computer or other device with a backlit screen. two hours before bedtime.
9. Stay in bed long enough, adapting it to the real needs of sleep.
10. Avoid exercising in bed for example: watching TV, reading or listening to the radio. The bed should be associated with sleep.