1 in 5 Flemings swallows sleeping pills

This is how the alarming headline of an article in the HLN newspaper recently read. Research by Partena Ziekenfonds showed that half of the Flemish population sleeps poorly and 1 in 10 even suffers from chronic sleep problems. Many, 1 in 5, use a 'pill'. The paper gives the floor to a number of sleep experts who warn against this tendency. Many of these drugs are addictive and can even be counterproductive because they disturb natural sleep.

Neurologist and sleep expert Inge Declercq (UZA) says: "A sleeping pill only causes your brain to be more knocked out at night, but being awake too much at night doesn't solve the problem and only causes more problems. With a sleeping pill you have the impression that you sleep better, but it doesn't give you more restorative sleep."

002.jpgIn my book 'Stop Stress' I pay a lot of attention to this subject. Chronic or regular insomnia is also an alarm signal in case of stress. The amount of sleep you need can vary individually. To know how many hours you need to maintain your vitality, all you have to do is answer the following question. Are you really fit and rested when you get up in the morning? That's the criterion. Remember that it's not just the length of time you sleep that counts, but also how you sleep.

How can you improve your sleep?
- Don't eat too late. Certainly no meat, fish or cheese after 19 hours.
- Do not allow strenuous brain activity just before bedtime.
- Stop watching television for a while before you go to sleep.
- Leave coffee and English tea (black tea) out of the menu for a while, and certainly after 18 hours.
- A brisk evening walk is soothing. Make sure you breathe well or as Alfred Vogel put it: 'tank of oxygen'.

Vogel always said that the hours you sleep before midnight count double. New insights make it clear that this is not true. What appears to be important is that you should get up at the same time and that you go to sleep when you get tired (when your sleep 'calls' you to bed...). This will ensure that your biorhythmics continue to function properly.

Preferably do not use synthetic sleeping aids. In fact, they force the natural sleep process. Be careful when manipulating this precious restorative mechanism of the body. Sleeping well is absolutely necessary for vital health. Prefer natural products, for example based on Melissa or Valeriana officinalis. These products have a physiological and non-suppressive effect. You can find more information about this in chapter 10 of the book 'Stop Stress'.