Some of the main functions of sleep is to restore metabolic balance, permit the recovery from muscular fatigue and to aid in neutral re-organization.

To rest is to refresh oneself, and this can take the form of sleeping. A good night sleep allows one to be awake and alert throughout the day.

Adequate sleep promotes good posture and better performance at work. Sleep appears necessary for our nervous system to work properly. Too little sleep leads to drowsy and inability to concentrate the next day.

However, the speed and stress of modern life confronts man with problems, most of which he is unprepared for.

This leaves him too alert at bedtime, to develop difficulty or inability falling asleep. The legs and arms are moved restlessly in search of the “right position.”

What then are the factors responsible for sleep disturbance, and its effects on human body?

Renowned educational and counselling psychologist, Dr. Nelson Aderemi, attributed some factors causing sleep disturbances l to non-sleep behaviours at bedtime, and bedroom itself

He said having a lot in mind when going to bed keeps one alert and awake; adding that, being psychologically over aroused when going to bed as such thought or aroused may be related to specific life problems such as finance, marriage, and other social problems.

“An estimated 40 million Nigerians experience some type of sleep disorders, but 95 percent  go undiagnosed and untreated, simply because they do not realize they have a problem, or they think that nothing can be done for them. 

"Many people that feel tired during the day and yawn throughout the evening only go to bed to lie awake for long periods, or to keep dozing and rolling from side to side having chronic difficulty falling asleep.”

Dr. Oyewo pointed out that lying awake for forty minutes during the night seems like an eternity, as one never remembers falling asleep because the time of sleeping seems to pass in a flash.

“Trying hard to sleep involve  a lot of muscles, hence a lot of energy is put into the effort to go to sleep. Sleeping with other people can be very strange when one has been used to a small bedroom, and a particular person.'

He stated that short time insomnia can be linked to events and factors that are often temporary such as adjustments sleep disorder, jet lag, working the night shift or long shifts, side effects of medication, overuse of caffeine and alcohol, environmental noise and wearing of too tight clothing.

Dr. Oyewo, a Chief Lecturer with the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo, submitted that since the discovery that medications are effective only on a short time basis, the chronic use and rapid withdrawal from drug use produces a worsening situation.

He added that the body develops tolerance and dependency necessitating the use of higher dosage to produce the same effect, stressing that alternative method of treatments has been sought for the various disorders of sleep.

On recommendations for good sleep, Dr. Oyewo advised that the bedroom should not only be warm and not stuffy, but used for sleep and sex only, and not for reading and watching television.

“There should be a straightening and tightening of sheets and the re-arrangement of pillows . Avoid caffeine and other stimulants especially, late in the day. A warm, light, and nourishing drink could be taken. Many people found that warm milk increases sleep, as it contains sedative”.

The Counseling psychologist also counseled people not to over focus on falling asleep by watching the clock, saying that “if you don’t fall asleep fairly quickly, get out of bed, and do not return until you are feeling drowsy”.

As for students in tertiary institutions, Dr. Oyewo called on administrators of tertiary institutions to provide additional places of residence for students, stressing that those sleeping at present in lecture rooms and in shared rooms, should be given adequate accommodation.

“Specialists in the helping professions such as Doctors, Nurses, Counselors should plan seminars, workshops, and write ups especially, during orientation weeks that will make the public to be aware of the various disturbances of sleep and their effects. This can make the undergraduates seek for help early enough when they have sleeping problems”.

While calling on government to restrict or ban the sale of certain drugs to reduce the possibility of drug abuse, the expert said counselors should be willing to assist the students in resolving their conflicts as regards worry, depression, carryovers, family pressures and financial handicaps.

In his words, “admissions into our institutions should be based on the availability of hostels and lecture rooms. Undergraduate students should not spend all their lives in isolation, but should socialize with members of the family, colleagues, friends and also pursue hobbies.

This will provide opportunity to talk over unhappy memories and experience with a friend, relative, counselor or religious leaders”.

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