SLEEP – MY BEST ALLY
Anxiety, depression, respiratory problems or bad nocturnal habits: there are numerous causes of poor sleep. Clinique La Prairie has developed the Better Sleep programme to help its patients enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Text: Leila Klouche – Photos: Unsplash and AdobeStock
We only realise what it’s worth when we lose it. A disrupted or erratic sleep pattern causes all kinds of negative effects which have an impact on your health. These include fatigue, memory, concentration or libido disorders or, in the longer term, increased cardiovascular risk and cerebrovascular accidents.
A multidisciplinary team caring for your sleep
It would be wise not to take disturbed nights lightly. To handle this issue, Clinique La Prairie provides a comprehensive programme lasting one week which covers all the aspects of sleep. Neurologists, pulmonologists, ENTs, cardiologists, psychiatrists and psychologists work in close collaboration to establish a precise diagnosis and provide personalised solutions. The care process begins with a personal interview along with a questionnaire concerning the problems encountered and the person’s lifestyle. According to the results, the patient is referred to different consultants for more specific examinations. “With sleep disorders there are often several problems, one of which is predominant,” observes Dr Olivier Staneczek, pulmonologist and the programme’s medical consultant.
Just a little air
In the event of sleep apnoea, a cardiorespiratory polygraph produces a diagnosis in 90 per cent of cases from just the second day. If the result is positive, the preferred treatment is unequivocally CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). By inflating the pharynx by means of a flow of slightly pressurised air, the machine entirely eliminates snoring and apnoea. For couples, this means renewed domestic peace! “There is often a form of denial among snorers and up to five years may pass between the initial complaints and the first consultation,” continues Dr Staneczek. “Establishing the diagnosis is a form of liberation for everyone concerned.”
In more complex cases, a polysomnography test is envisaged. “This is an examination during which electrodes are attached to the patient throughout the night and the different phases of sleep are observed,” explains Professor Paul-André Despland, a neurologist at Clinique La Prairie who set up the Sleep Centre at the Vaud teaching hospital. Unstructured sleep sometimes reveals depression, exhaustion, anxiety or a post-traumatic shock.” Generally, the treatment involves beginning a course of psychological monitoring. “Sometimes, for a limited period, it is necessary to combine weak doses of sedatives and phytotherapeutic treatments or to act on melatonin production,” continues the professor.
In the Better Sleep programme, a psychologist is called on at least twice, adopting an approach that takes account of cognition, emotion and behaviour. Fatima Santos uses tools such as medical hypnosis, sophrology or cardiac coherence to help the patient find renewed inner peace. “We begin by working on the identification of thoughts that produce emotions,” she explains. “These include nocturnal ruminations which will lead to discomfort, anxiety and distress. It is therefore necessary to understand these patterns first, in order to learn how to break them.”
The heart of the matter
Patients are also given a cardiological examination and an effort test. “The quality of sleep depends on physical activity,” explains Dr Jan Adamec, cardiologist at Clinique La Prairie. “By observing the condition of the heart during effort, we can detect possible coronary diseases or hypertension.” Through close collaboration with the personal trainers in the clinic’s health club, patients are also given sports-related recommendations adapted to their medical profile and specific physique.
Sleeping longer and better
Sleep influences our daily life, our mood, our level of attention and our health. The quality of sleep has nevertheless been deteriorating for more than a century with the generalisation of electricity usage. “Over the past 150 years, people have lost between 60 and 90 minutes of sleep per night,” observes Dr Stanczeck. “This might seem somewhat simplistic but if we were to respect human nature, which means being active during the day and preparing for sleep when the natural light begins to fade, it would help us to improve the quality of our sleep.” Night owls and fans of late-night TV series take note.
THE FIVE COMMANDMENTS
OF DEEP AND HEALTHY SLEEP
1. Cut all contact with screens two hours before going to sleep
The blue light emitted by computers, smartphones and tablets penetrates the melanocytes which act on melatonin and cause insomnia.
2. Avoid stimulants after 4 p.m.
As well as alcohol which becomes a stimulant after four hours.
3. Do not eat just before going to bed
Digestion is not conducive to falling asleep.
4. Slow the pace
Before going to bed, take a walk, listen to music or read a book.
5. Avoid violent images or stories
The brain secretes hormones that are harmful to the process of falling asleep.