Health experts have advocated the adoption of lifestyle medicine for the management and treatment of the high burden of chronic diseases in the country. They averred that comprehensive lifestyle changes including nutrition, physical activity, restorative night time sleep, stress management social support, avoidance of harmful substances would help to prevent, treat and reverse the progression of chronic diseases by addressing the underlying causes.
President of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Rob Lawson, at a conference organised by the Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONG) in Abuja, said communicable diseases remain the principle cause of death in Nigeria while the country is facing a steady rise in non-communicable diseases.
Lawson said non-communicable diseases account for 41 million deaths every year. He identified social inequality, unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyle, environmental pollution, and wide availability of low cost highly processed, low nutrient food as the key drivers. Lawson said the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has set an ambitious target to reduce global premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 33 percent by 2030.He called for development of a framework for the implementation of lifestyle medicine.
The physician stressed the need for more commitment to adopting the full spectrum of solutions offered by lifestyle medicine adding that Nigeria has the opportunity to avoid the tidal wave of chronic diseases affecting countries like United Kingdom (U.K.). President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, said the burden of chronic diseases in Nigeria is high and the failure rate in treating them using orthodox medicines alone is also on the increase.
Faduyile stressed thee need to take health as a very serious issue in which comprehensive lifestyle changes including nutrition, physical activity, restorative night time sleep, stress management social support, avoidance of harmful substances services to prevent, treat and reverse the progression of chronic diseases by addressing the underlying causes. Founding President of SOLONG, Dr. Ifeoma Monye, said that the body over the last decade had consistently sought for ways to drive the massage of lifestyle medicine in Nigeria and Africa where the need for healthy lifestyle practices is most expedient.
She noted that lifestyle medicine focuses on recognising and treating the causes of diseases and not just its symptoms, through lifestyle interventions which includes nutrition, stress management, sleep, and physical activities among others.
In a panel discussion on the importance of sleep in good health, a member of SOLONG, Dr. Moyosore Makinde, said good sleep is key to overall well being of the body adding that sleep deficiency is a trigger for most diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and hypertension.
She said that research has shown that those who have poor sleep at night are more likely to eat more calories in the day.Makinde explained that while sleeping, some hormones burn calories in the body but in the absence of sleep, these calories are retained in the body, leading to weight gain, and obesity, which are related to diabetes, hypertension, and cancers.She said the use of phones before sleep can affect the mental state of an individual. She said good sleep helps in brain development of children.
The panelists said studies have shown that day time sleep shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes and daytime sleep recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be at least 20 minutes power nap, as many hours of day sleep could affect restorative sleep at night. They said good restorative nighttime sleep for eight hours is recommended by WHO.
According to the panelists, “Several factors contribute to alertness and difficulty in initiating sleep. One important factor is the light intensity to which one is exposed to within one to two hours before expected bedtime. “The spectrum of light that is implicated here is the blue light which is found in our devices such as mobile phones and computers as well as fluorescent bulbs. The intensity from the blue light suppresses the sleep hormone, thus causing difficulty in falling asleep.
“We therefore advise that people with sleep difficulty should avoid activities on such devices and also avoid watching television within two hours of expected bedtime.” Makinde said sleep is more restorative for every individual when these measures are adhered to.
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