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How to restore iron nerves

Sergei ChepelaNews
Serhii Chepela, neurologist, head of the neurology department at the Lisova Polyana Rehabilitation Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. Source: https://ru.freepik.com/author/rawpixel-com

Normally, the nervous system requires and deserves the same attention as other parts of the human body. However, today, the nervous system is at the forefront of Ukrainians' health concerns. Frayed nerves are the root cause of everyday malaise. Constant stress that one cannot cope with affects mental health and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in the future. Is it possible to strengthen the nervous system and alleviate stress?

How do you know when the nervous system is sounding the alarm? The signs of nervous exhaustion vary for everyone, but there are several typical ones: sleep disturbances, daytime fatigue (drowsiness and lethargy), decreased concentration and memory, panic attacks, fluctuations in blood pressure, etc. Each of these symptoms warrants a visit to your family doctor or neurologist if it lasts more than a few days. Remember, the recovery of the nervous system is a lengthy process that requires significant effort on your part. How can you contribute to this personally?

Get enough sleep

Sleep is a logical continuation of daytime activity and vice versa. It's hard to imagine daytime productivity and good health without adequate sleep. Currently, many Ukrainians complain about so-called hypersensitive sleep, where we wake up (startle) at every noise. If this is a temporary phenomenon and after a few nights you return to normal sleep, your nervous system has restored its resources and is functioning correctly. If not, consult a specialist knowledgeable about circadian rhythms! Ideally, you should visit a somnologist, but in our country, this is almost unrealistic. Fortunately, both a family doctor and a neurologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist can help with sleep disorders. It would be wise to take an anxiety test, as it may be a contributing factor to sleep disorders. If insomnia is compounded by menstrual irregularities, women should inform their gynecologist and have their blood prolactin levels checked. In any case, with the guidance of your doctor, you can find ways to improve both the quality and duration of sleep (perhaps with the help of melatonin supplements or more intensive therapy). But sleep disorders should never be ignored!

What measures can be taken at home? The best approach is to normalize your work, rest, and sleep schedule. The idea of ​​abandoning gadgets 2 hours before bedtime is commendable, but unfortunately, it's almost unrealistic in our circumstances! We are constantly following the news, especially when an air alert is announced. Therefore, set your phone to night mode at the very least. Taking a walk in the fresh air before bedtime, evening yoga, reading a book, and a warm bath can also help. Alternating tension and relaxation of any muscles can also help (according to Jacobson's technique).

Eat right

Vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins and magnesium, can help support and restore the nervous system. It's no wonder that many popular pharmacy products contain this composition. However, you don't have to go to the pharmacy to buy pills - these nutrients are found in many foods.

Almonds, cashews, and peanuts are healthy snacks that also contain a lot of magnesium. They all contain 10 to 20% of the recommended daily value of the mineral. Most of the magnesium in vegetables comes from the soil and is a key element of chlorophyll (the pigment that gives plants their green color). Therefore, any leafy greens are one of the richest sources of the mineral. Pay attention to basil. It can be consumed raw, in the form of herbal tea, sauce, salad dressing, or you can use its essential oil for relaxing baths. Lentils and asparagus contain both magnesium and vitamin B. The same goes for bananas, prunes, dates, raisins, and figs.

Vitamin D is also extremely important. It maintains normal levels of serotonin (a hormone that affects mood and feelings). You can take it in supplement form and do not neglect walks.

Get rid of bad habits

Using a glass of wine or something stronger to relieve stress is now the norm in our country. If this occurs as an occasional indulgence, does not exceed the norm, and does not replace the need for antidepressants or other medications, your doctor may turn a blind eye. However, if you abuse alcohol regularly and still experience numerous symptoms and complaints, you should definitely speak candidly with your doctor. Many people fear that alcohol is categorically incompatible with treatment, but only a medical professional can determine if this is true in your specific case.

The situation with smoking is a bit more complex: people are well aware of the long-term negative consequences and carcinogenicity of cigarettes, but they find that smoking seems to calm them down and help them cope with stress. The problem is addiction, so it is difficult for someone with a smoking history to quit quickly. However, it should be explained that it is the tobacco tar released during cigarette combustion that is harmful, so this combustion should be avoided. At the initial stage of quitting this addiction, electric tobacco heating systems have proven to be a good starting point: many developed countries have included them in their harm reduction strategies and have seen a significant reduction in the number of smokers. Therefore, consult your doctor about such an alternative that allows you to retain the "calming ritual" at first.

Exercise your body

Incorporate sports into your life, and it will alleviate stress to some extent. Exercise should be moderate and enjoyable. A walk in the woods is often a healthier alternative to the gym. Choose muscle stretching exercises - increased nervous excitability and anxiety often make muscles feel tense. Swimming is excellent for this. Make sure to give yourself a break from exercise on days when you've had a sleepless night!

And don't forget to exercise your brain. Engage in activities that make your brain actively work for at least 10 minutes a day. Solve a crossword puzzle, tackle a math problem, play an intellectual game, or learn some new foreign words. This will promote brain flexibility, resilience, and improve memory.

Be kind to yourself

Perhaps the most important thing to remember right now is that we all live in a state of exhaustion and chronic stress. Therefore, each of us has the right to respond in our own way. Don't blame yourself if your body or brain isn't functioning as it did before. It's better to be a good friend to them: if you suddenly feel tired and drowsy during the workday, it's better to take a 15-20 minute nap and then continue working. If there was shelling overnight, and you spent it in the corridor, take a day off. Spend more time in nature: put on your favorite music, pop in your headphones, and go for a walk! Try meditation - it's a great way to relax and clear your mind. It's not that difficult. For a tired nervous system, simply lying down in shavasana will suffice.

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