Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa a former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, addressing participants in the Graphic National Development Series in Accra. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa a former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, addressing participants in the Graphic National Development Series in Accra. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
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Sleep enough to stay healthy: Prof. Akosa tells Ghanaians

A former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, has stressed the need to have enough sleep as a necessity for staying healthy.

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 He explained that rather than considering sleep as a dull moment, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology had established that the mind became most active during sleep.

“That is when it packs all the information that you gathered during the day. If you sleep well, it packs well. This way, when you get up in the morning, you can remember.” 

Stressing that enough sleep meant eight hours of deep sleep and having dreams, he explained that if one was not dreaming, it meant they were not sleeping well.

He mentioned this, among other healthy habits he wanted Ghanaians to adopt, at the Graphic National Development Series in Accra last Tuesday. 

Organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), the series, the first in 2024, was on the theme: “Quality health for all”, with Prof. Akosa as one of the two speakers at the programme. 

The renowned pathologist, whose presentation was on the theme: “Acting to prevent rather than cure diseases — The way to sustainable health”, said people had suffered from hypertension because of poor sleep. 

Good sleep tips

He gave tips on having a good sleep, including getting the room to the right temperature when using an air conditioner, switching off the air conditioner once the room temperature was conducive or lowering a fan so that it did not make noise while one was sleeping.

He said having the television on while sleeping could only give shallow rather than deep sleep.

Prof. Akosa said the consumption of vegetable oils increased the cholesterol level in humans, explaining further that those kinds of oils contained polyunsaturated fats that could cause problems, including high cholesterol.

He, therefore, urged the public to consume local traditional oils such as coconut, palm kernel, shea butter and palm, describing them as the best.

Vegetable oils, he said, referred to those produced by industry such as corn oil, sunflower, canola and rape seed.

The foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Prof. Fred Binka, stressed the need for all to support governments to provide the country with facilities that would adequately cater for the sick.

Trivia

Functional MRI (fMRI) can study brain activity during sleep and wakefulness. 

fMRI measures changes in blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, allowing researchers to map brain activity patterns during different stages of sleep and wakefulness.

Some studies have used fMRI to investigate changes in brain activity during sleep in various populations such as individuals with sleep disorders or neurological conditions. 

These studies aim to understand better the neural mechanisms underlying sleep and its regulation.

Managing sleep disorders 

Addressing sleep disorders requires a comprehensive approach that incorporates lifestyle changes, behavioural interventions and professional medical help when necessary. 

Here are some steps to help address sleep disorders generated with the assistance of Meta AI:

Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.

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Create a sleep-conducive environment: Make your bedroom dark, quiet and cool and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Develop a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in calming activities such as reading, meditation or deep breathing exercises before bed.

Limit exposure to screens before bed: Avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime.

Avoid stimulants and sedatives: Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake, and avoid using sedatives or sleeping pills.

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Get regular exercise: Engage in physical activity during the day to promote better sleep.

Manage stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, tai chi or cognitive-behavioural therapy.

Seek professional help: Consult a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist if sleep problems persist.

Background

The National Development Dialogue Series has been created to be the go-to platform for both citizens and ‘netizens’ who have relevant contributions to make to influence national policy to do so without the fear of being tied to a political party.

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The Managing Director of the GCGL, Ato Afful, said the nation had been denied the benefits of holding balanced, informed ideas for national consensus, especially as people who did not want to be politically tied abstained from the discourse.

A representative of the Minister of Health, Dr Wisdom A. Tiwoto, commended the GCGL for leading the discussion on the issue of quality healthcare.

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