Как спать и высыпаться?

What problems with sleep testify to? How to overcome them?


Елена Терещенко,

Михаил Кукин


Роман Торговицький,

Валерій Ільчук

Как спать и высыпаться?
Как спать и высыпаться?


The guests of the broadcast are Dr Roman Torhovytsky, a graduate of Harvard University, the author of the SomaSystem treatment system, the founder of the «Sertse voyina» (Warrior’s Heart) charity organization, and Valery Ilchuk, veteran volunteer of the 5th DUK Battalion. . 

Mykhailo Kukin: I am a very clearly manifested «owl». Even if I have to get up at 7 in the morning, I cannot sleep before 2 a.m. Is this a pathology?

Roman Torhovytsky: From a scientific viewpoint, there are people who have  become socially used to go to bed late, and there are also people who are genetically predisposed to this. It is known that the manifestation of some genes changes duration of some bio-rhythms. Usually, it is a tiny bit more than 24 hours. It often happens that it is more than 25 hours. Then we have the situation when people go to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. 

The Sun has a capability of changing the phase of our inner clock.  

Mykhailo Kukin: When I get to the sea, I very remarkably wake up at 7 a.m. and go to sleep at 11 p.m. 

Roman Torhovytsky: This is one of the examples which may show that this is social, not genetic. 

Sometimes there is a pathology when people fall asleep at 4 or 5 a.m. There is one such illness but most of the people have it all normal. 

Olena Tereshchenko: What is a healthy sleep? If a person feels well, do they sleep healthily?

Roman Torhovytsky: If a person wakes up and feels well, there’s an urge to say that the sleep was good. But as we get older, the quality of our sleep often becomes worse. We don’t notice this. In order to optimize sleep you have to go to bed at approximately the same time, and the room should be quiet and absolutely dark. You have to prepare yourself to sleep. Many problems with sleep are connected to hyperactivity of the nervous system. You should not watch television until it ends. Find half an hour to get your nervous system ready. You have to squeeze pain and pressures out of your body. 

99 percent of people have no illnesses but small problems with health amass during life activities. 

Mykhailo Kukin: Our editors who prepared this broadcast tried to poll our audience. Only 11 percent go to sleep before 10 p.m. 22 percent go to sleep between 10 p.m. and midnight, and two-thirds go to sleep after midnight. 

Roman Torhovytsky: Our sleep consists of cycles lasting approximately 90 minutes. There are two main phases of sleep: slow and fast. It is very important for a person to get slow sleep. 

When sleep begins, the proportion of slow sleep is higher. If we go to sleep after midnight but feel that we should go to sleep at 10 p.m., we will get less of slow deep sleep. 

Mykhailo Kukin: But what if you feel that it is good for you to go to bed at 2 a.m.?

Roman Torhovytsky: This may mean that your inner biological clock is set to going to bed at two. 

Mykhailo Kukin: Is there a norm of sleep’s duration?

Roman Torhovytsky: Children should be allowed to sleep more. If they don’t get enough sleep they have more difficulties learning. 7-8 hours is considered an average norm. However, there are essential genetic differences between people.  

Olena Tereshchenko: Is it true that you can get too much sleep?

Mykhailo Kukin: If I oversleep, my head is aching.

Roman Torhovytsky: Yes, There is such a thing.

People who sleep significantly more have more illnesses but this is not a cause-and-consequence connection. 

Mykhailo Kukin: Is it important where we sleep and in which position? 

Roman Torhovytsky: It should be quiet, and there should be total darkness. 

Olena Tereshchenko: For a long time, in England, it was considered improper in the proper society that husband and wife sleep in one bed. The choice was to have two different rooms. Does this have a significance?  

Roman Torhovytsky: There are several factors, one of them being biomechanical..If your partner snores constantly, moves, beats you with a hand, this will be pushing you out of sleep. Also, there is emotional factor. 

Mykhaillo Kukin: Valery, does the quality of sleep depend on this? 

Valery Ilchuk: Of course it does. People are more likely to get enough sleep when they sleep alone. This also depends on a bed, on emotional state, illnesses. Internet and television are an important factor. 

Olena Tereshchenko: In addition, we have the factor of combat. 

Valery Ilchuk: War is a social factor. Even if it is not there in a specific town, it is there: people come back from war, and there are people whose relatives are at war. 

Mykhailo Kukin: Have you had problems with sleep?

Valery Ilchuk: Not strong. If I had some, I tried to cope with them. When we were conducting trainings, many of the guys complained about their sleep. Often they say that they slept at war but can’t sleep here. It’s most scary when there’s silence. The level of worry is heightened because the nervous system readjusted itself to face combat.

Mykhailo Kukin: We asked our listeners about their problems. 11 percent said insomnia. 22 percent have difficulties falling asleep. And for a much bigger number, it is difficult to wake up. Since war began, to which extent problems with sleep became more wide-spread?

Roman Torhovytsky: I don’t have data on Ukraine. I know that in America sleep issues became more topical within the last 20-25 years. In America, people don’t get enough sleep because of the rising stress level. Many people work at night which seriously affects their health, weight, diabetes in a negative way. 

I want to draw attention to alarming dreams. This very often happens to guys and girls who come back from war. During one of the stages of sleep the intellectual part of our brain switches off. At that moment, the part of the brain responsible for emotions starts to work at 150 percent. There is nothing to suppress it. 

In order to work through the problems of horrors, you have to work through emotions. Guys have complicated war stories. If those stories were not worked through completely, they enter dreams. We work on it in «Sertse voyina». 

This is a very wide-spread problem: to fall asleep, to retain good-quality sleep, to get enough sleep. There are also wide-spread problems with breathing, when a person would stop breathing during sleep. The best thing is to consult a doctor and undergo tests. 

I am not a doctor in sleep medicine. I did research in sleep medicine. I had an experience of shock trauma of my own as a result of which I lost my ability to fall asleep. 

This was combat, murder threats, punishment threats. This was in the Middle East. 

It is possible to improve sleep through working with your body. I developed a technique allowing a person to improve their sleep on their own. In this way, I solved problems with my sleep within a month. Before this, insomnia had been torturing me for a year and a half. 

You can’t teach how to do this on radio. But I think everyone is familiar with the simplest massage of shoulders and neck. 15-20 minutes of massage before you sleep is useful. 

Olena Tereshchenko: How far have we gone from the «cave» idea of sleep? 

Valery Ilchuk: I’d rather not use the phrase «cave ideas of sleep». There is physiological sleep, and non-physiological. Day schedule and emotional hygiene are the guarantee of healthy sleep. When you shed off «the load» a bit you sleep wonderfully. Massage of the neck-and-collar zone which becomes tense when we are nervous helps to sleep better. 

Mykhailo Kukin: Hromadske Radio’s correspondent Kateryna Kader will acquaint us with a soldier who used to have sleep problems.


 I Often See A Dream About How I Am Blasted By A Landmine: ATO Veteran

What sleep disorders are linked to and how to set things right? 

Volodymyr Voropay, a military serviceman and an ATO veteran, told us why he can’t sleep at night. 

In October 2015 Hromadske Radio had told (розповідало) Volodymyr’s story. At that time, he was being treated at the Kharkiv Prosthetics Institute after being gravely wounded.  

«There are two types of sleep disorders. First: I suddenly awake in the night and can’t go back to sleep until morning. Why? I don’t know. Second: I begin to remember what was happening in the ATO. I remember how I was blasted by a landmine. Seep goes away, I don’t sleep anymore.» 

According to Volodymyr, it is not often that he sees scary dreams, he just can’t fall asleep. In his thoughts, he is modelling situations and analyzing his experience. 

«You start to think what would be the best way to act. I talked to different people. I was advised to take medicine but I learned that you can become addicted to them. This is why I had not taken this road. I tried to use various psychological methods, as I was advised.» 

In Kharkiv, Volodymyr underwent a course of cryotherapy. A person is put into a special room with the temperature of -70C for 3-4 minutes. Volodymyr says that after this pain went away and sleep became normal. However, recently the pain came back, and sleep disorders began. 

«After the cryotherapy course there were changes for the better, I got rid of the pain, and my sleep became normal. But now I am on active duty and I don’t have such a possibility. The pain is back, though not so strong and frequent.» 

Volodymyr Voropay says most often sleep disorder happens after experiencing a physical load. 

«My physical loads are big because I go in for sports. Once, there was a sleep disorder on the eve of competitions.» 


Valery Ilchuk: If there are pain symptoms you have to work with it. For a certain stage, his body resource went up, he was able to sleep. The body got a powerful stress by way of cryotherapy. After some period of time the body forgets about this stress. This is not curing, this is helping. The reason was not entirely removed. 

You need a qualified psychotherapy, to make it so that his pain decreases. 

The modern-day sleep problems also emerge because of insufficient physical loads. 

Mykhailo Kukin: We have a phone call from Kiev.

Andriy: A very good method is praying to God before sleep. He removes all the problems from you.  

Roman Torhovytsky: When a person comes back from war, changes happen in the entire body. If a person who came back from war goes to a specialist, to a psychologist, for instance, they help restore family relatioins a bit. But if there is pain, a psychologist won’t help. The person will interact with the family with a hyperactivized nervous system. If a person goes for cryotherapy, psychological moments remain. There’s a need for systematic work. 

There is research data showing usefulness of prayers. It has several active «ingredients». One of those is focus and attention. People do not think about their preoccupations, they think about something specific. They get a feeling of a link to something superior. For believers, this creates a sense of security.  

Olena Tereshchenko: A prayer can be a part of a calming ritual for a religious person. 

Roman Torhovytsky: Yes. It creates a sense of foundation and security. 

Olena Tereshchenko: Can developing an individual ritual be considered your personal recipe? 

Valery Ilchuk: We all have rituals of our own. This both distracts and calms down. If I do things correctly, I am calm, and this is why I sleep well. 

Mykhailo Kukin: What universal recommendations are there? 

Roman Torhovytsky: I’d recommend to ask yourself: «How can I ease up my nervous system?» For some it may be useful to walk before sleep. 

Valery Ilchuk: There may be physical illnesses hampering your sleep, so you need to consult a physician. I’d also add breathing exercises prior to sleep.  

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This material has been produced with the generous support of the International Medical Corps and JSI Research & Training Institute, INC. through a grant by United States Agency for International Development. The views and opinions expressed herein shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the views or opinions of all the mentioned organizations.