How to Fall Asleep How to Fall Asleep
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“Sleeping Staś”, Stanisław Wyspiański, 1904, National Museum in Poznań
Wellbeing, Science

How to Fall Asleep

An Interview with Adam Wichniak
Aleksandra Pezda
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time 13 minutes

How can we fall asleep quickly, sleep well, and wake up rested? Adam Wichniak, a psychiatrist from the Sleep Disorders Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, talks to Aleksandra Pezda about how to cope with sleep problems.

Aleksandra Pezda: It’s late at night. I’ve already watched the eighth season of Homeland, scrolled through my Instagram and Facebook newsfeed, and I still can’t fall asleep.

Adam Wichniak: None of these behaviours helps you fall asleep. On the contrary, each makes it even more difficult, exacerbating your sleep problems. If you’re already in bed, but decide to check email on your smartphone or watch TV, you aren’t ready to sleep. But we will discuss this later.

You might find some consolation in the fact that you are not alone. Every second Polish adult experiences some sleep problems for at least a few weeks throughout the year, whereas every fourth feels the effect of insufficient sleep during the day. There are various types of sleep disturbances, though. One might have difficulty falling asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, or wake up too early and struggle to get back to sleep. Each problem has its own consequences such as irritability, lowered cognitive performance or focus; to put it simply, thinking problems. This can happen even after one sleepless night. After a few months of not getting enough sleep, the complications might become more serious and include high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, menstrual disorder, or the loss of libido. If any of these problems are observed, you should seek medical help.

What does it mean to have insomnia?

Insomnia – understood as a mental disorder – can be diagnosed only when a person experiences the above symptoms both at night and during the day for a prolonged time, which is now thought to be over three months. However, insomnia is rarely an isolated illness. In most cases, sleep disturbances result from

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Dream Travellers Dream Travellers
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Daniel Mróz – drawing from the archives (no. 521–522/1955)
Wellbeing, Science

Dream Travellers

An Introduction to Lucid Dreaming
Tomasz Wiśniewski

While lucid dreaming, we can influence what we dream of – and thus make our deepest fantasies come true. Some experience this state spontaneously, while others specifically practice it.

What is lucid dreaming all about? It is a state in which we experience a dream without losing access to our memory, will, and the other intellectual capacities we know in wakefulness. Additionally, the dream’s quality is, as it were, improved: colours are more intense, we perceive images and sounds more clearly. Most interestingly, however – and most temptingly – the dreamer is able to influence the content of the dream almost freely. This is accompanied by strong emotions, including euphoria (which sometimes makes people wake up).

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