By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Sleeping for less than eight hours a day puts you at risk of developing physical and mental ill-health—experts have warned women to pay closer attention to their overall health, says they are the most vulnerable to mental health issues
As the world celebrates 2022 World Health Day with the theme; “our planet, Our health”, Development Communications Network has called on women and public health stakeholders to pay special attention to physical and mental health discussions/interventions especially as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
This call was made to create awareness and enlighten women to the importance of paying attention not just to their physical health but also their mental health due to the far too many challenges faced by women.
According to Ms Titi Tade, a medical social worker at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, people often mix up mental health with mental illness.
“It is the ability for you to be a productive member of the society, function at the best of your own potential, being able to manage daily stressors in life and to feel a sense of belonging within a network.
“Mental health is not same as mental illness because when you talk about physical health, you are not referring to physical illness but how to be healthy.
“So also mental health is just about ensuring that you are mentally healthy, while mental illness simple refers to when a person has an illness of the mind,” Titi emphasized.
Titi quoted that studies have shown that people with big social networks, who talk to people and are friendly, tend to do better.
“It could be a religious network or social group. Exercise is important, your nutrition is important. Resting is also important because we do not rest enough in this part of the world.
” In Nigeria, resting to us means going to a party but it actually means taking time out to relax away from activities, getting enough sleep, which most Nigerians find difficult because some can barely sleep 4 to 5 hours a day, but we are asked to sleep for 8 hours.
She said that It is important for people to know the shortcomings of not sleeping up to eight hours in a day.
“if you are sleeping for three hours a night instead of 8 hours, then you are setting yourself up for mental and physical ill-health because there is no shortcut to.
“We need to be more aware and conscious of the implication of the things we are doing wrong so we can adjust,” she advised.
Also, Development Communications’ Network’s Programme Officer, Omobonike Adebayo added that there are still some myths, misconception and stigma surrounding women which need to be broken.
“The struggles of being a woman in a society where women are underappreciated and stigmatized cannot be given proper description and has to be properly tackled,” she submitted.
Omobonike advised women on the importance of self-care which includes staying aware of mental health and acknowledging the need to be mentally healthy, need to look after self the same way you do your physical health because, “the earlier some issues are addressed, the easier it becomes to help somebody from falling into depression”.