INTERVIEW. “70% of French people suffer from it”: sleep specialist Vincent Attalin gives us keys to sleep better

INTERVIEW. “70% of French people suffer from it”: sleep specialist Vincent Attalin gives us keys to sleep better

Vincent Attalin is a nutrition and sleep specialist. DR – Tree E Saldana

More and more French people are sleeping poorly. The sleep and nutrition specialist, Vincent Attalin, based in Montpellier, explains the phenomenon to us and gives us advice for sleeping better. 

What are the risks of sleeping a little ?

In the short term the risk is drowsiness, with the risk of accidents and falling asleep at the wheel. There are also psychological risks: irritability, low morale or memory problems, immune disorders. In the medium term, it will affect diet and metabolism. When we don't sleep well, our appetite increases. In the long term, there is a risk of being overweight, then of sleep apnea, which increases the risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There is also a decrease in sperm synthesis.

What are the main sleep disorders encountered by your patients ?

Patients complain of insomnia. There are two types. Insomnia when falling asleep and staying asleep.

Does diet greatly affect sleep ?

In all lifestyle diseases we have four pillars: managing our emotions, diet, physical activity and sleep. There is no point in wanting to eat well if we are overwhelmed by our emotions, if we are sedentary during the day… Once the lifestyle is improved, we advise you to eat your fill. And we will try to avoid stimulants: alcohol, energy drinks, coffee… after 3 p.m. There are foods that could improve the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, rich in tryptophan. It is an amino acid found in eggs, nuts, almonds, dairy products, pulses, meats, fish, certain fruits such as bananas and especially chocolate.

How to practice physical activity to sleep better ?

It is absolutely necessary to have regular physical activity. The recommendations are 150 minutes of activity per week. We tend to advise doing it in the morning to cause melatonin secretion twelve hours later and promote the’ falling asleep. The more we do physical activity in the sun, the more it will have a beneficial impact.

What to think about over-the-counter sleep aids ?

The best melatonin is that which is secreted naturally by doing physical activity in the sun and seeing the dawn in the morning. Putting on your shoes and going for a five-minute walk when you wake up will be more effective than melatonin tablets. We will favor what is natural. I especially do not want to advertise this type of medication which is only useful in certain well-defined cases.

Also read: Tablets, sprays, herbal teas… should you be wary of over-the-counter sleep aids ?

And diverted antihistamines ?

Of course it's dangerous. When you need medicine, it’s not working. It is better to consult and find a good way to do things without medication. Find good sleep hygiene, adapt your lifestyle.

Our Prime Minister has the reputation of only sleeping 3-4 hours a night…

There are very short sleepers. You should not try to be inspired by it if it does not correspond to your metabolism and your lifestyle. Rest is something very important, we cannot become robots. It’s very harmful to your health. Not to mention the excessive consumption of certain stimulants to work more. People take stimulants to become robots and be good collaborators. But the body needs a certain amount of sleep and above all we must not tend towards the hyper exploitation of humans.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)