8 Common Myths and Facts About Sleep

You may have heard or experienced some of the common myths about sleep. Some may mislead you with incorrect information while others can lead to serious and dangerous situations.

Misconceptions about what constitutes good sleep hygiene may contribute even increase your likelihood of experiencing sleep deprivation. Sleeping poorly at night doesn’t just mean you only become grumpy the next morning, in the short term it can reduce your performance levels at work or school, and in the long term may cause serious health problems like heart disease.

We all think we know a lot about sleep since we do it a lot, but how much of what you know is really true and how much of it is just rumors or misinformation? Here’s a list of some of the most common myths about sleep…

1. As You Grow Older You Need Less Sleep

The fact is your sleeping needs don’t necessarily change with your age. An average adult should still sleep 7-9 hours regardless of age. While your sleeping patterns may change as you grow older, the amount of sleep you need doesn’t change. Just because older people tend to wake up more frequently during the night and often early in the morning, meaning they sleep less, it doesn’t mean they need to sleep less than younger people. And because they didn’t get enough sleep during the night they, older folks tend to take naps during the day. Medication, body pains, and other underlying conditions may be making it hard for you to sleep.

2. Sleeping on Your Stomach is Bad for You

Many people think that sleeping on your stomach is the cause of facial wrinkles because of the pressure your pillow applies to your face. Others feel neck pains are inevitable because of the unusual angle you put your head when sleeping. The ideal sleeping position in in fact on your side. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t ideal. Most of the snoring and sleep apnea is caused by sleeping on your back. The best solution for you if you have a problem with snoring is sleeping on your side on a medium firm, comfortable loft bed that will provide support to your pressure points.

3. Consuming Alcohol Will Make You Sleep Better at Night

You will find some people fall asleep faster when they drink but since alcohol is a depressant, in the long run, the quality of your sleep will become poor. This is because when your body metabolizes alcohol it interferes with protein channels in your brain that regulates your sleeping cycle preventing you from having deep sleep. Alcohol has natural sedative properties that cause you to fall asleep faster, but your sleep is lighter and you keep waking up frequently. 

4. You Require 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

The amount of sleep you require every night is different from person to person, although, most people sleep from 7-9 hours. However, this will all depend on your age, gender, and what you do during the day. If you sleep less than 5 hours every night, you’re more susceptible to getting stressed and being depressed, and if you sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours, you increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome.

Instead of being fixated on sleeping 8 hours, why not figure out how much sleep you need every night? That will allow you to wake up the next morning feeling well rested. You can start with sleeping 7 hours for a while to see if that’s the amount of time you need, and if not, you can keep adding some minutes until you get your magic sleep number.

5. It’s Not a Good Idea to Wake Up a Sleepwalker

Many of us may have heard that you should never wake a sleepwalker. Well, this is not true. Although it’s not always easy to wake up a sleepwalker, it’s harmless. For some people, sleepwalking is a big concern and it can put them in real danger. Some people don’t just walk in their sleep, they can leave the house and go driving or climbing things, while others may just eat uncontrollably. If you’re scared of giving a sleepwalker a heart attack, don’t be, you should be more concerned about the danger they’re putting themselves into when in their unconscious state. You can gently wake the sleepwalker, they will be a little bit startled but they will be fine.

6. You Can Catch Up on Missed Sleep During the Weekends

You might feel more rested after sleeping for more hours during the weekend, but that feeling is only temporary. After the long sleep, you will feel refreshed and busting with energy to face the day, but this feeling will only last 6 or more hours before your reaction time will become much slower than normal. Trying to pay your sleep debt is not only impossible but it can make things worse in the long run and it can lead to problems like obesity, high blood pressure, decreased productivity, negative moods, etc.

7. Exercising Before Bed Will Wear You Out and Help You Sleep Faster

When you exercise, you awaken endorphins that stimulate your body, so after a 30-minute workout, you will be very much awake. You might feel both physically and mentally tired but it will be hard to fall asleep directly following a workout. The best time to exercise would be early in the morning to get you energized for the day or in the afternoon if you feel you need a boost to get you through the remainder of the day. If you over exercise or exercise too close to your bedtime, it will make it harder for you to fall asleep. 

8. Although It’s Very Annoying, Snoring Isn’t Normally a Big Deal

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea which is a condition where you stop breathing while in your sleep. Chronic loud snoring is caused by a blocked airway or you could snore because of a cold or allergies which make your nose stuffy or blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have very fatal outcomes considering you might stop breathing for more than one minute. It’s best to see a doctor to try and find a solution.

The Bottom Line

Now that you are aware of some common myths and facts about sleep, you can cultivate healthier sleeping habits which will help improve your health. Lack of enough sleep can weaken your immune system and cause serious health issues so be wiser and sleep better.

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