There are a whole lot of sleep myths on the market— what number of of them have you ever heard? It’s no shock that sleep myths persist, even in a society that’s extra fascinated with sleep well being and has extra entry to sleep data than ever earlier than.
At present we all know an excellent deal about how sleep works, the advantages and protections it delivers for bodily, psychological, and emotional well being, and the issues that happen once we don’t get sufficient. However we’re removed from figuring out every part there may be to know on the subject.
Right here’s why this issues— false beliefs or misinformation about sleep can do actual hurt to your well being and well-being. One large a part of my mission is to right the sleep misconceptions on the market, so everybody can sleep higher and extra efficiently handle sleep.
So let’s check out some frequent sleep myths, and why they’re false to allow them to be put to relaxation as soon as and for all.
10 Widespread Sleep Myths Debunked
Whereas some sleep myths are literally true, most have restricted or questionable proof, or are blatantly unfaithful. That is why it’s so essential to clear up these misconceptions. Listed below are 10 frequent, however unfaithful, sleep myths that I hear about so much.
1. It’s Attainable to Operate Nicely on 5 Hours of Sleep or Much less
So many individuals need this one to be true— sadly, it simply isn’t.
Between work, college, household, et cetera, everybody leads a busy life. Some individuals take into consideration sleep as one thing that stands in the best way of productiveness, or could even brag about how a lot they will accomplish on minimal sleep. A great night time’s sleep shouldn’t be thought of as an choice, a luxurious, or an inconvenience. A full night time of wholesome sleep is vital to your well being, and missed sleep can have numerous undesirable results in your productiveness, bodily and psychological well being, and your total well-being.
If you don’t get the standard sleep you want, you’re extra prone to be extra obese, sicker, extra forgetful, and fewer in a position to study. Your relationships can even undergo, as poor sleep could make you much less loving in relationships and fewer fascinated with intercourse and intimacy. Your dangers for ailments like coronary heart illness, most cancers, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s all go up whenever you’re constantly sleep-deprived.
To forestall this, the most effective factor you are able to do for your self is to try to get a full night time’s sleep, which means 7-9 hours of excellent sleep per night time.
2. Extra Sleep is Higher
On the opposite facet of the coin, you’ve gotten the parable that 9 hours of sleep or extra per night time is finest. That is additionally unfaithful.
Hypersomnia, or sleeping an excessive amount of, may be simply as dangerous for you as insomnia, or not sleeping sufficient. The truth is, sleeping an excessive amount of is linked to lots of the identical well being issues as not getting sufficient sleep, together with:
- Heart problems
- Weight problems
- Cognitive impairment
Should you discover that you simply’re constantly sleeping for 9 or extra hours per night time and nonetheless don’t really feel rested within the morning, you might be oversleeping and could also be affected by an underlying sleep problem.
3. Loud Loud night breathing is Regular
Everybody snores each every now and then, however loud, frequent loud night breathing is not regular.
Loud loud night breathing is a typical symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep problem that could be accompanied by critical well being dangers if left untreated. Loud loud night breathing is just one symptom of obstructive sleep apnea— others embrace:
- Gasping, choking, snorting sounds throughout sleep
- Observable episodes of lapses in respiration, most frequently by sleep companions
- Elevated must urinate in the course of the night time
- Complications, dry mouth, and sore throat within the morning
- Bother concentrating in the course of the day
- Extreme daytime sleepiness
Should you or your sleep associate expertise any of those signs together with loud loud night breathing, it’s best to seek the advice of your physician or a sleep specialist as quickly as potential. Sleep issues don’t go away on their very own, and you have to search remedy if you wish to sleep higher.
Do you snore, however aren’t certain if it’s due to a sleep problem? Take a look at my article on the way to cease loud night breathing.
4. Consuming Alcohol or Consuming Hashish Earlier than Bedtime Helps Sleep
Alcohol and hashish are the 2 mostly used sleep aids on the planet. Nonetheless, each can have unfavourable results in your sleep, well being, and temper when used improperly or in extra.
Regardless of alcohol’s sedative results, well being consultants discourage its use as a sleep assist due to the way it can negatively affect your sleep high quality. Sleep issues are frequent with those that rely on alcohol to sleep, and alcohol use has been related to issues like insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm abnormalities.
Hashish, alternatively, is receiving extra analysis for its advantages on bodily well being, psychological well being, and sleep well being. Nonetheless, solely sure strains of hashish could profit your sleep— Indica strains are most frequently used to deal with sleep issues, whereas Sativa strains could also be used as a stimulant.
Hashish can also suppress REM sleep, and extreme use of hashish can scale back its effectiveness. Not solely that, however hashish withdrawal could cause extra sleep points for those who cease utilizing it as a sleep assist.
Similar to with any sleep assist or remedy, be sure you seek the advice of your physician earlier than utilizing hashish.
5. If You Have a Arduous Time Falling Asleep, Keep in Mattress
Should you can’t sleep and also you’ve tried tips like counting sheep or counting backwards from one-hundred by 3’s, staying in mattress is definitely the worst factor you are able to do. It is because you might unintentionally join your mattress with frustration and sleep loss.
As a substitute, attempt getting off the bed and doing one thing enjoyable in low mild. The aim is to take your thoughts off sleep for a couple of minutes to assist encourage fast and straightforward sleep onset whenever you return to mattress.
A couple of issues you may attempt embrace:
- Writing your ideas in a journal
- Strolling slowly and quietly, so that you don’t disturb anybody else’s sleep
- Mild stretching
6. Older Folks Want Much less Sleep
It’s a typical notion that you simply want much less sleep with age. Nonetheless, I’ve written an complete article about how this delusion is fake.
Sleep wants change as you develop from a baby into an grownup. That particular person want doesn’t change considerably as you method or go the age of 55. It’s possible you’ll get much less sleep in center age or older maturity, however that doesn’t imply you want much less sleep.
Nonetheless, as you become older, sleep issues together with issues like insomnia and sleep apnea, are likely to turn into extra frequent. Older adults typically expertise sleep issues similar to:
- Problem falling asleep or staying asleep
- Waking too early every morning
- Unrefreshing or poor high quality sleep
What’s behind these age-related sleep issues? Your circadian rhythm step by step weakens as you age, which contributes to a much less strong and extra inconsistent sleep cycle. Older adults could sleep much less in the course of the night time, and must nap in the course of the day to get satisfactory sleep. Different well being circumstances— in addition to drugs used to deal with them— can also intrude together with your sleep well being as you get older.
7. You Can Make up Any Misplaced Sleep on the Weekends
That is one other one that’s merely unfaithful.
Many individuals construct a sleep debt— a rising deficit between the sleep you want and the quantity you really get— in the course of the week. It’s a typical technique to make use of the weekend to make up for this misplaced sleep. Weekend restoration sleep does assist, nevertheless it gained’t absolutely erase the unfavourable results of dropping sleep in the course of the week. Give it some thought— for those who’re sleeping 5.5 hours an evening in the course of the workweek and you actually need 7 hours, by Friday you’re quick a whole night time of sleep.
Even for those who compensate for misplaced sleep over the weekend, it nonetheless gained’t utterly restore consideration, focus, and different measurements of cognitive efficiency. Consider it like understanding. Should you don’t exercise for a month, doing a weekend exercise, whereas helpful, doesn’t erase the lack of the profit train over time. With sleep, like train, consistency of effort is vital.
Should you’re attempting to scale back sleep debt, some restoration sleep on weekends might help. Use weekend catch-up sleep moderately, staying inside 60 minutes of your common bedtime and wake time so that you don’t throw off your regular sleep schedule.
A very powerful factor to recollect is to try to get your required sleep in the course of the week so that you simply don’t must make it up in any respect.
8. Turkey and Heat Milk Will Make You Sleepy
That is an fascinating delusion as a result of whereas components of it are based mostly in actual fact, it’s nonetheless not one hundred pc true.
Let me be clear although— turkey gained’t make you sleepy, and neither will a glass of heat milk. The amino acid tryptophan is cited as the rationale for these meals’ alleged sleep-inducing powers. Tryptophan performs a significant position in sleep— it helps the mind to supply extra serotonin and melatonin, two hormones which can be key to wholesome and sound sleep.
Nonetheless, the tryptophan you ingest in a serving of Thanksgiving turkey or a steaming cup of sizzling milk doesn’t act as a sedative as a result of you aren’t getting sufficient of the tryptophan to have a notable impact in your sleep.
Tryptophan-rich meals do have an essential place in a sleep-supporting weight-reduction plan although. Turkey is just one kind of tryptophan-rich meat— pink meat, different poultry, and fish are additionally wealthy in tryptophan. And milk actually isn’t the one dairy product that’s excessive in tryptophan— cheese and yogurt are additionally. Nuts and seeds, darkish greens, and eggs are additionally nice sources of dietary tryptophan.
9. Hitting the Snooze Button Helps Your Sleep
Should you didn’t sleep properly in the course of the night time, the very last thing you wish to do is preserve hitting the snooze button within the morning.
Any further sleep you get in between alarms is fragmented and poor high quality— you want deep sleep to really feel rested within the morning, and also you simply can’t get that from hitting the snooze button within the morning. To not point out, lingering in mattress for too lengthy can lengthen sleep inertia, or that feeling whenever you really feel drowsy, sluggish, and simply wish to return to sleep within the morning.
As a substitute, it’s essential to rise together with your morning alarm— whether or not you are feeling rested or not— so you may scale back sleep inertia and be extra able to take in your day.
10. Lengthy Naps are Greatest for Sleep
A great nap might help you perk up for those who really feel your self lagging in the course of the afternoon. Nonetheless, it’s essential to not nap for too lengthy. A quick nap might help you are feeling extra alert and fewer confused afterwards, however emphasis on the quick half. The aim of the nap ought to be to revive power and focus for the remainder of the day. After I nap, I exploit Napjitsu together with a 30 minute napping session.
Napping for too lengthy or too late within the day can throw off your sleep schedule, making it more durable so that you can go to sleep at your regular bedtime. To not point out, waking up after an extended nap could make you are feeling disoriented and hazy, which is the alternative of how it’s best to really feel after a nap!
Don’t Lose Sleep Over These Myths
We all know way more about sleep now than we did even just a few years in the past. However regardless of all this new data and what we nonetheless proceed to study, misunderstandings nonetheless exist. Misunderstandings about how sleep works are extra than simply “oops” moments although— they will hinder your means to get your finest, most refreshing and restorative sleep. At worst, they will do actual hurt.
Nonetheless, it’s at all times potential to right and study from misunderstandings so that you simply don’t repeat the identical errors sooner or later. I hope that I’ve cleared up these sleep myths for you in an effort to get the deep sleep you should really feel your finest every day.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, FAASM
The Sleep Physician