How much do you know about sleep? If you believe any of these myths, you might not be taking care of yourself properly. Read on to learn how to develop healthy sleep habits and feel well-rested in the morning.
Adults Only Need 5 Hours of Sleep
This is completely false. It’s also a myth to think that you can adapt to less sleep. Sure, you might be able to function with only a few hours of sleep, but it’s not good for you. Get at least 8 hours of sleep for higher energy levels and better brain function.
Loud Snoring Is Harmless
Snoring is actually a sign that something is wrong with the sleeper’s breathing. There might be something blocking their throat, or they might have a serious case of sleep apnea. Nudge the snorer to get them to change their position. If the snoring continues, see a doctor.
Watching TV Before Bed Will Help You Relax
If you love watching TV before bed, no one is going to stop you. But the bright blue light from the screen might prevent your brain from relaxing, causing you to lie in bed for hours before you finally start to slumber.
Alcohol Is a Good Sleep Aid
Drinking before bed might help you fall asleep, but the sleep that you have won’t be very restful. Alcohol disrupts your REM sleep and can drastically impact your energy levels the next morning.
Boredom Makes You Tired
Boredom doesn’t make you tired. If you get tired when you’re bored, it’s actually a sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis. A well-rested person might yawn in a meeting, but an underslept person will suddenly find themselves dreaming about their pillow.
Resting Is the Same as Sleeping
When you sleep, your brain enters a special state of regeneration. Sleeping is a three-stage process that takes about an hour and a half. After one cycle happens, you wake up for just a moment, and then a new cycle begins. If the cycles are disrupted, you won’t feel nearly as rested the next day.
This means that, if you feel like you aren’t sleeping, you’re probably awake. Resting with your eyes closed won’t do anything to help your body regenerate. If you can’t fall asleep, doctors recommend that you get out of bed for a few minutes and try again when you’re tired.
You Can Sleep at Any Type of Day
The circadian rhythm is a natural cycle that your body likes to follow. In an ideal world, you sleep at night and wake up in the morning.
Humans have the ability to go against this natural cycle, but it’s not good for you. Sleeping in the daytime can increase your chance of heart disease and other health problems later in life. After you’ve finished the task that required you to sleep odd hours, try switching back to a normal and healthy schedule.
You’ll Feel Better After 5 More Minutes
If you’re a snooze-button hitter, you should stop. The sleep you get after waking up isn’t part of the regenerative cycle and won’t have any impact on your body. Instead, set your alarm for the latest possible time so that you can get the most REM sleep.
Eating or Exercising Before Bed Causes Nightmares
No studies have been able to prove that what you do before bed actually impacts your dreams. If your body is uncomfortable, you might have nightmares, but you also might sleep completely soundly.
Most doctors recommend that you try to relax in the hour before bedtime. Don’t exercise vigorously, and drink water instead of having a snack. This will convince your body that the time for activity has ended and that it’s safe to shut down.
You Can Catch Up on Sleep by Sleeping In
When you have to get up early all week, you might really look forward to sleeping late on the weekends. Unfortunately, changing the time that you wake up will actually influence your circadian rhythm. You’ll have a hard time falling asleep the next night; by the time Monday rolls around, you might feel seriously jetlagged.
If you really need extra sleep, take a nap instead. This won’t impact your rhythm, and it will make you feel significantly better for the rest of the day.