How many times have you told yourself you would catch up on sleep on the weekend? Well, here’s news for you. There are several myths about sleeping that most of us believe to be facts. While some of these are harmless, some myths can be dangerous if believed. These are some of the most common myths.
1. You Can “Make Up” For Lost Sleep
No, you can’t make up for lost sleep. It just doesn’t happen. Studies have shown that even though one night of solid sleep can bring your performance back to normal levels, the normal level will last for only about 6 hours after waking up. You will find that later in the day, your reaction times become much slower. The bottom line is that lost sleep cannot be recouped.1
2. Stay In Bed Even When You Aren’t Sleepy
No, you can’t just lay in bed for hours, waiting for slumber to happen. If you find yourself unable to sleep even after lying in bed for a long while, it’s better to just get out of bed. Sounds counter-intuitive? Bear with us. Sleep experts suggest getting out of bed and trying some relaxation techniques like listening to soothing music, meditation, and deep breathing to get your mind to settle. The problem with staying in bed long after you realize you cannot fall asleep is that you will be less likely to associate your bed with a place of rest, making it harder to sleep. Try keeping all electronic devices out of bed because the blue light they produce can affect the melatonin production and disturb your sleep.2
3. Counting Sheep Helps
It’s a common myth that imagining sheep jumping over a fence helps you fall asleep quickly. The act of counting sheep is said to lull you to sleep. However, according to recent studies, such as the study done by the Oxford University ‘s Department of Experimental Psychology, the opposite could be true.3
The studies show that counting sheep is too boring and leads your mind to other distracting thought patterns. This makes it harder for your mind to relax and drift off to sleep. Thus, it is found to be better to picture other scenarios like a day at the beach to help relax your mind more.
4. Children Don’t Have Sleeping Issues
If you thought kids are unsusceptible to sleep disorders, you are very wrong. Sleep disorders are common in children and adolescents. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common of them. Those with OSA have breathing difficulties while sleeping. In America, the rise in the number of youngsters having obesity is thought to be one of the main reasons for increasing number of children with OSA.4
5. Only Children And Babies Need To Nap
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors such as your age and state of health. Children need to sleep a lot more than adults because of their rapid mental and physical development. Other than long hours of sleep at night, doctors advise that children should take naps during the day as well. It has been long believed that adults do not need to take naps. In fact, it was believed that taking naps is bad for the health of adults and that it will lead to weight gain. However, studies now show that a nap lasting less than 30 min during the day enhances performance and the ability to learn. You can reap the benefits of napping by training the body and the mind to take short naps.5
Our bodies are designed to sleep a certain number of hours a day. When you sleep is when the body repairs itself and prepares for the next day. You need to get quality sleep to maintain a healthy physical and mental state. Sleep deficiency over a long period of time is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. In order to get the rest that your body needs, you need to be strict with yourself and create a lifestyle where sleep is a priority.
|↑1||YOU CAN’T “CATCH UP ON SLEEP”. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑2||Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services|
|↑3||The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction. US National Library of Medicine|
|↑4||Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea. US National Library of Medicine|
|↑5||Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults. US National Library of Medicine|