5 Sleep Myths Debunked – Lay Them Gently to Rest

sleep myths

The average person spends about a third of their life sleeping, so it’s no surprise that the issue of sleep remains such a big topic of daily life. Whether we’re counting sheep or drinking hot milk before bedtime, we’re constantly being fed information on things you should or shouldn’t do when it comes to sleep, but how many of these tips are actually true? We’ve uncovered the truth behind some of the most common sleep myths.

Does alcohol help you sleep?

No. That’s wishful dreaming.

Contrary to popular belief, sipping on a glass of wine or whisky before bed won’t help you have a better sleep. While it’s true that a nightcap can make you sleepy enough to drift off quickly, a recent study concluded that alcohol actually reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the deep sleep that occurs while dreaming. Without this restorative REM sleep, we can wake up feeling groggy the next morning, which is why we often find ourselves so tired after a night of heavy drinking.

Do older people need less sleep?

We all need a regular amount of sleep, whatever our age.

We know that children and young people can need at least 10 hours sleep for optimal development and health. When we think of older people, however, we tend to put less importance on the recommended 7 to 9 hours sleep and see any amount as the norm. While the odd sleepless night won’t do us much harm, adults of all ages are required to have the right amount of sleep as a necessity of a healthy life.

Improved memory, better immunity to diseases and hormone regulation are just a few of the reasons why sleep is so important.

Is it dangerous to wake a sleepwalker?

It’s safer than letting them sleepwalk into an accident…

 It’s common belief that waking up someone who’s in the middle of a sleepwalking episode can be potentially dangerous for the sleepwalker, and should be avoided at all costs. In reality, the worst that can come of this is the subject becoming disoriented and possibly a bit frightened – In fact, more harm lies in potential accidents that can arise while the sleepwalker’s having an episode!

Can you catch up on sleep on the weekends?

A missed hour or so? Sure. Sleep marathons aren’t advised…

While catching up on a missed hour or two is doable, if you’ve had a consistently sleepless week and are planning a sleep marathon during your weekend in, you’re likely to feel worse in the long run.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, people who slept for just 6 hours a night for two weeks and compensated by sleeping an extra 10 hours had worse reaction times and levels of focus than someone who’d had no sleep at all.

The more sleep, the better?

You know your body. But, unless you really need that extra rest, moderation in sleep is worth aiming for.

You might think exceeding your recommended amount of sleep each night is something to aim for, but oversleeping has been linked to issues such as depression, diabetes, heart disease and more.

If you think you’re sleeping too much, try to see if you can work on changes that feel like an improvement without causing you undue stress.

Perhaps you can explore solutions like avoiding the temptation to sleep in especially late on weekends. You can also peruse Mookychick’s list of 13 sleeping tips to rest easier at night.

Sweet dreams, beautiful people.

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