There are many myths about sleep that exist out there. Despite living in the age of information where we have access to all the knowledge we can ever need in our lifetimes, we are still victim to common myths that can be harmful to our health. It’s not anyone’s fault. There’s a lot of conflicting messages being spread on the internet.
In this article, we finally debunk those top myths about sleep. Hopefully, these changes certain perceptions you have about it, and help you have better bedtimes.
Myth 1: You need 8 hours of sleep every night.
The Truth: The ideal sleep hours vary by person.
You’ve heard this myth before. They say you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep to function optimally during the day. The truth is that you may not; it depends on the person. Some feel well-rested after only 6 hours of sleep while others do best with a full 8 hours. The most important thing is to keep your sleeping hours somewhere between 6 to 9 hours. More or less than that could be harmful.
Those who only get less than six hours of sleep are more likely to be stressed and depressed, while those who get more than nine may be at more risk for stroke. So pay attention to your body and sleep only for the number of hours you feel rested.
Myth 2: A good sleep means you slept through the night.
Truth: It’s normal to wake up during the night.
Don’t beat yourself up if end up waking up in the middle of the night. It’s very common to do so. In fact, back when the electric light was invented, our ancestors would wake up between a 12-hour sleep period to do other things like read or socialize.
Myth 3: You can catch up on sleep during the weekends.
Truth: Making up for sleep on the weekend can be harmful.
Doing this can actually be detrimental to your health. Because you sleep hours differ every night, you risk disrupting your natural circadian rhythm. Rather than compromising your sleep five days a week, you should strive to have a consistent sleep routine every day of the week. Consider investing in a mattress for good sleep or a night light that slowly dims as you fall asleep.
Myth 4: Force yourself to stay in bed until you fall asleep.
Truth: Trying to sleep for more than 20 minutes can worsen wakefulness.
We know sleep is important but if you’ve only been tossing and turning in the last 30 minutes, you should get up. This helps to relieve your anxiety and disassociate insomnia from your bed space. Rather than forcing yourself, get away from your bed and do something relaxing like drinking warm tea or reading. Do this until you finally feel tired and sleepy.
Myth 5: Sleeping on your stomach is bad for you.
Truth: Sleeping on your stomach is actually not that bad.
This myth is only true for those who are worried about wrinkles. But if you’re not, sleeping on your stomach should be fine. It’s not as bad as sleeping on your back which has been associated with most sleep problems like snoring and sleep apnea. For optimal sleep, you should strive to sleep on your side with a body pillow that supports your arm and leg.
Myth 6: Older people need fewer hours of sleep.
Truth: No matter what age we are, we need those 6 to 9 hours of sleep.
Sleep is just as important for older people. This myth exists probably because older people wake up more frequently during the night, leading them to get less sleep. They can remedy this lack of sleep by taking naps during the day.
What did you think of these ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.