There are so many widely-accepted myths about sleep that people believe in them without a second thought. Although some are harmless, numerous others can actually damage your health and sleep quality.
Which ones do you believe in? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular misconnections about sleep that may be robbing you of getting the ZZZs you need at night.
1. It’s easy to make up for lost sleep.
Losing out on sleep means you accumulate a sleep debt. Like all debts, it collects and it is difficult to settle. It may seem like sleeping-in at weekends can help “pay back” some of your sleep debt, but it doesn’t work that way.
In fact, research shows that oversleeping not only disrupts your natural rhythm, it also causes your attention span and reaction time to deteriorate.
2. Snoring at night is normal and not harmful.
More often than not, snoring can be a sign of a potentially life-threatening sleep condition called sleep apnea. This sleep disorder stops breathing at night and results in heart problems due to lowered oxygen levels.
Not to mention that snoring can be extremely annoying for those around you and even cost you your marriage.
3. Obesity is not linked to sleep quality.
Not getting enough sleep reduces growth hormone secretion, which in turn increases the likelihood of gaining weight. What is more, sleep deprivation has been connected to high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
4. Older people need less sleep.
The elderly may sleep less and wake up more frequently in the night, but that doesn’t mean that they need fewer than the recommended 7 to 8 hours.
5. Watching TV before bed can help you relax.
Whether you are watching the news or your favorite TV show, chances are the content will stimulate you rather than lull you off to sleep. What is more, the artificial light that screens emit messes with your melatonin levels and stops you from falling asleep easily.
6. If you can’t fall asleep, stay in bed.
Counting sheep, tossing and turning or just lying in bed with your eyes open can be more distracting than soothing. Instead, give yoga or meditation a try. Or go to another room and don’t go back to bed until you feel sleep coming on.
7. Naps can make you feel drowsier.
Naps are a great way to give your brain and your body a boost of energy, especially if you are feeling tired and sleepy during the day.
8. It’s not good to sleep on your stomach.
Depending on what kind of pillow you use, there is no bad sleep position. Actually, it is usually people who sleep on their backs that snore or experience sleep apnea.
To Sum Up
With so much misleading information about sleep, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult a professional who can confirm some of your beliefs or prove them wrong.