We are told a lot of things about sleep. Some people say they only need a few hours a night, others use the use the weekends to catch up on lost sleep. Here, we list 10 myths about sleep to help you get a better night's sleep.
1. Myth: You can get by on just a few hours of sleep each night. This is not true. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night, and getting less than that can have negative effects on your health and wellbeing.
2. Myth: Snoring is harmless. Debunked: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that can have negative effects on your health. It's important to seek medical attention if you snore regularly or your snoring disturbs your sleep quality at night.
3. Myth: Watching TV in bed helps you relax and fall asleep. Wrong, Watching TV in bed can actually interfere with your sleep. The blue light from electronic screens can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
4. Myth: Alcohol helps you sleep better. Debunked: While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it can also disrupt the quality of your sleep and cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night.
5. Myth: Napping is a waste of time. Debunked: Napping can be beneficial for some people, especially those who don't get enough sleep at night. A short nap can help improve alertness and performance, ideally ~20 min in total and before 2PM.
6. Myth: You can "catch up" on missed sleep on the weekends. Debunked: This is not true. While you may feel more rested after a weekend of sleeping in, it's important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week for optimal health and wellbeing.
7. Myth: Snoring only affects older people. Debunked: Snoring can affect people of all ages, and it can be a sign of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
8. Myth: Exercising at night will keep you awake. Debunked: While it's true that exercise can increase alertness and energy, it can also help you sleep better at night by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
9. Myth: Sleeping pills are a safe and effective solution for insomnia. Debunked: While sleeping pills may help you fall asleep, they can also have negative side effects and may not address the underlying causes of insomnia.
10. Myth: Insomnia is just a normal part of ageing. Debunked: While it's true that some older adults may have more trouble sleeping, insomnia is not a normal part of ageing and can be treated with proper sleep hygiene and medical intervention if necessary.