Sleep is a basic necessity for function and survival, and essentially it should not be that complicated. In our modern and ever-changing society, we as humans are great at messing it up though. So, what gives and what are we doing wrong?
It comes down to the fact that much of what we deem acceptable bedtime behavior, simply is not. Whether it be having a nightcap, watching TV in bed or letting your furry friend snuggle up on your pillow, most of us are all doing something that inhibits our sleep.
Here are five of the most commonly believed sleep myths:
- Eight hours of sleep per night is a must. Truth be told, we’re all a little different and even though we do need an adequate amount of sleep each night, it’s not a one-size fits all. Some people need a little more, some a little less. One sign you’re not getting enough though, is if you doze off as soon as your head hits the pillow. Drifting off to sleep should take about 15 minutes if you’re fulfilling your sleep needs. If you wake up feeling refreshed and energized, that’s a good indicator that you are getting enough sleep. For those that say they can get by on six hours or less, they’re most likely setting themselves up for future problems. Six or less, especially on a regular basis, is just simply not enough.
- More sleep is always better. There is such thing as too much sleep, and those that regularly sleep about 10 hours each night may be at risk for future health problems too. The specific implications are still unknown, but we all know that too much of a good thing comes with consequences.
- Lost sleep can be made up over the weekend. There are consequences of just one night of too little sleep, so thinking there aren’t any consequences and holding off until the weekend is a bad idea. Not only that, but sleeping in late can easily skew your schedule come Sunday night and Monday morning, starting the cycle all over again.
- Just rest in bed if you can’t sleep. Lying in bed, restless and awake, is one of the worst things you can do. Staring at the clock and stewing about why you can’t fall asleep only causes anxiety and stress, making falling asleep that much harder. It’s possible that if you lie there ruminating long enough, you’ll train your brain to make inaccurate associations. In other words, associating lying in bed with being wide-awake. Instead, get out of bed and do something to help you relax. Sometimes, just a change in environment can be enough to reduce stress and make you feel drowsy.
- Napping will interfere with your sleep at night. Sure, napping can definitely mess with your sleep, but if done right, it won’t. To do it right, be sure you don’t nap too close to bedtime and limit it to 30 minutes or less. If you have difficulty falling asleep at night or wake up multiple times in the night, you may want to skip the nap completely though, as it could make the problem worse.
For more on the most commonly-believed sleep myths, visit: