Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary for our overall health and well-being and can better our quality of life. It helps us to stay alert, focused, and productive during the day. However, it can be hard to know what information about effective sleeping is accurate and what is a myth.
When it comes to getting a good deep sleep, there are many myths about the length of time you should be resting, the foods you can and cannot consume, whether or not you should be dreaming, etc.
Sleep myths can be pervasive, and it’s important to understand the truth behind them to get a good night’s rest. Here are five of the most common sleep myths that you should forget about:
Myth 1: You Can Function Well on Only 4 Hours of Sleep
Many of us have grown up hearing that you only need 4 hours of sleep for your brain to function normally, but is 4 hours of sleep enough?
This is one of the most common sleep myths, and it’s simply not true.
While some people can function on only four hours of sleep, most adults need at least seven to eight hours each night to stay healthy, function properly, and be alert during the day. Not getting enough sleep can lead to various health issues, including an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease (otherwise known as heart disease), kidney disease, and diabetes.
Myth 2: You Can Catch Up on Sleep During the Weekend
Another common myth is that you can catch up on lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekends or taking naps during the day. While making up for your “sleep debt” may help you feel more alert and rested in the short term, it won’t compensate for lost sleep in the long term.
Sleeping too much on the weekends can actually disrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep during the week. To get the most out of your sleep, it’s important to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
But does it really matter what time you sleep?
Myth 3: Sleep Whenever You Want
Many believe that as long as they get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, it doesn’t matter what time they go to bed. However, this isn’t true.
Your body has an internal clock or body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, which helps regulate when you feel sleepy and alert. Making sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day helps keep your circadian rhythm in sync, which can help you get better quality sleep.
Myth 4: Not Everyone Dreams
Many people believe that not everyone dreams at night. While some people may not remember their dreams, this does not mean the dreams aren’t happening.
Dreams are a normal part of the sleep cycle and can help us process our emotions and experiences from the day. They can also provide insight into our subconscious thoughts and feelings, so pay attention to your dreams when you remember them.
Another common myth about dreaming is if you remember your dreams, you have better sleep health, but this isn’t always the case. If you would like to try and remember your dreams more often, try keeping a dream journal or talking to a therapist about them.
Myth 5: Eating Won’t Affect My Sleep
Eating a healthy diet and avoiding certain foods before bed can help you get better quality of sleep.
Eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and make it harder to fall asleep, so it’s best to avoid eating large meals or snacking late at night. Additionally, certain foods like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can disrupt your sleep cycle, so it’s best to avoid them before bed.
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you get the nutrients you need for a good night’s sleep.
Sleepwalking, Snoring, and Other Sleep Habits
Sleepwalking, snoring, and other sleep habits can be disruptive to your sleep and can lead to health problems, but they are not inherently harmful.
Sleepwalking is when a person gets up and moves around while still asleep. It is more common in children but can also occur in adults.
Snoring is another common sleep habit that can disrupt your sleep and the sleep of those around you. Snoring occurs when the airways become blocked, causing the soft tissues in the throat to vibrate. This condition can often require snoring treatment to prevent disruption in sleep.
Other common sleep habits like teeth grinding and sleep talking can also be disruptive, but they can usually be resolved with the help of a dentist or sleep specialist.
If you are concerned about any of these sleep habits, it’s best to talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. They can help you determine if there is an underlying cause and provide treatment options if necessary.
Why do we need a good night’s sleep?
Now that we know some of the most common myths about sleeping let’s look at some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep!
Listen to Your Body
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, paying attention to your body’s signals is important. If you’re feeling tired, it’s time to go to bed. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or reading a book before bed.
Reduce Technology Usage Before Bed
Reducing the use of technology before bed is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with your body’s natural sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
To reduce the impact of technology on your sleep, try avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime. If you must use a device, consider using blue light-blocking glasses or apps that reduce the amount of blue light emitted.
Don’t Sleep Hungry
It’s important to make sure you don’t go to bed hungry. Eating a light snack two to three hours before bed can help your body relax and prepare for sleep. A small snack that contains carbohydrates and protein, such as a piece of fruit with some cheese or yogurt, can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and disrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid eating within two hours.
Create a Sleep Routine
Creating a sleep routine is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. A sleep routine should include activities that help you relax and prepare for bed, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book. It should also include avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime and eating a light snack that contains carbohydrates and protein two hours before bedtime.
Creating a consistent sleep routine can help your body recognize when it’s time to sleep and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.