When it comes to sleep, there are many myths that permeate our society. For instance, people still think that counting sheep is an effective way to fall asleep when research has shown that not only does it make it more difficult, but there are better images to envision that are more peaceful and effective. If you’re having trouble sleeping or if you’re just inherently curious, this list will detail 6 sleep myths that continue to persist despite already being seemingly disproved.
1. Fewer than 6 Hours of Sleep is Enough
Six hours of sleep is a minimum. If you’re getting less than that, you’re probably not performing at your optimum level during the day. According to Psychology Today, “nearly everyone suffers deficits to health, well-being, and performance when they regularly get less than six hours of sleep a night.” You may experience one or two days where you’re able to function, but after awhile, your mental and physical health will begin to deteriorate. Try getting to bed a little earlier if you can to make up for lost time.
2. 8 Hours of Sleep is Essential for Most, But Not All
As far as hours go, eight is great, but different types of people have different sleep necessities. You may know somebody who can’t function if they don’t get a solid nine hour rest or you might have somebody that works incredibly well after only six hours. It depends on the person how much sleep time is best. Lifehacker says that quality of sleep is more important than quantity. If you’re not feeling energetic during the day, experiment by sleeping for different lengths of time over a long weekend. You might find you haven’t been getting enough sleep. . .or possibly, too much.
3. Alcohol Improves Sleep
Sadly, alcohol can be a greater detriment to your sleep than any sleep aid. Drinking alcohol before you go to bed does help you get to sleep faster by making you more immune to light noises that could wake you up. However, it disrupts you in the middle of the night by messing with the sleep cycle by, as Lifehacker states, “shorten[ing] some stages while extending others.” That means, you might be able to get to sleep, but staying asleep and achieving quality rest will be that much harder in the end. So skip the drink and try a decaffeinated tea or milk instead.
4. Lying in Bed When You’re Awake is The Best Way to Fall Back to Sleep
We may be desperate to get back to sleep if we find ourselves up in the middle of the night, but remaining in bed isn’t necessarily the way to do it. Try for 15 minutes to get back to sleep. If you find you’re still antsy, get up. You may be so frustrated or worried you won’t sleep that alone is causing you not to sleep. Your mind may be working overtime, so have it work on something more constructive. Mediate, journal, read. These are all relaxing activities that don’t cause unnecessary eye strain and can ease you back into sleep mode.
Another technique is to force yourself to stay awake. Make it a challenge for yourself. Viewing it as a game rewires your brain to think that staying awake isn’t such an unwanted consequence of no sleep. Just another way to possibly tire your mind, thus inducing sleep.
5. The Older You Are, The Less Sleep You Need
While it may be true that newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep while adults need only 7-8, without proper sleep, adults will still experience the same issues plaguing those far younger than them. Restless nights and poor quality of sleep can affect you at any age so don’t purposefully sleep fewer hours with the notion that you require less to function. Retain your schedule as long as it works for you and only make changes when a need arises.
6. Power Naps Fill in the Gaps
Depends on the length of the power nap. This chart demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of napping for different lengths of time. The ideal seems to be a 10-20 minute nap because it gives you that needed mental boost without causing grogginess. That’s not to say sleeping longer doesn’t provide added benefits, but if you’re worried about feeling groggy all day, try shooting for a shorter nap time.
Of course, it’s no myth that the proper mattress is key to giving you great sleep. Check out our Pure Echo and Natural Escape, and give us a call if you need help in picking the right mattress for you!