In the modern world, where everyone is too busy to find the time to get proper sleep, insomnia is taking hold across the globe. The people sleeping less and working more, so many myths have come forth around a good night’s sleep. These myths look enticing because most people are not aware of basic sleep facts.
Some of the most prevalent sleep myths include the following:
The brain rests during sleep.
Sleep’s primary objective is to provide rest to the body. However, the mind remains active, no matter how deep of a sleep you are experiencing. Sleep only recharge the mind, not put it to rest. The brain remains active during sleep as the person drifts between REM and non-REM sleep in about 90 minutes cycles. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is when people dream, and the non-REM stage is devoid of dreams.
Sleeping is a passive thing.
Despite seeming to be a passive activity, your mind can be more active during REM sleep than it is in its awake state. When in the REM state, metabolic activity increases. During REM sleep, the brain’s activeness is essential for rejuvenation, memory rebuilding, and feeling refreshed.
Dreams make people tired.
While it might seem that dreams require energy and therefore make you more tired, but it cannot be farther from the truth. The expert community established that dream sleep is vital for rejuvenation and feeling refreshed. All dreams, including nightmares, indicate the full sleep cycle, which is essential for feeling refreshed when you wake up.
Children with less sleep will become tired.
Children’s metabolism is different than adults, which causes a lack of sleep to affect them differently. Keeping children awake to make them tired to fall asleep faster will not work because their body can produce excess adrenaline without enough rest. It makes them hyperactive and more energetic. Lack of sleep can also cause neurological disorders like ADHD.
Everyone needs eight hours of sleep.
This myth is so widespread that people started to believe it as a fact. They begin to panic when they realize that they won’t be getting that magic eight hours of sleep. Contrary to popular belief getting eight hours of sleep every night is not necessary. Millions of people only get 5-7 hours of and function correctly. Coming to terms with the fact that requiring eight hours of sleep is nothing more than a myth can be the first step towards ending insomnia.
Napping will help catch up on the last night’s sleep.
Napping is not the substitute for a good night’s sleep. Many people believe the napping myth and further disrupt their natural sleep rhythm, making it harder for them to fall asleep at night. The last night’s sleep is not something to catch up on, but you can stay awake until your regular bedtime and let the natural tiredness put you to sleep.
It is best to lie in bed if you wake up in the middle of the night.
If you suddenly wake up in the dead of night, try not to fall for the old myth of “counting sheep can make you sleep faster.” Relaxing thoughts can help you go back to sleep faster than counting sheep, which will only distract you from sleeping. Most experts say that staying in bed will not do the trick if you don’t fall back to sleep within 15-20 minutes. Try listening to music or reading, and return to bed when you feel sleepy. Also, avoid watching the clock.
Snoring is a sign of a deep sleep state.
Though snoring is very common, and people don’t think much of it, frequent snoring can indicate a life-threatening sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea. It is more dangerous if accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea or difficulty breathing while sleeping, restrict airflow, which reduces oxygen levels and puts a strain on the cardiovascular system. This sleep disorder increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and makes people wake up at night.
You can train your mind to sleep for shorter periods.
Many people try to sleep less and less every night to train their bodies and brains to function despite getting less than the required sleep. According to experts, there is no way to teach someone to get less sleep. Studies show that limiting a person’s sleep time to five hours per night for weeks can severely affect their performance, cause mood swings, depression, and impair their judgment.
Insomnia means trouble falling asleep.
Trouble falling asleep is only one of the insomnia symptoms. People with this condition can experience difficulty waking up, waking up too early, or not feeling rested even after a good night’s sleep. Data from a poll by the National Sleep Foundation shows that almost 58% of the adults reported having at least one insomnia system in the past year.
Staying longer in bed can cause you to fall asleep and feel better.
Forcing yourself to sleep is futile because it only increases the anxiety that will make it harder for you to get adequate sleep. The anxiousness reinforces the fear of going to bed and disrupts the entire sleeping process. If you feel anxious about getting less sleep at night, leave your bed, do a non-intense activity to take your mind off getting to sleep. Staying in bed and forcing yourself to sleep is the least efficient way to rest.
Losing little sleep is no big deal.
People often think that losing an hour of sleep is not a significant thing, but in reality, when you get less than the required rest, your physical activeness and ability to learn drastically reduces. Frequently having less sleep can disrupt your sleeping schedule and create sleep debts, which can interfere with hormones that change your mood, decrease or increase your appetite, and increase the risk of long-term illness.
Obesity, diabetes, depression, and other health problems do not affect sleep quantity or quality.
Researchers found a correlation between poor sleep and health problems. Lack of sleep can affect the hormone balance responsible for maintaining weight, which leads to weight gain and obesity that can cause sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can also affect normal blood pressure levels, resulting in hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Sleep deprivation can also hinder the body’s ability to produce insulin, causing the onset of diabetes.
Older people require less sleep.
Another common misconception among people is that older people require less sleep. Though they tend to sleep less than young people, it does not mean they need less sleep. Older adults require the same amount of rest as younger people. However, due to lower melatonin in their blood, they might not achieve sleep quickly. Their inability to get adequate sleep is why you find older people taking naps throughout the day.
You can catch up with your sleep deprivation on weekends.
Lots of people are unable to follow a strict 7 to 9 hours of sleep schedule every night. For them, it might seem like a good idea to replenish their sleep at weekends, but that might not solve the sleep deprivation problem. Continually changing the sleep duration can do more harm than good, so it is advisable to develop a much healthier and efficient daily schedule that helps you achieve a consistent 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.