Stop believing the myths: 10 things you need to know about sleep

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Through the years, we have been told different versions of truth about sleep. We have believed some but maybe these are not even true.

A recent study tells us that our notions about sleep are mostly pure misconceptions and have a little basis.

Researchers at NYU Langone Health’s School of Medicine conducted a study published in the journal Sleep Health.

According to a report, they have combed through 8,000 websites to discover our beliefs in sleep and presented them to a hand-picked team of sleep medicine experts to determine which were myths.

Here are their discoveries:

1.It’s not true that adults only need five or fewer hours of sleep

According to researchers, this is the most problematic assumption they found because we’re supposed to get between seven and 10 hours of sleep each night, depending on our age.

Lead study investigator Rebecca Robbins said they have extensive evidence to show that “sleeping five hours a night or less, consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences, including cardiovascular dis3ase and early mort4lity.”

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2. Falling asleep anywhere, anytime is not healthy

Sleep experts pointed out that falling asleep as soon as the vehicle starts moving or as soon as you slumped on the hallway or on your desk at work is not a sign of a well-rested person.

“Falling asleep instantly anywhere, anytime, is a sign that you are not getting enough sleep and you’re falling into ‘micro sleeps’ or mini-sleep episodes,” Robbins said.

‘It means your body is so exhausted that whenever it has a moment, it’s going to start to repay its sleep debt,” she added.

3. Your brain and body cannot adapt to less sleep

Robbins’ team found out that the brain and body cannot adapt and learn to function with less sleep because the body cycles through four distinct phases of sleep to fully restore itself. 

“The deeper stages of sleep are really important for generation of neurons, repairing muscle and restoring the immune system,” Robbins said.

The study also showed that when you wake a person from deep sleep, he or she can feel gr0ggy and fatigued, which will affect one’s mental performance for up to 30 minutes.

4. Snoring is a sign of risky sleep disorder

Researchers said that “loud, raucous snores interrupted by pauses in breathing” is a marker for sleep apnea — a risky sleep disorder that may not be good for your health.

“Sleep apnea is extremely exhausting. These patients sleep and then they wake up over and over; then they are fighting sleep all day long because they’re so exhausted. It’s also very underdiagnosed. We believe it affects about 30% of the population, and around 10% are diagnosed,” said Robbins.

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5. Fermented drinks before bed help you fall sleep but won’t help you stay asleep

Robbins and her team found out that it “dramatically reduces the quality of your rest at night.”

“It continues to pull you out of rapid eye movement and the deeper stages of sleep, causing you to wake up not feeling restored,” Robbins said.

6. Counting sheeps to fall asleep is not the smartest mover

“If we stay in bed, we’ll start to associate the bed with insomnia,” Robbins said. It is like “going to the gym and standing on a treadmill and not doing anything.”

Robbins furthered that it takes a healthy sleeper about 15 minutes to fall asleep but if you can’t do that in that period, then you have to get out of bed, change the environment and do something mindless, “keep the lights low and fold socks,” she recommended.

7. A regular schedule for sleep matters

Sleeping anytime of the day can negatively affect your health, experts say. They suggested that people need to have a regular sleep schedule in order for your inner clock and the outside world to be on the same phase.

It will prevent you from being disoriented and sleepy at times you need to be functioning.

8. Watching TV in bed won’t help you relax

“These devices emit bright blue light, and that blue light is what tells our brain to become alive and alert in the morning. We want to avoid blue light before bed, from sources like a television or your smartphone, and do things that relax you,” Robbins said.

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9. Hitting snooze is not a good idea

We all do this, right? But Robbins said it isn’t a good idea after all.

“Resist the temptation to snooze, because unfortunately, your body will go back to sleep — a very light, low-quality sleep,” Robbins said.

10. Remembering your dreams is not a sign of good sleep

Being able to remember your dreams means that your sleep has been disrupted because your brain was so busy during your sleep.  

“Now, I will tell you if you have a dream with a strong emotional context, it may come back to you at say, two o’clock in the afternoon, when you have some downtime to relax,” senior study investigator Girardin Jean-Louis said.

“Sometimes, something would trigger that. But if it is a weird little mundane dream, most of us who sleep well don’t remember those.”