How much do we really know about sleep? There are so many misconceptions about our relationship with sleep which are generally upheld as truth, very evident from the very moment we reach over to press the cursed snooze alarm.
Sorting through such collective fiction helps you achieve a greater understanding of yourself in relation to the perplexity behind a simple night’s sleep on that luxurious latex mattress. But there is more to these tall tales, and as my grandmother usually say, don’t lose count of the sheep:
You need 8 hours every night
The universally accepted number of required sleep hours is just that, a number. You’re an individual with individual needs, some people function perfectly fine with less. You no longer need the 14 hours mandated throughout your brief stint as an infant, however much you might lust for such a scenario at certain points as an overworked adult. 7 Ridiculous Sleeping Myths You Probably Believe
Genetics play a major role in your relationship with sleep.
You should stay in bed until you fall asleep, no matter what
Are you experiencing a restless night as if you’re sleeping during the caveman days? Experts agree one of the worst things you can do is remain in bed, hoping sleep will inevitably visit you.
Never remain in bed struggling to fall asleep.
Suddenly your bed is more adversary than ally, more closely viewed as a wrestling mat than a personal sanctuary. Don’t allow that to happen. Try the following steps before bed:
1. Eliminate needless distractions at least an hour beforehand, no television or internet.
2. Try alternative activities like reading or taking a bath.
3. Keep the alarm clock out of sight from within bed.
You can catch up on missed sleep during your days off
Staying up late & sleeping in during the weekend disrupts the natural sleep cycle of your body, referred to as circadian rhythms. Do you typically follow the same bedtime throughout the week? If you’re serious about sleep, make a personal decision when to turn in and abide by it.
“Sleep bulimia”, binging and purging on sleep, disrupts natural sleep cycles.
Abandoning your usual protocol, even for a day, creates confusion in the body.
You can rely on sleeping aids that aren’t addictive
All sleeping aids are inherently addictive if you solely rely on them to fall asleep each night. Your psyche can grow accustom to taking a sedative before bed. A psychological dependency of any kind dangerously dictates your sleep schedule. Follow these steps to avoid building a dependency:
1. Only use approved sleeping aids under extreme circumstances.
2. Never take more than the recommended dosage.
3. Avoid using sleeping aids consecutively unless directed by a doctor.
More sleep is beneficial to your health
Just as not receiving enough rest can prove detrimental to health, the opposite is also true. Those who average roughly 8 hours a night live longer lives.
Lack of sleep significantly impacts your metabolism.
Only indulge in power naps where appropriate.
Exercise before bed will help you sleep
Exercise prior to bed is beneficial to the cause under the right circumstances but you’ll need to find the right balance. Every person is individually wired to have different needs. Consider the following when exercising before bed:
An earlier workout will generally cause fatigue later in the evening.
Experiment with different exercises like yoga for any late workout.
Waking up throughout the night will make you feel exhausted
The body sleeps in cycles. Waking up in the middle of the night won’t always yield heavy consequence in the day to follow.
Some experts believe our ancient ancestors slept in two 4 hour blocks, briefly awake between segments of sleep only to eat or procreate. We enter various stages of sleep each night — sometime waking up in the middle is the result. Relax your mind and settle back in to a natural sleep, there’s little chance such hiccups will make you groggy in the morning.
Dismiss the myth!
Chances are you might subscribe to some of these outdated beliefs about sleep, but you’re not alone. Learning the truth about these myths can improve your relationship with sleep. Your body works differently from anyone else, what is right for others may not necessarily apply to you. Don’t let these commons sleeping myths dictate your sleep!
Image courtesy of julie-de-waroquier