18 Popular Sleeping Myths You Should Never Believe from 18 Popular Sleeping Myths You Should Never Believe

18 Popular Sleeping Myths You Should Never Believe

Full Story

Thinkstock

18 Popular Sleeping Myths You Should Never Believe

Many people have problems falling asleep – 45percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Those who report poor quality sleep also report poor quality health. It’s important to debunk popular myths so you don’t end up hurting yourself, developing insomnia, gaining weight, or being under constant stress without even realizing it. A lot of the sleep “facts” you hear from friends are actually “old wives tales” passed on for generations. Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss.

Shutterstock

Snoring isn’t harmful

About half of the population snores, according to Dr. Neil Kline, a sleep physician and representative of American Sleep Association. You’re snoring because the brain is signaling it’s not getting enough oxygen. “There is new research that is suggesting that simple snoring may be associated with negative health outcomes,” he says. “For about 5-10 percent of the adults, snoring is a symptom of a potentially dangerous sleep disorder, sleep apnea,” he adds.

Pixabay

You can’t “catch up” on sleep with naps during the day

The quality of sleep during the day is not the same, Dr. Karl Doghramji, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, says. “One hour of sleep at night does not equal an hour of sleep in day time due to your biological clock trying to keep you awake,” he adds. You make wake up often and not reach REM sleep. 

Thinkstock

Insomnia just means you can’t fall asleep

Difficulty falling asleep is just one of four symptoms associated with insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation. “The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed.” Insomnia can be a symptom of a sleep disorder or other medical or psychological/psychiatric problems, and can often be treated.

Shutterstock

Daytime sleepiness only means you have to sleep more at night

If a person feels very drowsy during the day and has an urge to fall asleep, even after getting enough nighttime sleep, he or she may have an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation.---  “Daytime sleepiness can be dangerous and puts a person at risk for drowsy driving, injury, and illness and can impair mental abilities, emotions, and performance.”

Thinkstock

Chronic health problems and quality of sleep are not related

Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 15 million Americans, with a prevalence that is also rising as a consequence of increasing obesity, according to research. Epidemiologic data support a link between obesity and hypertension as well as between OSA and hypertension. OSA is reported in up to 30 percent of patients with hypertension, although it is frequently underdiagnosed, medical reviews show.

Shutterstock

The older you are, the less sleep you need

“This is a contradictory question to which science doesn’t have a great answer,” Dr. Doghramji says. Some experiments show that older people are not sleepier during the day if they haven’t slept much at night, but others indicate the opposite. They need as much sleep as when they were in their 30s, but the quality had decreased because health problems messed with their ability to sleep. This is where the misconception probably comes from, he adds.

Thinkstock

Alcohol before bed helps you sleep

Alcohol is eliminated from the body rapidly and causes withdrawal symptoms two or three hours later, Dr. Doghramji says, which has a negative reaction. “You wake up very often but very briefly, and you don't even remember,” he adds. Studies have shown that in healthy people, acute high alcohol doses disturb sleep, whereas in insomniacs, lower doses may be beneficial. People fall asleep quicker after drinking, but alcohol reduces rapid eye movement. REM sleep is when we dream and actually rest.

Shutterstock

You should not wake up a sleep walker

Even though people are walking, they are still in a deep, deep sleep, Dr. Doghramji says. Waking up a somnambulist is not physically dangerous but it can make him or her very nervous and frightened because their mind is still kind of sleeping. They won’t know what’s happening for a few minutes, and this can scare them. The best trick is to help the sleepwalker return safely to his or her bed without waking him or her, if possible, according to Sleep.org.

Pixabay

Count sheep if you can’t fall asleep

The time you spend counting sheep is the time you wasted doing more useful things to fall asleep, such as getting out of bed and reading. Experiments show that people who trying this popular routine actually had a harder time nodding off; people who imagine more soothing images such a waterfall or being on vacation had an easier time falling asleep.

Shutterstock

Everyone need at least 8 hours of sleep

Eight is not the magic number. In fact, there is no one number that fits all. You need as many hours as you do. Some people, depending on age, lifestyle and habits, function just fine after 6 hours of sleep while others need at least 10. How much sleep people need varies with every person and is also genetically determined, Dr. Doghramji says.

Thinkstock

Watching TV helps you nod off

Televisions emit blue light, which affects the levels of the sleep-inducing melatonin more than any other wavelength. Another problem is what you’re watching. Chances are a movie or a late show that you find will be more stimulating than relaxing, keeping you awake. Too much screen time in bed is one of the worst things you can do to yourself

Shutterstock

You can catch up on sleep on weekends

Research shows that chronic sleep loss is not easy to recoup. Getting up at 6 a.m. every day, and then suddenly sleeping until 1 p.m. on weekends, disrupts the body’s internal clock. Don’t extend your wakeup time during the weekend by more than an hour or you’ll pay the price. The lingering effect of chronic sleep loss causes performance to deteriorate dramatically.

Thinkstock

Sleeping pills are harmless

Insomnia is a very common problem that most adults will experience at some point. “Taking sleeping medications is common practice,” Dr. Kline says. “However, there is alarming evidence that taking sleeping pills can increase risk for other health dangers.” The immediate dangers of sleeping pills range from minor fatigue to coma, according to the Addiction Center. Common problems linked to taking sleep aids include memory loss, lightheadedness, and dizziness. A study linked certain popular pill like Ambien and Restoril with a nearly five-fold increased risk of early death.

Thinkstock

Kids don’t have sleep apnea

The number of children with sleep apnea has increased because of a rise in obesity among kids. Children with untreated sleep apnea run the risk of having behavioral, adaptive, and learning problems, according to Alaska Sleep Clinic.

Thinkstock

Lack of sleep only makes you tired

This is just one of your problems if you are not getting enough shuteye. Lack of sleep can cause your brain to shrink and increase your blood pressure. Your growth hormones are affected as well because your brain is not functioning to the best of its ability.  Sleep deprivation affects your overall health more severely than simply causing you to feel grumpy in the mornings – your learning and problem-solving abilities suffer, you have trouble forming memories, and you’re at risk of developing depression, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts.

Thinkstock

Napping during the day is useless

Quick power naps, which may be a secret to live a long, happy life, can make you more alert. Napping during the day is especially beneficial to people who work in shift, according to Dr. Doghramji. The best kind of nap is 20-30 minutes long and taken around the same time during the day, he adds. Avoid extended naps after 4 p.m. because they can mess with your ability to fall asleep later.

Pixabay

A glass of milk will help you fall asleep

Milk may be helpful but only if you don’t drink it by itself. It contains tryptophan, the amino acid that brings on sleepiness. Tryptophan is also needed for the body to produce serotonin, which is then used to make melatonin. Research shows that the body also needs carbs, along with tryptophan, to have a sleep-inducing effect.

Thinkstock

Lack of sleep keeps you slim

Sleep deprivation also leads to weight gain, makes you susceptible to diseases, and hurts your skin by releasing cortisol, the stress hormone, which breaks down collagen. Lack of sleep affects the brain in a way that makes you want to eat more and not process food efficiently. It sparks a vicious cycle where you are left feeling tired, slowing your metabolism and playing tricks with your hormones. Feeling lethargic leads to poor food choices, studies have found – you eat more junk food, fewer vegetables and fruits, and drink more soda

18 Popular Sleeping Myths You Should Never Believe