As humans or animals, regardless of the time of day, or place, or situation, we all sleep. And because of this, many studies have been carried out to understand how sleep patterns impact us, especially with regards to our health. Even some of us, who are very observant of our bodies, especially when we sleep, seem to know a lot when it comes to sleep and related health issues.
In other words, almost everyone is kind of an expert, with different facts, when it comes to sleep.
Yet, when you take a deep dive into some of these so-called ‘facts about sleep’, the bubble quickly bursts and they are nothing more than some “old wives tales.”
But not to worry as this post, using the most updated research, will present some debunked “facts” that we thought was true about sleep, but only turned out to be myths.
Let’s begin with the big one: snoring
1) Snoring Is Harmless:
There are different types of snoring, some of which, for most people, could be harmless. But for others, it can mean a life-threatening situation called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder in which the patient experiences pauses in breathing that prevents air from flowing in or out of a sleeping person’s airways. People suffering from sleep apnea may suddenly wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath. This is a serious condition and the patient should get immediate medical attention.
2) Hitting The Snooze Button Is Great:
Hitting the snooze button is great, right? Wrong! Scientists have found in various studies that hitting the snooze could put one’s body into another sleep cycle, which could be a very light and low quality sleep that can be very harmful to one’s sleep pattern and brain, leaving one feeling unrefreshed in the morning.
3) Alcohol Helps You Sleep:
Consuming alcohol can make you feel heavy and dozy, but in reality, you may not be able to get any sleep at all that night.
Studies have shown that people who consumed alcohol, before going to bed, had a certain pattern in their sleeping behavior. They kept having disruption during their sleep and did not wake up refreshed the next day.
4) Lying In Bed Until You Fall Asleep:
A symptom of insomnia could be someone waking up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. This should not be dealt with by lying in bed until you fall asleep since the brain can associate the bed with insomnia. You should instead get up and do some other activity instead of just watching the clock. A couple of these activities could be like folding socks or listening to music.
5) Adults Need Less Sleep:
As we grow up, our sleep schedules might change a bit. But this doesn’t mean that we need less sleep. Adults need an equal amount of sleep as kids. Doctors and scientists recommend a 7- 9 hours sleep period.
6) Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, And Depression Do Not Have Anything To Do With Sleep:
Scientists have found out that many health problems are directly related to the amount and quality of sleep a person gets. For example, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone, which is directly linked to obesity. An unhealthy sleep cycle can also have an adverse effect on one’s blood pressure, which can cause hypertension and a number of other health problems.
7) Insomnia Is A Difficulty Falling Asleep:
While having difficulty trying to fall asleep may be one symptom of insomnia, there are a number of other symptoms that should be kept in mind. The most important ones are waking up too early, not being able to fall back to sleep, staying awake in the middle of the night, and waking up feeling unrefreshed for the day ahead.
8) You Can Catch Up On Sleep:
Most people, during the week, especially because of work, do not get proper sleep. They believe that they can compensate for this by catching up on more sleep, until late in the day, during the weekends.
But this practice can be very harmful to the body. It can create the same effect as someone having a jet lag after taken an intercontinental flight. The best way to prevent this is to get a consistent and right amount of sleep every day.
9) Daytime Naps Can Disturb Your Sleep Schedule:
While some of us think sleeping during the day won’t let them fall asleep at night, which is a myth. Naps can actually be good for your health and can help you not just sleep better at night, but small power naps will keep you refreshed during the day as well.
10) People Who Are Under Anesthesia Are Asleep:
Being under the effect of anesthesia is different from naturally falling asleep. Our brain, when we sleep, emits a certain type of waves which renders us unconscious. But during the forced unconsciousness caused by anesthesia, the brain does not emit any waves and thus a person can sometimes be totally awake.
11) It’s Healthy To Be Able To Fall Asleep At “Anywhere, Or Anytime:”
While people might think it is a good sign that they can sleep anywhere and at any time, for example, as soon as they get on a train or a plane. Unfortunately, it is actually pretty quite the opposite.
Studies have shown that a person who can instantly fall asleep anywhere is not getting enough sleep, which is why he/she is having these mini sleep episodes.
12) Warm Milk Can Help One Fall Asleep:
It is a popular belief that drinking warm milk can help you fall asleep. Milk does contain tryptophan, a compound that our bodies convert into sleep-influencing chemical. But, unfortunately, there isn’t enough of tryptophan present in milk to make us fall asleep. We would need 10 times more of the compound to help us fall asleep.
13) Remembering Your Dreams Is A Sign Of Good Sleep:
Remembering one’s dream, according to most people, is a sign of good sleep. This is a myth because most of us dream at least 4 times every night and we do not remember all of those dreams. So if you are remembering your dreams then there is a good chance that you are not getting good quality sleep.
14) Using A Smartphone Before Going To Sleep Can Help You Relax:
Using smartphones before going to sleep has become a habit these days for most people. But this might change your mind after knowing that smartphones emit a bright blue light, which is actually meant to keep you awake and active during the day. So, using a smartphone before going to sleep can be a bad idea and could cause difficulty falling asleep.
15) Sleeping Pills Don’t Have Any Side Effects:
Sleeping pills have become very common these days especially given the way that doctors seem to prescribe sleep medication. But sleeping pills can be harmful in many ways. Popping a sleeping pill before going to sleep can actually render your ability to get a night of good sleep, otherwise, useless. You can become dependent on them to get a good quality sleep and their excessive use can lead to other problems as severe as cancer and death.