There are so many myths and old wives’ tales around sleep that sometimes, it’s quite hard to separate fact from fiction. Do all of us need 7-8 hours of sleep? Is snoring harmful? Will that glass of wine really help you sleep better? We debunk a few sleep myths that you probably didn’t even know were false!
Fiction: Everyone needs 7-8 hours of sleep
Fact: The amount of sleep you need is based on your age while we often consider quantity over quality as the defining factor of how much we need to sleep. If you are able to get 7 hours of good quality sleep, this may suit you better than lazing around for 9 hours in bed. Newborn need as much as 17 hours of sleep whereas the elderly can get by with 7 hours. Adults who sleep an average of 8 hours were reported to have better moods the next day.
Fiction: Morning people are more productive
Fact: Each of us has our own body clock and understanding your energy flows is the best way to be your most productive self. Just because someone wakes up early and has their highest energy in the morning, doesn’t mean that someone who works through the night isn’t being as productive. Society seems to reward the early bird but there is something to be said for night owls whose sleep cycles take on a different rhythm.
Fiction: A nightcap helps you sleep better
Fact: Many of us indulge in a couple of drinks before bed because it tends to make us drowsy and leads us to believe we are sleeping better. However, alcohol actually prevents our bodies from producing melatonin, the chemical that regulates our sleep cycle, which means that you may sleep longer but wake up feeling unrested and groggy.
Fiction: Snoring is annoying, but not harmful
Fact: If you are blessed with a partner who snores through the night, you may be surprised to know that this could be a deeper problem than just another way to annoy you. Snoring can be a sign of sleep disorders like sleep apnea where your airflow is decreased or completely cut off during the night. This can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease over time if not treated so don’t shrug snoring off so lightly!
Fiction: Insomnia means you can’t fall asleep easily
Fact: Insomnia is actually an umbrella that covers a variety of sleep issues which go far beyond simply not being able to sleep. If you find yourself waking up way before your alarm and being unable to go back to sleep, waking up frequently through the night or waking up feeling exhausted; you may be suffering from insomnia! This is a completely treatable disorder so if you’re worried about your sleep, we suggest heading over to your family doctor.