Debunking Common Sleep Myths
Sleep is really important, and yet more than a third of us are said to not be getting enough of it. The cause of or sleep troubles is undeniably partly down to lifestyle, but also, when it comes to sleep, it seems no-one can quite make up their mind on the basics.
How long should we sleep for depending on age? Does exercising before bed improve sleep quality? Is it always best to sleep for as long as we can? We’ve taken a look at all of these myths and more to wean out the real truth of the matter.
1. The more sleep you can get, the better
If you’ve never accidentally slept in for over ten hours, you might not realise that sometimes, more sleep isn’t always a good thing. If you oversleep, you’re more at risk of illnesses and disorders like diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness. You might also experience headaches and weight gain from your extra hours spent under the duvet. If you are sleeping more than usual, it might be worth paying a visit to your doctor.
2. Snoring is an unsolvable problem
How many times have you heard someone make the excuse: “I can’t help it, I’m just a natural snorer!” These people are very wrong – not only can chronic snoring be dealt with medically, it should be, as it may be an underling cause of a more serious health conditions. Many chronic snorers also suffer from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
3. Exercise before bed can help you sleep better
It seems to make sense in short: tiring yourself out before bed should help you to sleep better once your head hits the pillow. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. While daytime exercise can indeed improve your quality of sleep, exercising right before bed will release endorphins and raise your body temperature, both of which will keep you awake. If you are going to exercise before bed, try some simple, calming yoga routines that won’t get your heart rate up too much.
4. If you can’t sleep, you’re an insomniac
When you say “insomnia”, most people immediately think of someone who perhaps spends hours on end trying to get to sleep, before finally giving in and staying awake all night. While that can be true for insomniacs, insomnia presents differently from person to person. For example, you might be able to get to sleep fine, but wake up at a set hour every night, and be unable to get back to sleep.
5. You need less sleep when you get older
It is true that adults need slightly less sleep than children, but the idea that the older we get, the less sleep we need is a myth. It’s our sleeping patterns that change as we become adults – that’s why we might suddenly want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier – but all adults should still aim for 7-9 hours of sleep no matter what. This number is not age-dependant.