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author/umarah-hussain
8 Feb 2021, 2:05 PM

Common Sleeping Myths

The science of sleeping has evolved and grown substantially over recent years, allowing greater insight into why sleep is important, how it can be disrupted and overall, how it works. Despite the advancements made in science, the abundance of misinformation widely available online can be easily believed. Here are some common sleeping myths to set the record straight.

Your Body Gets Used To Less Sleep: Myth

According to a substantial amount of research, lack of sleep can take a dangerous toll on your body, both short term and long term that your brain and your body cannot make up for. Getting an insufficient amount of sleep will subsequently mean you feel sleepier during the day, although this may stabilise over weeks, persistent sleep deprivation can cause a drop in memory, focus and overall daytime performance. This also includes danger to metabolism, heart health, immune system and mental health.

Your Brain Shuts Down When You're Asleep

The brain remains completely active during sleep. The activity that actually takes place is called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Brain activity actually ramps up to levels that are similar to those when you’re awake. Thus, your brain is far from shutting down, these shifts in brain activity keep your brain healthy, which is why sleep is critical to better memory, critical thinking, concentration and emotional processing.

A good sleeper doesn’t move during the night: Myth

Snoring lightly usually doesn’t cause any issues, however chronic or loud snorers usually go through OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), a breathing disorder that breaks apart sleeping patterns, preventing a sleeper from taking in the essential oxygen that their body requires. There are, however, ways in which you can prevent loud or chronic snoring. Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) devices can help to keep the airway completely open that helps to alleviate OSA. Likewise, you can shop for anti-snoring mouthpieces that can help to decrease or eliminate the levels of snoring at night.

Napping Makes Up For Lack Of Sleep: Myth

Whilst a power nap can recharge and boost you with energy, it is not substituted for quality sleep that you lack at night, as napping doesn’t involve REM sleep, which would move through stages of sleep the same way as you would during the night. Those that attain insufficient sleep try to nap, but this actually hurts their sleep schedule since it can cause them difficulty to fall asleep at their usual bedtime. Although naps aren’t bad, relying on them because of your sleep deprivation isn’t helpful.

Napping Makes Up For Lack Of Sleep: Myth

Whilst a power nap can recharge and boost you with energy, it is not substituted for quality sleep that you lack at night, as napping doesn’t involve REM sleep, which would move through stages of sleep the same way as you would during the night. Those that attain insufficient sleep try to nap, but this actually hurts their sleep schedule since it can cause them difficulty to fall asleep at their usual bedtime. Although naps aren’t bad, relying on them because of your sleep deprivation isn’t helpful.

Teens Don’t Get Enough Sleep As They Stay Up Late: Myth

A substantial amount of teenagers don’t get enough sleep as their schedules keep them up later into the night. However, this isn’t because it’s a choice, rather, it’s due to biological changes that take place around puberty. These changes move the circadian rhythm of teenagers back to around 2 hours. Although there are choices for individuals to prioritise work, socialising and screen time over sleep, the biological effects may just exacerbate this.

Opening Windows Helps Stay Awake When Driving: Myth

Tricking yourself into staying awake when driving by opening a window or turning on the AC is the most ineffective method. If you’re feeling drowsy, the best thing to do is to pull off of the road and in an area where you’re able to power nap until you’re able to get home. What’s more is that caffeinated drinks may help for a short while, but it takes time for it to kick in, even then, it’s a risk to rely on it when driving.

Sleeping With The Light On Is Helpful: Myth

Even whilst being asleep, low light from any part of your room can cause you to wake up, which again, will have a negative effect on your REM sleep. Many studies have also found that sleeping with the light on can cause eye strain and can cause notable weight gain. To promote better quality sleep and a better circadian rhythm, sleep in a room that is dark, without light entering any part of it.

Warm Beds Are The Best For Sleeping: Myth

Although your bed might feel warm and toasty during the right, studies have suggested that it’s not actually ideal for when you fall asleep. Your body temperature begins to drop naturally as part of the physical process, and for a room that is too hot, you may be at risk of interfering with your sleep process. It’s therefore important to find a bedroom temperature that is comfortable for you when sleeping at night.

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