We all know that good sleep is essential for health and has knock-on effects on our mood, immune system, heart and more. However, while a good night’s shut-eye is important for sleep, many of us struggle with sleep issues and getting enough sleep.
There are many myths surrounding sleep that are not correct and dispelling these will lead to better sleep habits and overall rest. Here are some common sleep myths and the reasons they need to be put to bed.
MYTH: Some people are ‘better’ sleepers than others
Some people just think they are poor sleepers but it is possible to create a better sleeping environment. Electrical devices like phones, TVs and tablets should be kept out of the bedroom and it should be a dark, quiet and peaceful environment. It is always essential to buy a good bed with a supportive mattress, which can make the difference between a poor night’s sleep and a good one. Lifestyle and exercise can also play a role in achieving better sleep.
MYTH: Some people only need five hours of sleep a night or less
Whilst some famous people throughout history, like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and fashion designer Tom Ford, have boasted about their lack of need for sleep, it is widely acknowledged by experts that we need around seven to nine hours of sleep per night for optimal health. There are only a fraction of the population who will function well on less sleep. Recent research at the University of Hong Kong suggested that sleep deprivation resulting from less than seven hours a night could result in damage to DNA and the body’s ability to repair it.
MYTH: A nightcap will help you sleep
Many people turn to alcohol to help them drop off at bedtime. However, whilst the effects of a drink might help you fall asleep quickly initially, alcohol reduces the body’s ability to achieve deep sleep, so your sleep is not as restful. Experts agree that you should stop drinking a few hours before bedtime.
MYTH: You can catch up on sleep at the weekends
If you’ve found yourself not sleeping much during the week with late nights or early mornings, many people think a lie-in at the weekend will help you ‘catch-up’. However, experts have shown that it is almost impossible to catch-up on sleep and the effects of a lie in will only last a few hours. Lying in can also affect our natural sleep cycle and will make it harder to drop off in the evening.
MYTH: Snoring is harmless
Loud snoring is not only annoying for other people but far from being harmless, it could be sign of bigger health issues, including sleep apnoea. Over time and if untreated, sleep apnoea could lead to bigger health issues, including the risk of high blood pressure, developing Type 2 diabetes or heart problems. Experts agree that people who snore loudly and consistently should discuss it with their doctor.