Debunking Common Sleeping Myths

Sleeping with Bo

Sleeping should be the simplest task we undertake; heck, even babies have mastered the art. Yet for various reasons, many of us spend a good portion of our lives tossing and turning at night. If you’ve ever suffered from a night of insomnia (and if you haven’t, I envy you) then you’ve probably sought out advice from friends, family or the internet. Unfortunately, while many people consider themselves experts on the subject, there’s a lot of confusion on the topic of sleep. Here are some sleep myths that we’d like to set straight immediately:

Myth: Everyone needs to sleep for 8 hours a night.

Fact: Sleep needs vary from person to person. If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you may need more rest at night. It should take you about 15 minutes to drift off if you’re regularly getting enough rest. You should also wake up refreshed and raring to go. Most experts recommend that you get at least six hours of rest a night, as research shows that people who consistently get less sleep are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues.

Myth: There’s no such thing as too much sleep.

Fact: Just like those who consistently sleep less than six hours a night, people who regularly spend more than nine or 10 hours a night in bed face health problems. When it comes to a good night’s rest, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Myth: If you can’t sleep, stay in bed until you can.                          

Sleeping

Fact: This is one that many parents tell their kids, which can lead to sleeping problems in the future. It turns out that lying in bed, waiting for sleep to come is one of the worst things you can do, according to experts who say that it can lead to anxiety, which makes it even harder to get to sleep. Lying in bed for long periods of time can make your mind start to associate your bed with anxiety. Instead, get out of bed and engage in a calming activity for about half an hour before trying again.

Myth: A glass or two of wine will help you get to sleep.

Fact: Alcohol may help you nod off, but it’s detrimental to the quality of sleep you receive later on in the night. The nightcap you ingested begins to act as a stimulant as you sleep, which can lead to less rest later on in the night. Those who imbibe may find themselves waking up a few hours after falling asleep, unable to get back to sleep. Pass on the alcohol if you want to stay asleep.

Myth: A nap during the day will mess with your sleep at night

Fact: If you plan it properly, a nap shouldn’t affect you at night. Just make sure that you don’t sleep too close to bedtime and that your nap is a short one- no more than half an hour in length. There are many physical and psychological benefits to napping, but if you’re prone to insomnia, you may want to pass on the siesta.

Sleep is an important part of our lives and if you’re struggling with insomnia, you want to get the facts. Talk to your chiropractic team about how much rest you require and what you can do to ensure that your sleep is the deep, restorative kind that your body needs.

 

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Photo credit: Sleeping with Bo by JoiSleeping by xlibber. Used under a Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.