There are various myths associated with sleep and the lack of it. Sleep is a basic necessity of life, and we all need a few quality hours of shut-eye each night for health, safety, good mood, and optimum performance. Sleeping myths, inadvertently, bring us to believe in things that are not only not true, but also unhealthy at times.
Let us share with you some common myths and misconceptions surrounding sleep.
Myth – If you can fall asleep anywhere and anytime, it is a good sign
Fact – No. On the contrary, it shows that you have not been getting enough sleep when you should. Your body is yearning for sleep. It is said that if you are really tired, it takes less than two minutes for you to doze off to sleep. But if you are tempted to take such naps at the drop of a hat, this would further affect the quality of sleep the coming night. You might want to give in to it once in a while, but do not make it a habit.
Myth – Watching TV helps you relax and prep up for bed
Fact – It is not just watching television, but also using mobile phones, computer or any other electronic devices right before bedtime that could come in the way of quality sleep.
Research suggests that the screens emit what is called ‘blue rays’, which can significantly affect your sleep and overall health. So, the next time you wish to see some television or have some screen time, make sure you don’t do it while lying in your bed.
Myth – Having alcohol before bed allows you to have a good night’s sleep
Fact – Having a little brandy or rum with warm water, helps you warm up for a good night’s sleep. It might, but then it inherently prevents your body from getting to sleep on its own. Having alcohol before bed only makes you feel worse the following day, as it might as well give you a headache or a slight hangover.
Besides, in the long run, alcohol does wreak havoc on your system. You could replace that glass of liquor with a nice, warm glass of milk.
Myth – Sleeping allows your brain to rest
Fact – That is something which people have believed in for a long time now. But it remains a myth, as your mind, becomes all the more alert while you sleep. It carries out several important cognitive activities during sleep, which are often different from those that take place while you are awake.
Myth – No Direct Relationship exists between Sleeplessness and Chronic Health Problems
Fact – While sleeplessness may not be exclusively leading up to these health issues, it does contribute to the symptoms. It is while we are sleeping that our body secretes and regulates various hormones. In the absence of good quality sleep, these hormones become imbalanced, leading to problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stress, etc.
Myth – As you age, your overall need for sleep reduces
Fact – That is a big misconception, and adults are still required to sleep for about 6-8 hours each night, no matter their age. The only thing that changes as you age is your sleeping pattern. You might get tired early, and take a nap during day time, which reflects on your night time sleep pattern. On the other hand, some health issues may be making you unable to sleep and get up on time. This could cause the need for a day time nap.
Myth – You can ‘cheat’ sleep
Fact – No matter what you may do, no way allows you to cheat on the amount of sleep you take. As discussed, an adult does need about 6-8 hours of sleep every single night for optimal health and overall well being. If you do not get enough sleep even for one night, it gets added up and forms what we call a sleep debt. Sooner or later, you have to pay up the debt and recover those lost hours of sleep.
Myth – Day time sleepiness trails back to insufficient night-time sleep.
Fact – Another common myth is that when a person takes frequent or longer day-time naps, it is because they are not getting enough sleep during night. While this could be true to some extent, but not entirely. Some people could be having other health issues which prompt them to sleep during day time. These include sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, etc.
Whatever be the reason, you must consult with your doctor if you experience extreme daytime sleepiness. Please note that day is the time when we are expected to be alert, both physically and mentally to carry out various tasks. Feeling sleepy or drowsy and still carrying out activities could result in accidents or illness, and could significantly affect your mental abilities, emotions, and performance.
Myth – Lying in bed with eyes closed almost makes up for sleep
Fact – That is only not true, but also unhealthy in the long run. Your body and your brain carry out completely different sets of activities while you are up, compared to when you are sleeping. Trying to ‘cheat’ sleep by resting with your eyes open, does let your internal system know that you are not sleeping.
If you understand the myths relating to your sleep induction, why not try SleepRite Shotz®? This is an effective sleep-inducing product from the house of Nutrite, which needs to be initially consumed as one bottle every day for a week. This could get you the desired results and eventually stabilize your sleep cycle.
Author: Dr Sonica Krishan
Dr Sonica Krishan is Author and Speaker in the areas of Healthy and Joyous Living through
Ayurveda, Meditation, Yoga and other Contemplative practices. She is a leading Ayurveda
Professional in India. She is also Health Writer, Columnist, Editor, Ayurveda Consultant and
Holistic Healing Coach.