Today it’s hard to differentiate between sleep facts and sleep myths. Is cheese before bed really proven to give you nightmares? Do you have to have at least 8 hours of sleep? This blog depicts what's fact and myth.
MYTH - Power naps are good for you.
FACT - Naps during the day generally disrupt your overall sleeping cycle in the evening. We often feel like we need an ‘afternoon nap’ because there is in fact a natural dip/lull in regards to our alertness. If you’re extremely tired and have jobs which require you to be very alert such as lorry drivers, naps of 15-20min allows yourself to restore. However, anything after 20min will put you into a deep sleep and will leave you feeling even more tired than before.
MYTH - The hours before midnight are better for you than the hours after?
FACT- Sleep is sleep. It’s best to focus on getting enough sleep in general, not looking at the timings of each hour.
MYTH- Once a light sleeper, always a light sleeper?
FACT- Although you can’t just switch from being a light sleeper to a deep sleeper, there are adjustments you can make in your lifestyle which can improve the longevity of your sleep. For instance, switch up the environment by getting rid of your devices in advance before bed, diet and exercise also play a big role in not getting enough sleep.
For more ways to change your sleeping environment, read our blog on ‘How to get the perfect nights sleep'
MYTH - Eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares
FACT- There’s actually no validated evidence which suggests that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares. However, eating before bed can cause digestive problems as you’re trying to get back into sleep mode. Digestive problems will occur as your digestive system will start to break down the foods while you try to get to sleep, causing you to stay awake and make midnight trips to the toilet. Try and stick to foods such as bananas which contain magnesium and potassium and are natural muscle relaxants.
MYTH- You only yawn because you’re tired
FACT- Not necessarily. There can be different reasons why we yawn besides being tired. We often yawn during the day, on awakening and when we’re bored. Research has suggested that contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when watching another person yawn and is known as a form of echophenomena.
MYTH - You can make up for sleep on the weekend
FACT- In order to function and operate successfully, you need to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Spending your weekends catching up on sleep can actually throw your body off even more and will make it harder to sleep and get up in the morning during the week. If you’re extremely sleep-deprived, catch up on a couple of hours of sleep but ensure you don’t get into a pattern of napping across the weekend.
MYTH- Sleeping pills and supplements such as Ambien help you sleep.
FACT- Although it’s easy to see the appeal of sleeping pills, especially if you struggle with insomnia, they’re not actually that good for your body. Sleep experts have warned that once you’ve taken a pill the sleep you have isn’t proper sleep. Additionally, there is research that taking sleeping pills has long-term effects including memory damage and can cause a ‘rebound’ experience of insomnia that pushes people to take them again.