Even though we have years of sleep experience behind us, and spend hours sleeping every night, this doesn’t instantly make us experts. You will often hear sleep tips flying around from every Tom, Dick and Harry but the majority are probably all rubbish. Luckily for you I have done the research so we can finally debunk the top 6 common sleep myths.
1) Everyone needs 8 hours sleep to function.
This famous saying is far from the truth as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep patterns as everyone has different sleep requirements. As New York University psychologist Joyce Walsleben puts it: “You’ll know you’re getting enough when you don’t feel like nodding off in a boring situation in the afternoon.”
2) Sleeping more is healthier for you.
Incorrect, there have in fact been studies which show that those who regularly received 8+ hours a night die younger than those who get 6-8. What is certainly not clear, however, is whether sleeping more is a sign of poor health or a cause of it.
3) Waking up during the night will leave you tired the next day.
Certainly not, many animals in fact sleep this way and this could just be our natural, personal, sleep cycle.
4) You can catch up on lost sleep at weekends.
Sadly this is not true. Harvard sleep expert Robert Stickgold has coined the term ‘sleep bulimia’ to describe the process of stocking up on sleep purely at the weekends. This, he says, is counter-productive as it will upset circadian rhythms, making it even harder to achieve a refreshing sleep.
5) Exercising before bed will help you fall asleep.
Being fit and having regular exercise is the key to unlocking the secrets of a good night’s sleep; doing it too close to your bed time, however, can actually hinder your sleep. In fact, sleep experts have even championed avoiding exercise up to 3 hours before you hit the pillow. This is because exercise initially raises body temperature and this temperature won’t then fall until 5-6 hours later. It is therefore vital to exercise regularly at set times, ideally first thing in the morning or in the afternoon.
6) Alcohol will help you to sleep
Wrong: Alcohol will help you to fall asleep quicker, but will certainly not help you experience good quality sleep as it will result in a disrupted night.
We think they should try sleeping on a mattress
Whilst there are plenty of sleep myths out there, one thing that is guaranteed to give you a good night’s sleep is picking the right mattress for you. There are a wide variety of mattresses on the market today, so you need to first do your research prior to any purchase.