Sleep myths: fact from fiction

Nearly everyone will agree that we live in a 24/7 society that demands a lot of our time. In an attempt…
Sleep myths: fact from fiction
Foto: Flickr

Nearly everyone will agree that we live in a 24/7 society that demands a lot of our time. In an attempt to keep up with these demands, many people sacrifice an hour or so of sleep each night. Whether it means going to bed an hour later or waking up an hour earlier, putting in that extra time deprives your body of rest: rest that many people believe can be regained by sleeping in on a different day.

Unfortunately, the human sleep-wake cycle does not work this way, making it even more important to separate sleep myths from fact. More than 40 million Americans are considered sleep deprived, getting less than the recommended 7.5 to 9 hours of much needed rest each night.

Making up for lost sleep: One of the most common sleep myths is that people can catch up on sleep by adding a few extra hours to their next session. This myth is practiced by millions of people who sleep in on weekends in an attempt to make up for lost sleep during the week. While some additional rest is better than no rest, adding hours will not necessarily make up for lost sleep. Additionally, sleeping in can affect your sleep-wake cycle, making falling sleep at night more difficult.

One less hour won’t hurt: This remains one of the most popular sleep myths. While you may not feel the impact of loosing an hour of sleep, the prospect for compromised responses and cognitive thinking remain. A loss of sleep can also have a negative on your health and energy level, not to mention mood and temperament.

I’ll sleep more tonight: More sleep myths. Adding additional hours of sleep can help with excess fatigue but it will not cure you of it. Excessive daytime fatigue may be more about the quality of your sleep rather than the quantity. If you wake up feeling tired after sleeping for a long time, it is most likely due to poor sleep quality.

My body adjusts quickly: While some people feel they can function with just a few hours of sleep, resetting your biological clock takes time. Don’t believe all the sleep myths. If you’re changing from a day shift to a night shift job, or you’re an avid traveler, note that even 1 or 2 hours of less sleep can affect you for a week or more until your body adjusts.

In our bustling world, getting the recommended 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night can prove challenging. By ignoring sleep myths and ensuring you get enough sleep, you will not only be protecting your health, you will also have a great deal of vitality to enjoy the rewards from all your hard work.