photo cred - somvei
As a rule of thumb, we are told that everyone requires 8 hours of sleep. If we are speaking in general terms, then we could say this would be pretty accurate. Agree? Agreed. But then, we have a multitude of health practitioners, sleep therapists, fitness coaches, and heart doctors providing different theories. So what can you even believe anymore?
Here are some of the common misconceptions and myths about sleep:
1. Sleeping less than 8 hours decreases your life expectancy.
Although there is some truth to this – say, for instance, you are sleeping an average of 3 hours per night, then yes, it can. However, sleeping an average of 6-8 hours is fine.
2. Lack of sleep might lead to weight gain.
Inconsistent sleep patterns will affect weight, absolutely, but if your sleep pattern meets the recommended 6-8 hours, then you will not gain weight. Lack of diet and exercise contribute to weight gain as you are much slower to metabolize the food you consumed during the day.
3. Melatonin helps with sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps you fall asleep, but it does not help you stay asleep. If you find that you are getting very tired in the afternoon then you must reduce the amount of melatonin you are taking.
4. Over-sleeping is not good for you.
As we get older we tend to experience more fractured sleep patterns. Oversleeping will actually aid us in maintaining circadian rhythms (24 hour cycles).
5. You can catch up on sleep on the weekend.
If you get too little sleep during the week, you are accumulating what’s called a "chronic sleep debt". If you think extra sleeping will restore you for the week ahead, the effects last even less and you become 10 times slower in your daily performance.
6. Drinking alcohol will give you a better night's sleep.
Alcohol has a sedative effect. It will help you doze-off, but you will feel even more unrested when you wake up because it increases your periods of light sleep. To feel well rested, we all need consistent patterns that involve deep sleep.
7. Teenagers are lazy.
Actually, teenagers may not necessarily be lazy, but adjusting to their biological changes. Studies show that teenagers require 9-10 hours of sleep to adjust to the sudden biological hormonal changes.
8. Yawning is a sign of tiredness.
Yawning is definitely an indicator of tiredness, but it does not mean you are sleepy! Even after many scientific studies, yawning remains a mystery. Did you know that yawning is contagious to 60% of people who are exposed to it- even in dogs? Other theories include that yawning is used to ‘cool’ the brain and/or to facilitate oxygen in the lungs.
9. Naps are not needed.
Please take naps! People who nap in the afternoon demonstrate that they are almost 5 times as productive as those who did not! Fact.