There are a lot of myths about virtually everything – let’s face it, when you live in a world where “fake news” is not only more popular, but more believed than real news, you’re going to get some fake-outs. But in the world of sleep, there are always ways to second guess. Am I getting enough sleep? Is my health destroying my sleep? And it goes on from there.
There are some simple truths, however, and a key one is that we all need a good amount of sleep to survive. For most people, that means anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep per night. This is the same kind of sleep that can be easily interrupted by snoring, which is why many people may be overestimating the sheer amount of sleep they’re actually receiving.
But, leave it up to this Fortune Article to go all Myth-Busters on sleep:
If you can’t recall your dreams, you’re not sleeping deeply. Not true. It’s normal not to remember your dreams, but most likely you are still having dream sleep otherwise known as REM (“rapid eye movement”) sleep every night. In fact, most people remember their dreams only because they may be waking up frequently in the middle of the night (from disorders such as sleep apnea) or because they were in the last stage of sleep when the alarm went off.
Frankly, I’d never heard of this one before. But there you go… the folks behind the fake news sites must be cooking away in their fake sleep lab with this one. Not as bad as this one:
You can’t have sleep apnea if you’re not fat. Not true. Sleep apnea may be related to being obese, but it can also be found in children and thin adults. Facial bone structure related to a small upper airway also contributes to sleep apnea. Physicians who diagnose and treat sleep disorders look for signs such as a small jaw, a recessed chin, teeth crowding, small nasal passages or a deviated septum (which means the thin wall between the nasal passages is displaced to one side).
Yep, that one is a bit of a shocker. It’s important to remember that snoring usually comes from your jaw and epiglottis region, and has nothing to do with obesity at all. That’s why mouthpieces like the Good Morning Snore Solution are in such popular demand by our readers. While obesity does mean the likelihood that you snore is much higher because it’s also likely you have more movable fat cells in your neck and throat region, it certainly isn’t a guarantee, either. No matter your body shape, you’re at risk of obstructive sleep apnea – whether you like it or not.
You can make up for lost weeknight sleep on the weekend. Not true. While you may be able to work off some sleep debt by sleeping more on the weekends, such sleep deprivation during the work week and binge sleeping on the weekends can contribute to insomnia. It disrupts circadian rhythms and makes it hard to fall and stay asleep. It’s best to set the same wake time seven days a week and get into bed when you’re feeling sleepy.
This one is interesting as well. My wife is a big proponent of this one, and I frankly can’t wait to show it to her. Sleep daily, folks, and you’ll be much better off than if you think that you can somehow “catch up”.
Alcohol helps you sleep better. Not true. A nightcap before bed may calm you down and make it easier to fall asleep, but it tends to disrupt the quality of sleep. The depressant effects of alcohol may wear off in the middle of the night, increasing nighttime awakenings. Alcohol also reduces REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and increases sleep-disordered breathing, which may lead to even more nighttime awakenings. And for some people, it can induce gastroesophageal reflux, which can cause discomfort and awakening.
About this one, all I can say is I find it all a bit hilarious. Apparently the myth-meister that started shilling this one has never come by my bedside after a couple of good whiskies!
See the rest of these myths at http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2016/11/30/a-bakers-dozen-important-facts-about-sleep-and-sleep-disorders/, and learn a little something.
Remember that checking a couple of sources, especially when it comes to health decisions, is ALWAYS a great idea. There is never a need to diagnose yourself with a dire fatal illness when a second source might dispel that kind of madness.
And remember also: worrying causes a ton of stress. Stress can make sleeping difficult. So don’t believe everything you read, OK?