Myths about sleep debunked: from counting sheep and sleeping too much to dying from lack of sleep.
In this article, we discuss a number of legends related to sleep that are nothing more than myths.
Table of Contents
- 1 Myths about sleep debunked: Introduction
- 2 Myths about sleep debunked: Conclusion
Myths about sleep debunked: Introduction
There are many preconceptions about sleep. In this blog post, we’ll break them all down.
To encourage the importance of sleep quality, we need to start off on a healthy foot.
Alcohol helps you sleep
You may have noticed that you fall asleep quickly after a night of drinking. It is true that alcohol causes drowsiness that can start a night’s sleep.
However, don’t be fooled because the quality of sleep is degraded by alcohol. Waking up the following day usually means feeling tired or having a headache.
However, alcohol is toxic to your body, so other side effects can be very common.
Alcohol’s effects can last up to 6 hours, so even one glass of wine with dinner can affect the quality of your sleep.
Not only is alcohol consumption dangerous for your health, but it also increases the risk of sleep apnea and decreases memory capacity.
Alcohol is absolutely not a solution to help you fall asleep. In case of sleep problems, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. They will be able to consult and help you.
You have to count sheep to fall asleep
Forget the sheep; they won’t help you sleep!
This traditional method has never been proven and probably never will.
Researchers have taken a serious look at this issue and compared several sleep techniques, including this one. Counting sheep is absolutely not the best technique to fall asleep.
And that’s normal! Counting sheep or thinking back on your day keeps your brain active.
The most effective way to quickly fall asleep is to imagine a relaxing scene and see yourself in it. For example, a warm sandy beach is a thought that calms your heart.
As a direct result, your body falls asleep quickly, and the brain activates sleep.
Concentrate on your breathing and let yourself be calmed by your inhalation and exhalation. Just relax.
Myths about sleep: You can sleep too much
Tired in the morning? What if it hides sleep apnea? Some people blame their fatigue on too much sleep. But let’s be clear, we can’t sleep too much!
The body is well made, so when the body is recharged, meaning you have slept enough, you are close to waking up naturally thanks to your biological alarm clock.
Therefore, it’s not the excess of sleep that is at fault in case of fatigue.
Even after a good night’s sleep, sleep quality is to blame. Sometimes the causes can be medical.
On the other hand, sleep disorders can lead to tiredness during the day, even after a good amount of sleep. There may be a hidden pathology!
Sleep apnea is a good example, as these patients usually sleep more than 8 hours a night.
However, despite the hours of sleep, waking up is always tricky, and they often suffer from fatigue during the day. In fact, sleep apnea causes poor quality, inefficient sleep.
Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if you feel exhausted after getting enough sleep.
You have to go to bed early to get up early
Your bedtime depends on your life’s rhythm, need for sleep, and habits.
If you try to sleep earlier than usual, you may not be able to fall asleep. Don’t worry, you’re just like everyone else… almost, at least.
You probably know your usual sleeping time.
Still, if you need to foresee your bedtime:
- do not drink coffee during the day
- expose yourself to natural light in the morning
- be physically active, but not 2 hours before bedtime
- wear sleeping glasses in the afternoon
- eat light
- avoid light sources during the night
- go to bed as soon as you feel sleepy
The first three hours of sleep allow for better recovery. But this is the case both before and after midnight.
Myths about sleep: You can die from lack of sleep
We have all tried to fight against our sleep for professional reasons, exams/ tests, parties…
For a century, the sleep duration of Westerners has been continuously decreasing. But where is the limit? The world record for a period without sleep is 11 days!
This period of extreme sleep deprivation did not result in the subject’s death. Instead, it resulted in:
- memory and speech disorders
Staying awake at all costs is possible, but it literally makes you crazy!
Sleep deprivation has a significant impact on mental health and psychological state. That’s why sleep deprivation is a widespread technique among torturers.
For example, the CIA developed notes that authorize up to 180 hours of sleep deprivation.
Every day, sleep debts cause car and work accidents, so therefore indirectly kill.
In the medium and long term, chronic sleep debt reduces life expectancy and increases the occurrence of:
- cardiovascular pathologies
If we dreamed, it means we slept well
The memory of a dream doesn’t depend on the sleep quality, only on the moment of waking.
We dream during periods of REM sleep. If you wake up during this phase, you will usually remember your dream for a few minutes. However, when you wake up during deep sleep, you won’t remember it.
However, this does not mean that the sleep was not efficient! All these phases follow each other during the multiple cycles of a night of sleep.
Still, when we wake up with a dream in mind, we generally wake up without alarm or obligation. This means that we woke up during a phase that wasn’t deep sleep.
In that case, the awakening is of good quality, causing you to feel fit and in a good mood.
Myths about sleep debunked: Conclusion
Hopefully, we’ve been able to inform you a little better concerning these sleep myths so you know what sleep advice you can safely ignore and what you should focus on instead to get a better night’s sleep.
In summary, all of the below statements are false:
- alcohol makes you sleep better
- counting sheep will make you fall asleep
- if you remember a dream, it means you’ve slept well
- if you want to get up early, you just have to go to bed early and that’s all there is to it
- you can die from a lack of sleep