Sleep is an essential function of human life. It’s also one of those topics most of us assume we are knowledgeable about – which has led to dozens of common myths. Sleep myths are a topic addressed in science, in more than a single study.
Here are seven common sleep myths you probably didn’t know about:
#1.The Main Symptom of Insomnia is Difficulty in Falling Asleep
Probably the most common myth is the inability to fall asleep, which is automatically considered to be the main sign of insomnia by most of us. However, it is the most common of the four primary symptoms of insomnia. A specialized doctor will give a sleep medicine prescription.
The three other symptoms are:
- waking up feeling tired
- waking up frequently in the middle of the night
- waking up in the night and finding it difficult to fall back to sleep.
#2.Teenagers and Kids Who Sleep Off in Class are Lazy
Doctors and sleep experts agree that children and teenagers need over nine hours of sleep to be fully rested, unlike adult people who can get by with seven to eight hours. Their biological clocks are tuned to keep them up till later in the evening and sleeping till late in the morning, but they end up getting less sleep.
Sadly, our school systems are designed to start classes early in the day. At that time, most kids or teenagers would rather be curled up in their bed to get asleep– not because they’re lazy, but because they’re having to wake up earlier than their body-clocks want them to. This is another myth that has been dispelled.
#3.Seniors Need Fewer Hours of Sleep
The average adults are expected to sleep for at least seven hours every night. As we get older, our sleep patterns and circadian rhythm change. However, it is just a myth that we need fewer hours of rest. Older individuals usually wake more often at night, roll in bed, and usually end up getting less sleep.
In response, they fall asleep more during the day light to make up for nighttime sleep loss. Older people should schedule regular naps to ensure they are refreshed and rested during their waking hours.
#4.Your Brain Rests While You Sleep
Brain resting while you sleep, is the most believed myth. No doubt, the most significant benefit of sleep is rest. However, while the body rests as you snooze, the same can’t be said of the brain. During sleep, your brain starts recharging. It also actively plays a role in regulating various body functions. One of these functions is breathing.
Typically, we all undergo two sleep stages in 90-minute successions – the rapid eye movement (REM) stage and the non-REM stage, with the eyes closed.
Experts in sleep science discovered that the non-REM stage goes from an initial state of drowsiness where you can quickly awaken to a deep sleep state. By the REM phase, it is difficult to awaken you. In fact, your brain is very active during REM, and this is when you might experience intense and vivid dreams. REM stimulates the parts of the brain associated with learning, so is essential to our development.
#5.Adults that Struggle with Daytime Tiredness Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
Tiredness during the daytime for adult people isn’t always a sign of lack of sleep. Daytime fatigue manifests through a lull in energy levels during working hours or when we need to be awake and alert. This can occur even when we are sleeping properly in bed during nighttime.
In situations like this, being tired in the daytime can be a symptom of sleep and health disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, or other conditions like anemia. A physician will help to treat these health conditions so you can get back your health.
In fact, if you experience such symptoms, you should see a physician as soon as possible. It can be dangerous and put you and individuals around you at risk due to impairment of your mental abilities and performance at work, especially if you handle heavy-duty machinery. A scientific fact is that sleep deprivation for the long term will affect the quality sleep and high blood pressure will lead to an increase in the risk of heart disease.
#6.Snoring isn’t Harmful
Agreed, not all snoring is harmful. Sometimes it could be due to obesity, excessive alcohol intake, allergies, or congestion, which are other health issues. However, if you snore and feel like you have a battle with daytime tiredness, it could be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a life-threatening health disorder and should be treated immediately, with a serious study about the consequences.
Individuals struggling with OSA usually wake up wheezing several times during the night. Sharp breaks in breathing also characterize sleep apnea. These breaks stop air from flowing in and out of the sleeping person’s airways. When these breaks happen, the blood oxygen levels drop, causing the heart and cardiovascular system to work harder than usual and increasing the possibility of heart-related diseases and hypertension.
If you or a loved one snores regularly and loudly, combined with sleep apnea while snoring, you should immediately consult a doctor to give a healthy remedy.
#7.You Can Keep Awake while Driving After a Night without Sleep by Blasting the Radio, Using the AC, or Opening the Car’s Windows
Lack of sleep can only be remedied by one thing: sleep. It is dangerous to drive while feeling tired or after a night without rest. Cracking your windows, blasting music, or blowing cold air through your car’s AC doesn’t prevent you from falling asleep. The calm blow of the breeze from your open window is just a myth and could actually lull you into sleep and a potentially fatal accident. Catching up on sleep may help to reduce the risk of health problems and accidents.
The best choice of action in such a situation is to find a safe place to pull the car over and take a quick nap. You should feel recharged after fifteen minutes. If you can’t feel to catch a nap, you could take a caffeinated beverage such as coffee. While caffeinate can halt the side effects of poor sleep, it does take some time to kick in. Depending on your body, it can sometimes take upwards of thirty minutes. Make sure to take a break and a walk while drinking your coffee.
If you are driving the next morning, especially on a long trip, ensure you go to bed on time and get a good night s sleep, to maintain your body’s health. A panel of experts in the study said most healthy drivers become too impaired if they drive without proper sleep.
The Bottom Line
There are many other sleep myths asides from these seven that flood conversations about good sleep. However, one thing is exact when thinking of sleep: you can’t cheat rest. Whits this being said, nothing beats a good night of good-quality snoozing. We hope we might have dispelled the myths with all this information.
As we’ve seen, sleeping issues can cause more problems than just tiredness – they could result in a car accident, or could be caused by a disorder. Book a doctor’s appointment if you’re worried about health problems like narcolepsy, OSA, insomnia, or any other sleep-related condition. A specialized doctor will take the best decision making, so you can achieve a full night of healthy sleep.