Have you always thought that sleeping more during the weekend makes up for the sleep debt you’ve gained during the week? Or that your bed partner’s loud snoring is completely normal and you both just have to learn to live with it? There are plenty of myths about sleep out there! But can you tell which ones are true and which ones aren’t? Check out these five sleep myths!
1. Sleeping more during the weekend makes up for the lack of sleep during the week.
This is a very common sleep myth. Many people seem to think that if they sleep more during the weekend, it makes up for the lost hours of sleep during the week. Even though you may be able to sleep in after a rough week, it doesn’t make up for not getting enough sleep during those all-nighters. Establishing a regular sleeping schedule throughout the entire week helps ensure that your mind and body are at their best at all times. If you find yourself staying up late every night, try setting a bedtime alarm for yourself, to remind you to go to bed at a certain time. Also try incorporating a new bedtime routine, which can include anything that helps you prepare for bedtime; for example, try reading a book or listening relaxing music for 30 minutes before you need to fall asleep.
2. The optimal amount of sleep depends on the person.
This is true. The average amount of sleep an adult needs each night is 8 hours. However, the actual sleep need depends on the person. Some people will be fine with 6 hours of sleep, while others may need 9-10 hours to feel well-rested. Whatever your personal sleep need is, make sure the amount of sleep you get each night is the right amount for you. If you struggle to get up every morning and often feel exhausted during the day, those may be signs that you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
3. Taking naps prevents from getting a good night’s sleep.
This depends on the length of the nap. A short 20-minute nap can refresh you and give you energy for the rest of the day. However, if your naps extend to several hours, they may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, and make you feel drowsy throughout the rest of the day. If you have trouble waking up from your naps, set an alarm and don’t nap in a completely dark room- it’s easier to get up when the room is light.
4. Snoring is normal.
Light snoring every so often doesn’t necessarily mean that you suffer from a severe sleep disorder. However, heavy snoring that happens often is not normal since it indicates that you are not able to breathe freely during the night, which can be a warning sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. If you or your bed partner suffers from heavy snoring, you should contact a specialized physician as soon as possible in order to determine the reason behind the problem.
5. Both the body and mind rest when you’re asleep.
This statement is half true, half false. Your body does rest when you sleep. Your brain, on the other hand, is busy processing the events of the day during the night. For example, your long-term memory functions more effectively and is able to process and absorb the things you’ve learned during the day better if you get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can disturb this learning process, and can eventually affect your body’s ability to absorb and make memories.
While these are great tips that can provide temporary relief to your sleep problems, snoring, sleep apnea or other chronic sleep conditions require more serious measures. The first step is identifying the problem behind your inability to sleep properly. The best way to do this is to have a sleep study performed by a certified sleep specialist, which can be conducted at home or in a sleep center. The sleep study will measure the number of apneas, oxygen levels, snoring, and other disturbances while you sleep, which will help your doctor determine what your problem is and how to remedy it. If you’re ready for a sound night’s sleep, make an appointment today with Dr. Pasha to learn about your treatment options. We’ll have you sleeping soundly in no time!