Sleeping Myths That Damage Our Health but We Still Keep Doing
Sleeping is one of the most underrated factors that significantly contribute to our physical, as well as mental well-being. The act of falling asleep helps our bodies heal and repair; on the other hand, it gives our ever-so bustling minds a break from all the hard work.
Lack of sleep has been associated with heart failure, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, in addition to a dozen more medical issues. With that in mind, a few of us pay attention to dedicating enough hours at night to rest or engage in a number of bad habits that damage our health.
There is a number of myths that we keep doing despite the destructive effects they have on our health. So, here are a few of the most widely-circulating sleeping bad habits that we need to stop immediately.
Your body can cope on less than five hours’ sleep
Perhaps, one of the most prominent, widely-believed myths about sleeping is the optimum number of sleeping hours, and no, it’s not five.
“We have extensive evidence to show sleeping five hours or less consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences,” said researcher Dr. Rebecca Robbins told the BBC.
In fact, the majority of sleep experts believe that shutting your eyes between seven and nine hours is necessary for adults to function properly and avoid the risk of a number of diseases. These include cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, and shorter life expectancy.
Watching TV in bed helps you relax
Almost all of us do this one just before going to sleep. We either open the TV or lie down with a laptop on our laps watching some YouTube video to unwind from a stressful day. The problem with TV; along with smartphones and tablets, is that they produce blue light, which can delay the body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
And, let’s address the elephant in the room, most of the stuff we watch before falling asleep can be stressful, such as the news or that episode with the cliffhanger. It’s something that will cause stress right before bed when we’re trying to power down and relax, which can lead to insomnia.
If you’re struggling to sleep, stay in bed
You have counted a million sheep, recalled all the embarrassments you have experienced from ten years ago, you thought about your next investment move and all your future plans, but still, you cannot sleep. Well, most of us keep trying to sleep, and that’s wrong.
Researchers believe that forcing yourself to fall asleep when your body doesn’t want to could entice your brain to subconsciously associate bed with insomnia.
“It does take the healthy sleeper about 15 minutes to fall asleep, but much longer than that… make sure to get out of bed, change the environment and do something that’s mindless,” stated Dr. Robbins.
Hitting the snooze button
We have all done it, we snooze the alarm when we should be waking up. Not only that but some heavy sleepers, like myself, schedule several alarms with a 5-minute intervals; this is extremely harmful to our bodies, and we all should know that these few minutes in bed will not make a difference.
The sleep during these minutes is very light, low-quality sleep that has damaging effects on our health. What we should be trying to do is open the curtains or expose ourselves to bright light to wake up and resist the snoozing temptations.
Snoring is always harmless
One of the more widely-believed myths about sleeping is that snoring is normal. In the Arab World, the belief goes that it is out of tiredness, however, sometimes it could be a sign of far more ominous medical conditions.
The most commonplace disorder associated with sleeping is sleep apnoea, in which the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, briefly stopping peoples’ breathing. People who often snore are more likely to develop high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and to an extent, experience a heart attack or a stroke.
So make sure the next time someone tells you that you have been snoring for the third night in a row to go and check with a medical professional.
Alcohol before bed boosts your sleep
The myth goes that a cup of wine or whiskey before eye shutting time could help you sleep better, and like all the entries on this listicle, it is absolutely wrong. Well, it could help you fall asleep faster, but it will greatly reduce the quality of sleep and rest you are having that night, which could rapidly deteriorate your health.
It particularly disrupts your REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is important for memory and learning.
Turning up the radio, opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving
One of the most dangerous things a sleepy person who is driving can do is turn up the radio. Along with the other ‘aids’ mentioned in the heading, it is completely ineffective. The best thing one could do is pull over in a safe area and have a 15-45 minute nap, other than that it would be putting their life and other lives at danger.
Caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. However, it takes about 30 minutes before the effects are felt.
The best thing you could do to avoid this is to have a good night sleep the night before the trip.
Teens who fall asleep in class have bad habits and/or are lazy
Teens, in particular, require eight to ten hours of sleep per night; more than the average adult needs. This is because their brains and bodies are still developing and more rest is needed to aid this development. In addition, a teen’s biological clock keeps them awake throughout the night and keep them from sleeping earlier.
The majority of classes take place in the morning at the time when a teenager’s mind is telling them that it’s time to sleep. As a result, many of them arrive at school too sleepy to learn, through no fault of their own.