Did you know, your sleep patterns speak volumes about your overall health?
If not, you’re not alone.
So today I’d like to share with you 5 myths about sleep most men and women don’t know.
Myth #1. Snoring is harmless
How you breathe in your sleep can tell a ton about your heart health.
Most people don’t know this, but snoring can be a symptom of a life-threatening disease called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea happens when there’s a pause in your breathing and not enough air going into your lungs.
Dr. Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says that there is strong evidence between sleep apnea and hypertension.
So if you or your loved one snores, it might be a good idea to check in with your doctor.
Myth #2. You need less sleep as you age.
While it’s true that our sleep patterns change as we age, the amount of sleep we need stays the same.
Hundreds of studies suggest that adults need anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, to give the body enough time to recharge, rest, and recover.
If we don’t get enough sleep, we develop so-called “sleep debt.”
But this kind of debt isn’t anything like financial debt. Because according to a study done at Harvard Medical School, “paying back” sleep debt is almost impossible.
Scientists found that people who slept less than 6 hours a night for a week straight and then tried to catch up on sleep on the weekends…
Had a terrible time concentrating, focusing, and issues with delayed reaction.
So when in doubt, try to get your 7-9hrs of sleep each night.
Myth #3. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a sign of poor sleep quality.
If you’re experiencing excessive drowsiness, or struggle to keep the energy up the entire day…
But you’ve slept enough hours...
This could be a sign of several medical conditions such as sleep apnea, (again,) narcolepsy, or vitamin deficiency.
So if you experience any of the above, it would be wise to check in with your doctor and have this sorted.
Myth #4. Quantity over quality.
I know I said most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but it really isn’t the hours of sleep you get that matters…
But rather the quality of sleep.
You’ve most likely heard of the term REM (or rapid eye movement.)
This is the deepest sleep stage and it lasts 90 minutes.
During this stage, your body rebuilds tissues, rests, repairs, and relaxes.
On average we go through 5 REM cycles a night.
But as you age, it’s harder to get into this stage.
That’s why it’s important to develop a night-time routine.
A good routine will help you relax and prepare your body to enter this stage so that you wake up rested and full of energy.
Myth #5. Alcohol helps you sleep better.
This is a common myth many people fall prey to.
While it might seem easy to fall asleep when you’ve had a drink or two, your sleep quality suffers tremendously.
That’s because alcohol disturbs the REM cycle pattern.
This means your sleep becomes light and restless.
If you enjoy having a drink or two on a daily basis, it’s recommended you take your last drink at least 4 hours before going to bed.
Hopefully, you now know with even more certainty that sleep really IS that important when it comes to keeping healthy, staying mentally and physically fit.
And remember - if something feels off with your sleep, and you’re not sure why…
Keep an eye on it, and make sure you’re taking steps to get it back on track.