BUSTED: 8 sleep myths that actually make you more tired

Imagine this: It’s way past midnight, but you’re still tossing and turning in bed. If that’s you – or worse, that’s you on most days – then you may be an insomniac. In an article in Healthista, sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley talks about some misconceptions about sleep that may be keeping us awake. (h/t to Healthista.com)

  1. Getting eight hours of sleep is a must. “There are no hard and fast rules about the amount of sleep each of us needs,” Stanley explains on the matter. While the normal range is anywhere from five to nine hours, the amount of sleep needed varies from one person to the next. Feeling sleepy during the day, however, is a red flag that says you need more shut-eye time.
  2. There is no such thing as oversleeping. In all things – even in sleep – too much of a good thing can do more harm than good. Science shows that oversleeping is just as bad as sleep deprivation.
  3. You can condition your body to need less sleep. While some people are genetically wired to get by on less sleep than others, this doesn’t mean you can train your body to require less sleep. However, constantly depriving your body of even an hour of rejuvenating sleep will have a negative effect on your health, performance, and mood. Prolonged sleep deprivation is known to make a person more susceptible to conditions such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and obesity.
  4. Sleeping in separate beds/bedrooms is a sign of marital trouble. While some people sleep better when they feel the warmth and security of another person beside them, at least 50 percent of sleep disturbance occurs when someone shares his bed with another. This is why others prefer to sleep alone. The other person shouldn’t feel offended. In fact, sleeping alone can even improve your relationship because betting sleep makes you happier, less exhausted and resentful of the other person.
  5. You can make up for lost sleep on weekends. Catching up on sleep is essential, but making up for lost sleep on weekends can disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue. Our bodies respond better to regular sleep habits, like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. The weekend lie-in disrupts this pattern and makes getting up on Monday morning difficult. Catch up on sleep by going to bed a little earlier, and waking up at the same time each day.
  6. An hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after. We get the deep restorative part of sleep during the first third of the night – or hours before and around midnight. Sleeping at the latter part at night is more easily disrupted.
  7. Tired children go to sleep. This is akin to saying that children will stop eating lollipops when they’re full. Children need a lot more sleep than adults: It’s critical to their physical, mental and emotional development. That’s why they should follow a sleep routine, no matter how much they protest.
  8. You shouldn’t worry about snoring. A lot of people snore, especially when they’re a little overweight or have taken alcohol. However, snoring doesn’t disturb both snorer and his bed partner: It’s also a sign that something isn’t going well in your body. Loud, frequent snoring with regular breathing pauses is known as sleep apnea, a serious disorder that calls for medical attention. Sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), depression, and anxiety.

So, go get your daily ZZZ’s. It will not only make you feel better, but it will also make you look a lot better, too. (Related: 5 Plant-Based Foods to Help You Sleep.)

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