Post by Jessica Schoenenberger
How well do you sleep?
This question seems to be cropping up lately. You could say sleep issues seem to be an epidemic. New articles and studies about the importance of sleep to our health come out every day. But still, there are so many common misconceptions about sleep, that even I’m guilty of thinking. Read on to find out the truths behind some of these sleep myths that I have found.
1. You Can Make Up Lost Sleep on the Weekend
Unfortunately, as much as we wish, you can’t make up for your lack of sleep by sleeping all day Saturday. You feel the effects of sleep debt during the week in foggy brain, lethargy, and more. And while sleeping extra long on the weekend might feel nice, it throws off your internal body clock. The best thing you can do for yourself is stick to a schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Yes, even on the weekends.
2. 8 Hours of Sleep is Best
All your life you’ve heard that 8 hours of sleep is the healthiest. But in reality different age groups need different amounts of sleep, and so do individuals. Kids 9-13 years old need 10 to 13 hours. 14 to 17 year olds need 8 to 10. And adults need 7 to 9. Personally, I function great with 7 hours of sleep. It’s best to shoot for somewhere in between 7 and 9 and see where you feel the healthiest.
3. People Who are Sleepy During the Day Must not Get Enough Sleep
There are many disorders where a person gets enough sleep, but it isn’t quality sleep, and they end up not feeling their best. If you have sleep apnea, you may always feel tired during the day, even accidentally snoozing at times. If you’re getting your 7-9 hours but are still exhausted, check out what might be causing it, and talk to your doctor if necessary. Could just be that you need a new mattress! (We might be biased on that one).
4. Insomnia Only Means You Can’t Fall Asleep
Speaking of sleep disorders, insomnia tends to be the one we’re most familiar with. But did you know there are many types, and it doesn’t just mean you can’t fall asleep? Not being able to remain sleeping once you fall asleep is another type of insomnia. There’s also acute and chronic insomnia. Acute might be from external factors and resolve on its own, which chronic might need some treatment. If you are having continual trouble sleeping in any way, you should address it.
5. Drinking Alcohol Makes You Sleep Better
While you might crash harder after relaxing with a few drinks, the quality of your sleep won’t be as good. You might fall asleep quicker, but your REM sleep will be sacrificed. It also affects how well you can breathe at night, and makes sleep apnea worse. Plus, you most likely won’t wake up feeling refreshed. So don’t turn to a nightcap to fix any of the sleep issues we’ve been talking about.
There are so many factors that go into a good nights sleep. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all, easy solution. Taking the time to experiment with your own sleep habits and behaviors while keeping a log may be the best way to determine your personal needs to hit that sweet spot of sleep your body needs.