Who doesn’t love to sleep? Getting quality sleep is essential if you want to live a healthy and happy life. You spend around one third of your life sleeping, but somehow it remains widely misunderstood. Misconceptions regarding sleep are common and not being aware of the facts could affect the quality of your nocturnal rest. We’ve broken down 6 common myths about sleep to help you rest easier and have more energy throughout your day.
Myth #1: I need less sleep, because I’m older
Growing up ultimately means more responsibilities in life, whether it’s at home or at work. It seems we always sacrifice our hours of sleep to check a few more things off our to-do list.
It’s a common misconception…
…that the need for sleep declines as we age.
Although there’s no magic number that’s right for everyone, adults should sleep between 7 to 9 hours a night to ensure they’re getting the sleep they need.(1) The reason we get cranky and have less energy could be as simple as a lack of sleep.
Myth #2: I can catch up on sleep later
Actually, catching up on sleep is not that simple. It’s hard to manage our lives with only a few hours of sleep on weeknights, but we tend to tell ourselves that we can balance it out when the weekend rolls around. Trying to compensate by sleeping late on the weekends isn’t healthy and has no benefits for your body.(2)
Sleeping on the weekend…
…doesn’t undo the damage of your lack of sleep throughout the week.
Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule, otherwise you may suffer from sleep deprivation, which leads to weight gain and an increased risk of chronic disease.
Myth #3: A midday nap can affect my ability to sleep at night
Most of us get sleepy after lunch. It’s normal and happens as a result of a dip in our circadian rhythm around that time.
A power nap during the day…
…can make you more alert and productive in the late afternoon.
Naps are best if they’re short and sweet: around 15 to 20 minutes. Your afternoon nap won’t affect your sleep at night as long as you keep it short.(3) It will leave you feeling refreshed and more energized to get through your day.
Myth #4: A glass of wine before bed helps me sleep better
While alcohol does make you tired and can make you nod off quicker, it might lead to sleep interruptions and keep you awake at night.(4)
…will affect the quality of your sleep, so it’s best to avoid it before you hit the hay.
Instead, have your last drink an hour or two before crawling under the covers to let the alcohol wear off. You’ll feel more rested in the morning.
Myth #5: Scrolling through my newsfeed helps me sleep better
Checking your newsfeed one last time before bed can make it harder for your brain to turn off and relax enough to fall asleep. Studies show that electronic and cell phone use before bed is associated with fewer hours of sleep and poor sleep quality.(5)
The light from your screen…
…stimulates your brain, thereby reducing drowsiness and making it harder to drift off to dreamland.
Make sure you dedicate some time to unwind, and stay away from your screen for the last two hours before bed. If that’s a challenge, keep your cell phone out of your bedroom entirely to avoid the temptation.
Myth #6: Exercising in the evening affects my sleep
But be aware,…
… if you do a vigorous workout an hour before your bedtime, it may get you so pumped up that your sleep suffers.
If you feel like this is true for you, dial the intensity down a bit so you can continue your training plan and running routine in the evening.
To maintain a healthy sleep schedule, make sure to get enough sleep throughout the week. Take some time before bed to tune out from the digital world. The only way to have enough energy throughout the day to stick to your workout routine and achieve your goals is if you maintain a healthy sleep routine.