There are so many misconceptions about sleep swirling around out there that it’s enough keep anyone awake at night.
Here are 6 sleep myths that need to have the covers pulled over their heads:
The older I get, the less sleep I need: As is the case with many popular myths, this assumption has a kernel of truth at its heart. According to Robert Oxeman, M.D., Director of the Sleep to Live Institute, it’s true that developing children need more sleep than fully-grown adults. Once a person reaches adulthood, however, their sleep needs remain relatively constant, even as they age.
It’s okay to play catch-up: Most people believe that a few hours of lost sleep one night can be recouped by going to bed earlier the following night. However, Timothy Monk, Ph.D., Director of the Human Chronobiology research program at the University of Pittsburgh, says that this trusting this piece of fiction can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Even if you try to go to bed just a half-hour earlier than normal, you may find it challenging to fall asleep. This is due to what sleep specialists call the “forbidden zone” (aka. second wind), a period of heightened wakefulness that people experience in the hours preceding their usual bed time. Because this “forbidden zone” is keyed into your individual circadian rhythm, it’s near impossible to override. And, even if you do manage to fall asleep earlier than usual, you’ll likely feel groggier in the morning than you would have if you had just gone to bed at your normal time.
Evening alcohol is a no-no if I want a sound snooze: Experts occupy both sides of the divide when it comes to this sleep issue. Mainstream modern science has advised us that swearing off alcohol before bed is the best course of action if one desires a solid night’s sleep. Oxeman explains the rationale: alcohol may indeed help you fall asleep faster, but it often leads to more disrupted and fitful sleep. He suggests abstaining from alcohol from early evening on. According to Monk, however, a single glass of Merlot at bedtime may help your head hit the pillow more easily by reducing your level of arousal. The jury’s still out as to which piece of advice to adhere to, though.
Keep reading to learn why a midnight pee break won’t disrupt your sleep cycle…
6 Myths About Aging and Sleep That Should Be Put To Bed originally appeared on AgingCare.com