7 Sleep Myths
Reported January 13, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — You spend one-third of your life sleeping. Not getting the right amount or the right quality of rest can wreak havoc on your health, but there are a lot of myths surrounding the crucial habit. Here are seven misconceptions about sleep that may surprise you.
It’s the way we rest, relax and recharge our bodies. How much do you need? Myth number one — more is always better.
“You’ll find that they really need between seven and a half to eight and a half hours [of sleep],” Robert Thornton, M.D., sleep medicine specialist and co-medical director of the Florida Hospital Center for Sleep Disorders in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe.
Too much sleep has been linked to diabetes and depression. Some studies have found people who sleep more than nine hours a night die younger — but if you don’t get enough, can you make up sleep? While sleeping in one morning may seem to help, it often makes it more difficult to fall asleep that night and each night after that.
“If you’re doing it on a chronic basis, it’s going to catch up with you,” Dr. Thornton said.
What about naps? It’s a myth that naps are no good, but don’t sleep longer than an hour, and don’t nap after 3 p.m.
Myth number four — snoring is normal. Chronic snoring can put you at risk for heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes. Another myth — you need less sleep as you age.
“We need the same amount of sleep as we get older,” Dr. Thornton said. “We don’t typically get quite as much deep sleep.”
Myth number six — waking up during the night means you didn’t sleep well.
“That depends on how long it takes you to get back to sleep,” Dr. Thornton said.
You’re OK if you fall back asleep within a few minutes. The final myth — insomnia is always caused by worry. While that’s true for some, persistent insomnia is often caused by depression, asthma, arthritis or other medical conditions.
Now that you know the facts, stop counting sheep, and start catching Zs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Lead Operations Supervisor
Florida Hospital Center for Sleep Disorders