Most of us know that sleep is one of the main ways through which the body rejuvenates, however, still there exists a large void when it comes to truly understanding this much-needed rest. Scientists have struggled to dig deep into this naturally occurring process, until recent years (1950’s to be exact) and still, there is a long way to go. This is the main reason why there are so many myths regarding the what’s and how’s of sleep. As our education about sleep continues, here are the top misconceptions that you need to clear out for good:
#1. You can catch up on lost sleep by sleeping more on the weekends
There is no such thing as sleep debt. Therefore, the precious hours of sleep that you have lost, are gone. By sleeping in more on weekends, you only tamper more with your already disturbed sleep cycle and for people who don’t get enough sleep, taking this step will only worsen their condition more. You can expect after effects such as laziness, mood swings, lower productivity and even more sleeplessness during the week. The best way to go about this is to make sleep a priority during the week and stick to the set pattern.
#2. You can train your brain to sleep “less”
As humans, our sleep requirement decreases overtime, but it cannot be adjusted according to our own “will”. Infants can sleep up to 20 hours, whereas adults are required to sleep in 7-9 hours. This means that you cannot force your body to break its natural quota and train it to accustom itself to lesser sleep. All this will do is add in more to your fatigue levels including other short-term effects such as lack of concentration, poor memory. But if you carry on this trail, then you will only push yourself towards the adverse long-term after-effects, which includes sleep disorders, strokes, high blood pressure and diabetes.
#3. Daytime naps are a waste of time
The versatile solution to all kinds of sleeplessness involves complete removal of daytime naps. Apparently, for some unknown cause, it is thought that exhausting your body all day will lead to a better, calmer and deeper slumber, which should only be executed at night. However, this is a nothing but a big, fat lie. Several researchers (including NASA) have concluded that 20-30 minute naps can seriously boost productivity and alertness levels in people. Plus many researchers believe that for better sleep, all you need to do is have fixed timings and patterns, rather than accumulate all day fatigue.
#4. Getting up early can improve your sleep quality and pattern
Another common theory suggests that if one experiences sleeplessness, they need to reset their timing but waking up early and then magically, they will be snoozing off by 10 p.m. No, this is never the case. In fact, such drastic changes will only disturb you even more. Sure, resetting your sleep pattern can call in for some extra effort, but shocking your sleep patterns is not one of them.
#5. Staying more in bed can help you fall asleep better
When it’s time for you to sleep, your brain send signals to the body to do so. How does the brain”know” when it’s time for you to sleep? Simple, it reads cues. This is why experts ask people to create a positive association of different daily life elements with their sleep patterns. One of them is your bed. In other words, you should only go to your bed when you are sleepy or drowsy, so that your brain can wire itself to believe that once you are in bed, it’s time to sleep. Staying all day in bed severs this association which results in poor and lesser sleep.
So while the list of myths is not short, feel free to debunk some myths on your own too!