Sleep Better with Runtastic: 8 Myths About Sleep
Have you ever wondered if it’s actually possible to fall asleep while standing? Or, if you sleep better after a beer in the evening? There are many myths about sleep out there. Today, we are going to bust some of the most common sleeping myths.
Myth #1: Grandma and grandpa need less sleep
Older people do not need less sleep than the younger generation. It just seems that way because most of them are already wide awake at 6 a.m. The elderly actually need just as much sleep as most adults.
The only difference is that older people sleep more often, but for shorter durations (i.e. take an afternoon nap). In addition, the older you get, the fewer deep sleep phases you’ll reach during the night. Therefore, elderly people have lighter sleep overall.
Myth #2: I’ll get back my ZZZ’s on the weekend
We have all had weeks where we don’t manage to go to bed before midnight. However, the alarm still rings at 6:30 a.m. and our body builds up a sleep debt. The thing is, we can’t just cut that debt down to zero with one night of good sleep on the weekend.
By the way, did you know it is also impossible to build a “sleep reserve”? The best thing to do is to try to sleep approx. 8 hours each night. Your body will thank you.
Myth #3: The healthiest sleep takes place before midnight
It’s not necessarily the time of day, but the first deep sleep phases that count when it comes to healthy sleep. Those phases can also occur after midnight. The perfect setting for valuable deep sleep phases is a calm atmosphere and in a bed, rather than sleeping on the couch. You also want to avoid being surrounded by TV, radio sounds, etc.
Myth #4: Alcohol makes us sleep better
It’s the dose that makes the poison. A sip of beer or wine is often used as sleeping aid before going to bed. While alcohol does help us relax, it is highly doubtful that it improves sleep quality. Alcohol consumption can lead to interrupted deep sleep phases throughout the course of the night. Bottom line: a glass of alcohol might help us fall asleep, but it prevents us from getting healthy, restful sleep and might cause us to wake up exhausted the next morning.
Myth #5: “I could fall asleep while standing up…”
It is possible to fall asleep while standing, but we’ll never reach a deep sleep phase. As soon the body hits a deep sleep phase, our muscles relax and we slump down. Therefore, we can never sleep deeply when standing.
Myth #6: It doesn’t matter whether I sleep with or without light
You fell asleep on the couch. The TV is on, the lights are too. A familiar situation, right? However, keep in mind that sleeping in the dark makes sense, as light strongly influences our wake-sleep cycle. This is due to the hormone, melatonin, which is produced when it is dark.
Another interesting fact: Not all colors have the same influence on sleep. Studies showed that blue light has the worst effects on our sleep.
Myth #7: Late risers can turn into early birds
Our body clock is genetically programmed right from our birth. While we can train our bodies and adapt them to certain wake-up times (i.e. to ensure we show up to work on time), an early bird will never turn into a late riser and vice versa.
Long sleepers are often considered lazy, while early birds are pictured as hard-working and productive. This is due to the fact that standard working times are better for a morning person’s rhythm. Long sleepers, on the other hand, have their most productive phase in the evening–which is usually after work.
Myth #8: My own snoring wakes me up
Some people say they wake up due to their own, loud snoring. However, it is very unlikely to get woken up by one’s own snoring when in a deep sleep phase. Most individuals who experience this are awake or are transitioning from a light sleep into a wake phase, which is is why they are able to hear their own snoring.