There are so many myths about sleep and so many people who believe that the rules apply to everyone but them.  The truth of the matter is that our bodies need so much sleep and they are designed to work with our environment.  This includes the fact that it is light out during the day and dark at night.   So here are five myths about sleep that everyone thinks do not apply to them and why you should not ignore them.

1.       I do not need 7-8 hours of sleep.  There are a small group of people who are short sleepers and trust me you probably are not one of them.  Life everything 7-8 hours is an average.  But our bodies need this much sleep so we can go through the different stages of sleep.  If you do not get enough sleep you will not wake refreshed.   During the first third of the night you will be in slow wave sleep which is where your body heals and grows.  The last part of sleep is when you have your extended REM cycle, when you dream, this allows your brain to reboot.  If you wake too early you miss out on the last REM or worse you will wake during it.

2.       I need the television on to sleep.  This one is so untrue it hurts.  Television is actually designed to wake you up by using the flashing of light and dark.  If you have a sleep disorder that causes you to wake during the night or that keeps you from maintaining sleep having the television on will keep you from returning to sleep.  Again the light will stimulate you and keep you from going back to sleep.  You do not need the television to go to sleep.  You need a stronger sleep routine prior to going to bed so you can go to sleep faster.  If you are waking during the night you should talk to your doctor because it may be a symptom of another issue that is not being treated.

3.       If I stay up all night and cram for work, a test or anything I will do better.  The truth is our minds move things from short term to long term memory when we sleep.  So if you give up sleep you will not recall information as easily or as quickly.  Also sleep deprivation causes issues such as poor memory recall and the inability to concentrate.

4.       I can make up my missed sleep by sleeping in on the weekends or on weekdays.  There is an element of truth to this but our body is not designed to constantly miss sleep and then make it up a week or two weeks later.  Our body craves routine.  This is why you should have the same bedtime every night.  That does not mean you cannot go out once in a while but a routine of regular sleep is what will help you achieve optimal health.

5.       Alcohol helps you to sleep better.  Although a drink can help you to go to sleep faster over the night it will actually cause disruption of your sleep.  Your body goes through a certain cycle of sleep and alcohol keeps the second half of the night from going the way it should.  Instead you will have multiple awakenings and will not be able to go into dream stages properly.  If you do drink you should stop three hours before going to bed so it will not affect your sleep.

Sleep is probably one of the easiest ways to help you be healthy.  However if you do not take it seriously you can develop problems from sleep deprivation.  Create your routine, go to bed at the same time each night and make sure you get enough sunlight in the morning and you will soon see that you will have more energy and a sharper mind.


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