Maybe you’ve fallen for the childish but classic “sugar switched with salt” April Fool’s prank or been tricked into eating a cake with toothpaste instead of icing on April 1st. While it is harmless (although slightly gross) to fall for these tricks, getting fooled into believing some common sleep myths can potentially cause harm to your sleep and overall health. Eight is here to set the record straight.
Myth #1: As you grow up, you need less sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “[w]hile sleep patterns change as we age,the amount of sleep we need generally does not.” Teenagers notoriously sleep a lot, but their recommended hours of sleep time are only slightly more than the recommended amount for older adults which is around 7-9 hours a night.
Myth #2: Counting sheep can help you fall asleep.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t find math and farm animals particularly relaxing. Feeling relaxed before bed is essential to falling and staying asleep. Instead of counting sheep, try thinking of a happy memory. If that doesn’t work, Sleep Junkies suggests getting out of bed and listening to calm music. There are many apps that provide calming white noise and meditation exercises. Eight’s app has a meditation feature as well as a series of relaxing sounds like beach waves and rain. You can also engage in an activity such as yoga that can both relax you and tire you out.
Myth #3: Naps are only for young children.
Try as we might, sometimes we can’t get enough sleep at night. For those of us lucky enough to have some spare time during the day, there is no harm in catching some shut eye if needed. Naps can improve your work performance and creativity. However, Sleep.org cautions against naps that are between 30 minutes and an hour. Naps that length can leave us feeling less alert than before the nap. Naps 20 or 90 minutes are the ideal length.
Myth #4: Snoring is common and harmless.
Snoring could be harmless, or it could be an indication of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can result in life threatening conditions such as heart attacks if left untreated. If you or your partner often snore loudly while sleeping, consult your doctor.
Keeping in mind these facts about sleep from Eight, you will be able to stay informed, healthy, and get your most restful sleep. After all, you’ll need to be alert to keep any eye out for any mayo filled cream donuts.