How Important is your Sleep ? For ages, parents and grandparents have conjured up fairy tales with castles, kings, dragons and demons in an effort to put their little ones to sleep. Some have been more effective at it than the rest. But all have tried. So how about we try telling you some, just like the ones you must’ve heard? Ones about sleep itself. Believing which we have slept with ignorance for ages. Here are
myths and habits about sleep followed by many:
1. TV helps you fall asleep.
This is a common practice for millions across the globe. While we expect the boredom generated out of having no specific activity will help induce sleep, that is not quite what happens. Television emits a blueish light that the body usually associates with wakefulness alertness. Quite the opposite of sleep happens. But there are many who will show no difference in sleep patterns under same circumstances. But since this is true for only 2-3% of the population, it is a good idea to not try to verify this and mess up your sleep patterns.
2. Older people require lesser hours of sleep than people of younger ages.
I’m sure most of us believe this to be true. As adolescents or adults we understand the importance of sleep. But as we proceed towards old age maybe because we are no longer involved in as much physical activity we think it is okay to sleep for lesser hours. The only reason old people sleep less is because of difficulty in falling asleep and change in circadian rhythms.
Ideally a 70 year old requires as much sleep as he did when he was 35.
3. Snoring is common and not that important.
It is not even considered an object of worry in many households. But if you know why there’s more at stake than your roommate’s precious hours of sleep you’d be forced to change your views. If you’re a snorer it could be your body’s signal that its airways are constricted, tissue formation in the windpipe and that heart is under pressure which could lead to enlargement and even stroke. You could be losing out on valuable deep sleep as the body struggles to keep breathing while you’re ‘sound’ asleep.
4. It is possible to get by on 4 hours of sleep and make up for it on weekends.
In a schedule as busy as ours, 2 or 3 hour nights is something none of us are strangers to. Rather its repercussions is what we’re ignorant of or choose to ignore in any case. The adult body needs a minimum amount of sleep far north of what we usually get. It may seem okay to pull off 12 hours of sleep on weekends and get even, but alas the effect of these extra hours wears off shortly. The only thing you can gain by following such sleep patterns is ‘chronic sleep debt’ that affects brain and body functioning as studies have proven.
A minimum of 7 hours sleep is required for maximum productivity, good health and long life.
5. If you need a nap during daytime, you are just lazy.
For long, siestas in the afternoon have been associated with the lazy, the obese and other adjectives we all prefer to stay away from. But it’s time we widened our view. Now, we must associate it with the clever, the perfectionist, and the humble.
A midday nap may be necessary for anyone who wishes to do best as whatever is his/her job.
Midday naps are shown to improve work efficiency for those pulling long hours at the office.
So you can say it’s a work strategy much like time management and optimization.
6. Lying in bed for longer helps you fall asleep.
One of the most widely popular myths about sleep. Advice has been given time and again that if sleep evades you, try lying around in bed; it will help. As if the bed is some sort of vortex that will catch sleep flying around in the wind and channel it onto you lying in bed. Now that’s not true, is it? What’s worse you could end up losing sleep because of this habit.
Lying around awake in bed makes the body associate the bed with something other than sleep which makes falling asleep difficult further on.
Better to just take a walk or engage in some activity till sleep announces itself.