We debunk 3 myths about sleep
Sleep is the magic medicine. It is critical to your health and performance. And while there is a lot of research on sleep, there are still many misconceptions about a good night’s sleep. We have debunked 3 myths about sleep.
Myth 1: Everyone needs eight hours of sleep
Sleep is a very personal thing. The average sleep cycle is about 90 minutes long, and people have an average of five of these 90-minute sleep cycles per night – which works out to about 7.5 hours. But that’s the average; it is very possible that you need more or less sleep. And how much sleep you need can also differ per night. For example, many women need more sleep than usual just before their period, and less after their period. There are also people whose circadian rhythm changes with the seasons – for example, I need more sleep in the winter months than in the summer months. It’s actually a shame that eight hours of sleep is considered the gold standard. It can cause stress in people who have trouble falling asleep. They crawl into bed thinking, “Okay, if I fall asleep in now and a half, I can still get eight hours of sleep.” And if they can’t sleep, they start to stress about it, because they want to be fit the next day. This stress makes it even more difficult to fall asleep. By letting go of that myth of eight hours of sleep, you may be able to get more sleep in the long run.
Myth 2: You can catch up on sleep
You’ve probably slept through the night and thought, “Oh, I’ll catch up on sleep this weekend.” But it’s nearly impossible to actually catch up on sleep; the human body can only sleep for a certain amount of time at a time. In other words, your body has a limit on how much sleep it needs (which is different for everyone). And if you do go over that limit? Then you often feel even worse. So what should you do if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep? Well, it’s mainly the consistency of your sleep schedule that gives you the most energy and makes you feel better. Research shows that it takes an average of four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep. So it’s not so much about how many hours you sleep, but about resuming your usual sleep routine. It’s a matter of going to bed at the same time every day and getting up at the same time.
Myth 3: You should always get up if you can’t sleep
The last of our 3 myths about sleep revolves around the misconception that having ceiling duty means you’re better off getting up. This can sometimes work: Many experts say that if you’re trying to fall asleep for 20 minutes and can’t, getting out of your bedroom and walking around can help. Some people take this the wrong way and literally run, hoping to make their bodies tired enough to fall asleep. Although daily exercise is very important for a good night’s sleep, it is certainly not recommended to be active if you want to fall asleep. In order to sleep, your body temperature has to drop. When you start doing a workout, your body temperature rises and it takes much longer to get back to the level that you can sleep. In addition, you create adrenaline with sports, and that does not really help to get into dreamland. Conclusion: don’t exercise less than four hours before bedtime and certainly don’t go for a run in the middle of the night if you can’t sleep.