These Sleep Myths Can Be Damaging to Your Health. Know The Facts and How to Get Rest
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Have you ever uttered these words? I know I certainly did in college. I felt like it was possible to get my missed sleep later and that I wouldn’t suffer.
Here’s the truth: sorry, but there’s no way to “catch up” on your sleep. You need rest and you need it now. When was the last time you felt really rested? Answer yourself honestly.
Unfortunately, about one-third of Americans say they get less than the recommended seven hours of rest. We’re one tired nation, and it’s proving detrimental to our health.
Busting Sleep Myths
There are plenty of common sleep myths. You might even believe some of them. Let’s look at common sleep myths and why they’re not true.
“I can fall asleep anywhere.”
This isn’t actually good. We aren’t Sims, we aren’t made to just fall down and sleep on the ground, or in a cab, or anywhere that isn’t a bed. The ability to fall asleep easily during the day is actually a sign you may need to get more sleep at night.
“Only kids need around eight hours of sleep. I’m fine with five hours.”
Nope! Adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep a night to properly function. You can’t adequately go through the day with enough mental sharpness on so little sleep.
“I can catch up later.”
Sleep isn’t like a gas tank that you can just “top off” when you’re low. You need to get a proper amount of sleep every night. It’s not possible to catch up on the weekend or in a few days. Your body won’t know the difference. It will just know that it didn’t get enough sleep.
“It won’t hurt if I sleep a little less.”
Sure, every now and then. However, making it a habit isn’t recommended. You may have trouble focusing or remembering things, or even have a lowered ability to fight off infection.
Why You Need Sleep
Do we really need to explain why you need sleep? It’s vital for our health and has the following benefits:
Improve concentration and problem-solving
Muscle and tissue repair
Regulate blood sugar
Repair immune system
Ongoing sleep deprivation is linked to a range of health problems including high blood pressure, weight gain, cardiovascular issues, and other issues. It can even cause early death because of complications from these concerns. It also affects us mentally by increasing the risk of depression, causing memory problems, and impairing judgment.
If you regularly hit the snooze, have trouble concentrating, or just feel run-down all the time, you may not be getting enough sleep. Fitbit and other fitness bands give us the ability to track our sleep with measurable data but you should also listen to your body. If you find yourself reaching for the caffeine or trying to stay awake, look at your sleep habits and make adjustments.
Here’s how to get a better night’s rest.
Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment
So how do you get to sleep and feel well-rested? The key is getting a good nighttime routine that’s and establishing the perfect sleep environment. Sleep is precious and it’s time to treat your bedtime routine with reverence.
Try to go to bed at the same time every night or as close to the same time as possible. Your body will get used to the routine and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep over time.
Create a routine for winding down. This can involve writing down anything on your mind, reading a book, having a cup of tea, or simply taking a nice shower or bath. You may even want to meditate or practice mindfulness. Do this 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to sleep so your body can start to relax.
You already know this but stop looking at your phone before bed! The phone is the worst thing you could look at night because it emits blue light and this triggers your brain to stay awake. While some phones feature a feature to block blue light, the better choice is to just end your phone use at least an hour before bed. Instead of reading your phone, pick up a regular book or use an e-reader with blue light blocking.
Next, you should look at where you sleep. Is it comfortable? The recommended temperature for sleeping is 60 to 67 degrees according to experts. Bedroom temperature can dramatically affect the quality of your sleep. Don’t be afraid to adjust the temp if you’re tossing and turning. Your body naturally decreases its temperature as you drift to sleep and having a cooler space will help with this.
Now that you’ve established the temperature for your body, it’s time to figure out the best sleeping position for your needs. The #1 one to sleep is on your back…but it’s not popular. It’s the healthiest position in terms of pressure on your body because it put your head, neck, and spine. Now if you have sleep apnea, it’s not recommended you sleep on your back because your tongue may block your breathing tube. Individuals with sleep apnea should try to sleep on their side, the #2 best position for sleeping. This position is good for preventing neck and back pain. You do put pressure on your face which can cause wrinkles, so be sure you invest in a good skincare routine and use satin pillowcases if possible.
Finally, it’s time to think about the process you use to fall asleep. Turn the clock around so you don’t stare at the blinking digits. You should close your eyes and try to relax. If you have worries clouding your mind, write them down before bed. Try to get as comfortable as possible and release the tension in your body.
By following these tips and trying to create a natural sleep routine, you’ll be getting better quality zzzs in no time.