We all love to sleep. In fact, after a long day, all we can think about is getting home and lying on that comfortable bed and closing our eyes.
However, in this day and age, with the various time constrains we face and the alarm clocks ruling our life, ‘sleep’ is always never enough.
Also, it may not be common but like everything else, sleep too has its very own list of facts and myths. Thus, this week, we at FYI decided to debunk some of those Myths about sleep once and for all, for your information.
MYTH : Sleep is a Passive activity
FACT : Most of us think about sleep as just down-time, a period of rest when we shut down to conserve energy. It may appear on the surface to be an absence of consciousness, but sleep is an active state within the brain. A complex sequence of events, which follows a regular, cyclical pattern every night. Although our bodies remain still and inactive at night, there are countless homeostatic processes going on that we’re unaware of.
MYTH : Older People need less sleep
FACT : It’s a common misconception that when we get older we naturally need less sleep. Whilst it’s true that the elderly tend to experience more fractured sleep patterns, this may be a result of other health issues and the change in circadian rhythms as we age.
MYTH : You can catch up on your sleep on Weekends
FACT: If you’ve had a busy week of work or social engagements you may have incurred some ‘sleep debt’. A common held belief is that you can catch on any hours you missed during the week by sleeping a few extra hours at the weekend. However, some studies have shown that this may not be adequate to fully restore you for the week ahead.
MYTH : To function best, you need to get eight hours.
FACT: There’s nothing magic about that number. Everyone has different sleep needs, and you’ll know you’re getting enough when you don’t feel like nodding off in a boring situation in the afternoon, says New York University psychologist Joyce Walsleben, Ph.D., co-author of A Woman’s Guide to Sleep.
MYTH : If you can get it, more sleep is always healthier.
FACT: You wish. Some studies have found that people who slept more than eight hours a night died younger than people who got between six and eight hours. What scientists don’t know yet: Whether sleeping longer causes poor health or is a symptom of it, says Najib Ayas, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia. Long sleepers may suffer from problems such as sleep apnea, depression, or uncontrolled diabetes that make them spend more time in bed.
MYTH : Some people function perfectly on four hours of sleep.
FACT: Legendary short sleepers — including Bill Clinton, Madonna, and Margaret Thatcher — don’t necessarily do better on fewer Zs. “They’re just not aware of how sleepy they are,” says Thomas Roth, Ph.D., sleep researcher at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Too little sleep is bad for your health and your image: It can make you ineffective (it impairs performance, judgment, and the ability to pay attention), sick (it weakens your immune system), and overweight. In fact, women who slept five hours or less a night were a third more likely to gain 33 pounds or more over 16 years than women who slept seven hours, according to a Harvard Nurses’ Health Study. Oddly, cutting too much sleep and getting less than six hours is associated with the same problems as sleeping too long: a higher risk of heart problems and death. And, of course, cheating on sleep hurts you behind the wheel: “Wakefulness for 18 hours makes you perform almost as though you’re legally drunk,” says Walsleben.