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Don't Fall for These Sleep Myths

By Stepy Kamei

It's safe to say there is a multitude of informational material out there regarding the importance of sleep, and how exactly to get proper amounts of it. Unfortunately, there are more than a few myths and misconceptions, which inevitably get caught up in the mix of information. It's important to separate the facts from the fiction when it comes to learning how you can get a deep and restful sleep each and every night. Keep on reading to learn more about the myths surrounding sleep -- so you know what you actually should be doing when it comes to getting proper rest at night!

Myth 1: You Can Get Used to Sleeping Less

One common sleep myth is that, over time, you can adjust or even "train" your body and mind to become accustomed to sleeping fewer hours per evening.

In reality, the body needs to experience all four phases of sleeping in order to truly gain the benefits of rest. These phases include the early stages of falling asleep and disengaging with your environment, before moving into deep REM sleep. This is why most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Myth 2: Alcohol Before Bed Can Lull You

Many people swear by drinking a nightcap before bedtime in order to induce feelings of sleepiness. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it's been shown that alcohol limits the body's ability to fall into deeper and more restful sleep phases. This means that you'll wake up feeling groggy and not well-rested at all. Consider swapping out your nightcap with a cup of warm herbal tea instead, if you want to continue drinking a soothing beverage at night.

Myth 3: If You Can't Fall Asleep, Keep Trying

You may have heard that if you wake up in the middle of the night, you should keep your eyes closed and wait to fall back asleep no matter how much time it takes. Sleep experts are now saying that it's actually only good to try this method for about 15 minutes. If you can't fall back asleep in this time frame, it's better to get out of bed and perform a mindless activity, such as reading or listening to a soothing podcast. This is to make sure that your body and brain only associate your bed with sleeping, rather than wakefulness.

Myth 4: Catching up on Sleep at Any Time Is Better Than Nothing at All

If you missed out on sleep last night, or the past few nights, you might be tempted to push yourself to the weekend, where you can nap during the day to your heart's content. Unfortunately, too much napping can actually be detrimental to your overall rest and sleep hygiene. It's crucial to adhere to your body's natural circadian rhythms as much as possible. This means staying alert and wakeful during the daylight hours, and sleeping during the evening when it's dark outside. Straying from this pattern too frequently can interrupt your sleep phases and lead to issues such as mood swings, weight gain, irritability, and reduced focus and concentration.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Durham, N.C.

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