Debunking Sleep Myths | Part 2
Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Last week we covered some tales surrounding sleep. This week, we continue to shed light on more bedtime stories that interfere with proper rest and abundant health.
Myth 4: You need pills to treat sleep disorders
Sleep deprivation affects cognitive speed, the ability to focus, constructive thinking, mental health, and physical performance. Proper rest, on the other hand, enhances memory, increases metabolism, and makes you more stress-resilient.
A study conducted in 2011 found that practicing mindfulness is an effective way to treat chronic insomnia. Breathing mindfully improves sleep and relieves fatigue. The findings suggest that meditation is a viable method to cope with sleep disturbances and should be included as a part of your sleep hygiene.
The 2014 research found that yoga has a positive impact on sleep since it alleviates stress, helps the body to decompress, and increases circulation throughout the whole body. Doing asanas expand sleep duration, boost sleep efficiency, and reduce daytime fatigue. To enjoy its perks, try these simple poses.
The 2015 study on exercise gave similar results. Only 150 minutes of moderate workout a week can replace medication to manage chronic insomnia and disordered sleep. Aerobics, swimming, riding a stationary bike, moderate cycling or a morning run all contribute to robust health and a good night’s rest.
Taking magnesium and melatonin supplements is another way to lessen the symptoms of insomnia and reset your sleep schedule. Magnesium is a natural mineral that alleviates stress and helps muscles to relax. Melatonin is a hormone with sleep-inducing properties.
With numerous side effects of sleep meds in mind (such as dependency, nausea, vomiting, sleepwalking, hallucinations, memory loss, daytime drowsiness, depression and many more), these supplements are great alternatives to sleeping pills.
Myth 5: Spending time on TV, tablet or, the phone helps you relax
Led screens of tablets, phones, and TVs emit blue light.
Natural blue light benefits memory and cognitive functions. It regulates the sleep-wake cycle, boosts mood, and improves reaction times.
While the blue light wavelengths enhance your alertness during the day, they disrupt your nighttime sleep. According to the latest studies, the blue light affects sleep quality because it suppresses melatonin and consequently, delays the circadian phase.
If you watch TV or spend time online an hour before bed, it will take you longer to fall asleep, and it is most likely that you will wake up tired the following morning. To get the best sleep, create an environment conducive to rest: dim the lights, lower the screen’s brightness, and limit your screen time during evening hours. By minimizing blue light exposure at night, you can curtail its negative impact on your sleep and overall health.
The research suggests that our ancestors slept better than we do because there was less artificial light, so their circadian systems were more in tune with time. The modern age brought along many electronic conveniences that can do us as much harm as they can generate good.
However, not all gadgets hinder your sleep. Thanks to the scientific and engineering elite, there are astonishing advancements in technology which can optimize your sleeping environment and fuel your performance.
Myth 6: Hitting the snooze button
We all reach for the snooze button from time to time. For some of us, it is part of our morning wake up routine. Nevertheless, the researchers at Cleveland Clinic warn that this habit can disrupt REM sleep, which is the most important, restorative state of sleep. After hitting the snooze, one can only hope for “light, poor quality of sleep,” doctor Robert Rosenberg, told CNN.
Doctors state that snoozing the alarm can lead to sleep inertia, which is a feeling of grogginess after you wake up. It usually lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes as you go through the waking process. Once the alarm clock goes off, you should get up, since pressing the snooze and drowsing confuse both the brain and the body. This mix-up can extend sleep inertia for 2 to 4 hours.
When you hear the alarm clock and go back to sleep for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, your body prepares for another sleep cycle, which will not be complete but rather interrupted soon after it begins. “It can leave you feeling fatigued for the rest of the day that lies ahead,” says Neil Robinson, a sleep expert at Sealy.
Sleep Junkie, the mattress company, surveyed over 1000 Americans to learn about their wake up habits. It reports that Americans who wake up thinking about work and money are the least likely to hit the snooze button. Speaking of industries, 45% of those who work in finance and insurance never snooze the alarm.