What have you learned?

Myth or truth? Fact check

“Sleep is a time when your body and brain shut down for rest and relaxation.”

FALSE. Your brain doesn’t rest. Sleep is an active physiological process within the brain rather than a passive experience, and it is highly regulated and controlled. You must know that good and sufficient sleep is essential for normal brain function and for your overall health and well-being.

“Naps are a waste of time.”

FALSE. Studies show that a nap before the early-afternoon (around 3 pm) is great for adults too when you have dip in your mood and energy levels, and is even more effective than a cup of coffee. An ideal nap is usually 10-20 minutes. Do not make it last any longer because once the nap lasts beyond 20 min, stage 3 (deep sleep) will occur. Your body and brain will start to develop “sleep inertia”, meaning you do not want to wake up in this stage or due to feeling groggy! But also, do not make it shorter because the studies showed that 5 min naps do little to reduce fatigue, increase vigor, or sharpen thinking. So, cozy up to these 10-20 minute nap benefits! It will boost your memory, improve your job performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease your stress.

“Getting just 1 hour less sleep per night will have an effect on your daytime functioning.”

TRUE. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation of even 15 minutes can have harmful effects.

“Catching up sleep in the weekend works.”

FALSE. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Your memories need to be consolidated within 24 hours of being formed and it also messes up your sleep-wake (circadian) cycle which will have negative effects. Another issue is excess calorie intake due to an imbalance of your hunger hormones. Those extra calories will be stored as fat.

“Keep tossing and turning when you can’t fall asleep (again)”

FALSE. Get up when you lie awake in bed! If you cannot fall (back) asleep within the next 20 min, you better get out of bed and do something to make you tired and ready to sleep again, but don’t toss and turn. Install the idea that your bed is your sacred sleeping area and avoid letting your subconscious associate your bed and bedroom with lying awake.

“People need less sleep as they get older.”

TRUE. Children and adolescents need more sleep than adults. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults (seven to nine hours of sleep per night) but seniors need a bit less (seven to eight hours). Unfortunately, many adults often get less sleep than they need due to many reasons such as work, a snoring bedpartner, children, events, …

“Snoring is a normal part of sleep.”

It depends… Light, infrequent snoring is normal and doesn’t require medical testing or treatment. Its main impact is on the bed partner or roommate who might be bothered by the occasional noise. On the other hand, primary snoring (snoring that occurs more than three nights per week) is more disruptive to bed partners because of its frequency. However it is not usually seen as a health concern, unless there are signs of sleep disruptions or sleep apnea. On this case diagnostic tests may be necessary, thus we advise to consult a doctor.
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