World Sleep Day: 6 myths about sleep that aren’t actually true


ISLAMABAD, Mar 17: Today is World Sleep Day. So, erm, celebrate by getting some sleep, because it’s bloody well important.
Despite it being something we’ve done since birth, a lot of us struggle with our sleep.

We toss and turn. We lay awake counting up how many hours we’ll get if we fall asleep now… or now… or now.
And because of that, we’re keen to latch on to any tip or trick that’ll make our sleep better or help us learn more.
But often, these don’t actually end up being true.
Here are just a few sleeping myths that aren’t actually that handy.

Last year, a study came out that claimed women need more sleep than men, so all us women should go back to bed and snooze on.
But it’s not quite as simple as that.
While gender does play a role, it’s not as black and white as saying women need more sleep and men need less.
It’s more down to what we’re doing during the day to make us need more sleep.
Dr. Colleen Carney, Associate Professor and Director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University, told ‘It’s probably better to focus on what determines sleep need at a specific time.
‘Sleep need is based on the level of activity and inactivity. If you are more active, your sleep needs may increase.
‘If you spend a lot of time at rest, your sleep need will be lessened.’
So essentially, women aren’t necessarily in need of more sleep because of our biology. We’re just working too bloody hard.

We’ve been told eight hours is the golden amount of sleep since we were kids. But that’s not true.
‘We do not necessarily need eight hours of sleep,’ explains Dr Carney. ‘If you consider how sleep needs are determined, sleep needs can fluctuate up or down.
‘There are also individual differences, some people need as low as six hours and some as much nine hours.
‘When you see recommendations about sleep needs, the purpose of it is to encourage those who are chronically not allocating enough time in bed and are thus sleep deprived.’
So it’s more about seeing how you feel rather than sticking rigidly to the eight hour rule.

That being said, it’s important to know the difference between getting by on sleep, and actually being well rested.
‘Spending too little time in bed is association with many illnesses, but spending too much time in bed, sends the message to the body that you need less sleep, and illnesses such as insomnia can occur,’ says Dr Carney.
‘When we are getting adequate sleep, we produce about the same amount of sleep each night and feel good during the day.
‘Functioning on less sleep is not the same as needing less sleep. Many people can cope with inadequate sleep but they are increasing their vulnerability to cardiovascular disease, cognitive disorders, and early death.’
So get enough sleep that you’re not yawning and in need of a mid-work nap during the day.

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