July 13, 2019 | Categories: Sleep
The real reason you can’t fall asleep might not be as simple as you think. If you’ve ever said, “I need to catch up on sleep,” or cranked up the radio while driving to offset fatigue, you’ve been letting some of these myths creep into your life. Quit believing in these six misconceptions and instead take our experts’ advice on how to kick that tired feeling to the curb — for good.
“I have to get eight hours of sleep because that’s what’s recommended.”
There isn’t a magical amount of sleep that’s universally right for everyone. Dr. W. Christopher Winter, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine recommends a healthy, young person aim for seven-and-a-half to eight hours a night, but it’s a matter of personal trial and error. If you get eight hours of sleep a night and you’re exhausted during the day, that might not be enough for you. On the other hand, if you’re getting a solid seven and a half hours of sleep a night but you experience trouble passing out at night, that could be your brain saying it doesn’t need quite as much time in bed as you may think it does. The amount of sleep your body requires may change over the years, so listen to it and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
“If I miss sleep during the week, I can make up for it on the weekend.”
You can catch up on short-term sleep debt if you do it within a few days, explains Dr. Winter. If you slept poorly last night, go to bed early tonight and you’ll probably make up for the sleep you lost. But you can’t make up for the zzzs you lose over a long period of time. Trying to catch up on those all-nighters you had in college with better shut-eye now isn’t going to repair any damage done.
“My snoring is normal and not really a problem.”
Although 40 percent of us will snore at some time, it shouldn’t go ignored, Joyce Walsleben, RN, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine says. Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Sometimes people with sleep apnea wake up during the night gasping for breath. These breathing pauses all night long can strain the heart and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Snoring can happen at any age and should be evaluated by a doctor to determine what’s causing it. Sometimes sleeping on your side or with your head elevated will make a difference, as will weight loss in those that are overweight, Walsleben says.
“If I wake up in the middle of the night, I should stay in bed and try to fall back asleep.”
While you may think counting sheep will send you back into Snoozeville, if hundreds of animals have traipsed through your mind and you’re starting to feel stressed out about it, getting out of bed may help, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
“If you can lie in bed awake in the dark and stay relaxed, thinking positive thoughts, then I advise those people to stay in bed,” Winter says. “The people I tell to get out of bed and go to a new environment are those who get frustrated and irritated when they can’t fall back asleep.” If that’s the case for you, go to another room and try reading a book. “The last thing we want is for someone to attach a feeling of frustration to their sleep environment,” Winter says. “We don’t want people to try to fall asleep.”
If you wake up in the middle of the night and experience problems falling back asleep frequently, change up your bedroom by buying new sheets, painting your room or making the room darker with new blinds. Make it feel like a different environment other than the one you associate with your lack of sleep.
Read the full article on HuffingtonPost.com.
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