One of the most common sleeping myths is that we need to sleep eight hours a day in order to feel rested and give it our best that day. In reality, every person has his or her sleeping needs. These needs vary from 4 to 14 hours. Some of us need only 6 hours of sleep per night to go full speed through the day, while others need 10 hours of rest in order to function well.
But this is only one of the truths we have unconditionally accepted and that may cause us more stress than rest and comfort. Here are other common ideas about sleeping that we have embraced and that are completely false:
A warm room helps you sleep better. The myth has probably started with the words “cozy”, “warm” and “comfortable” used in ads for “sleeping gear”. Well, the truth is that our bodies rest better in rooms that are a bit chilly, as hot air becomes dry, thus leading to breathing problems. Experts recommend a clean room with a temperature set between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius.
If you stay up during the night, you’ll definitely feel tired all day. Sometimes, you wake up in the middle of the night, completely rested and can’t shut your eyes anymore. Forcing yourself to sleep is never a good idea. Get up and do something relaxing and enjoyable – without disturbing everyone else’s sleep, preferably. You can read, listen to music, or watch a TV show. Our prehistoric sleeping patterns include about 4 hours of sleep, then 1 – 2 hours awake, followed by a couple of hours of sleep again.
Alcohol prevents insomnia. This can be false or true, depending on what your sleeping goal is. A glass of wine before bedtime can trigger a sleepy state faster, but it won’t last long. You will probably wake-up in the middle of the night, when the effect wears out. Plus, alcohol, just like sleeping pills, relaxes the muscles involved in the breathing process, thus provoking snoring and sleep apnea.
You can sleep even if you’re surrounded by noise. You will probably be able to fall asleep, but you won’t be sleeping for long, as noise can interrupt the sleeping cycle and disrupt the sleeping patterns. You won’t get any rest. Just like noise, light won’t let you rest either.
The ideal sleeping atmosphere includes a spacious room, away from the noise and the light (natural or artificial). Make sure that before you are going to bed you have kept the windows opened so that the temperature becomes pleasant and the air fresh.