Busted: Top 5 Sleep Myths That Can Harm Your Health
Here’re the top sleep myths that you should certainly not fall prey to.
Here’re the top sleep myths that you should certainly not fall prey to.(Photo: iStock)

Busted: Top 5 Sleep Myths That Can Harm Your Health

We spend one third of our life sleeping. Hence, there must be a good reason why nature makes us sleep for this long. Large number of studies all over the world have shown the beneficial effects of good sleep.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, gives rise to a variety of health issues as pointed out by researchers time and again. And a number of myths around sleep add to the health hazard of chronic sleep deprivation.

A new study, published by a group of researchers in the journal Sleep Health, has enlisted 20 most prevalent sleep myths and debunked them.

Talking about the study, Rebecca Robbins, Lead Investigator of the study from New York University, said:

Sleep is a vital part of life that affects our productivity, mood, and general health and well-being. Dispelling myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits which, in turn, promote overall better health. 

Here’re the top sleep myths that you should certainly not fall prey to:

Common Myths About Sleep

Here’re some of the common myths about sleep:

Loud Snoring is Completely Normal

While snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.
While snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

It’s one of the most common myths that snoring is completely harmless.

Snoring is a condition where something in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs blocks breathing while sleeping. This produces a soft/loud and unpleasant sound.

While snoring can be harmless in certain cases, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.

Dr Dillon Dsouza, a Mumbai-based Consultant ENT and Head and Neck Surgeon with Jaslok Hospital and Desai hospital, explains:

Sleep apnea is when there are one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep. Pauses may last a few seconds to minutes, and as many as 30 times an hour. Breathing usually restarts with a loud snort or choking sound.

Dr Dsouza adds that in adults, it’s a sign of worry when there’s loud chronic snoring almost every night, choking, snorting or gasping during sleep, waking up often feeling out of breath, waking up with a dry mouth, daytime sleepiness and tiredness, going to bathroom often at night, forgetfulness and decreased concentration, and morning headaches.

The authors of the study also encourage patients not to dismiss loud snoring, but rather to see a doctor since this sleep behaviour may lead to heart stoppages or other illnesses.

Also Read : Snoring May Not Be as Harmless as You Think. Here’s How to Stop It

You Need Less Sleep as You Age

This has to be one of the oldest myths in the sleep bible, that you don’t need as much sleep as you grow old.
This has to be one of the oldest myths in the sleep bible, that you don’t need as much sleep as you grow old.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

This has to be one of the oldest myths in the sleep bible, that you don’t need as much sleep as you grow old. It’s time we stop any further perpetration of this myth - all adults need seven-eight hours to sleep per night on an average. Period.

The National Sleep Foundation, USA, recommends seven to nine hours sleep every night till the age of 64 and seven to eight hours for anyone over 65.

Speaking to FIT earlier, Pulmonologist Dr Vikas Maurya, said:

The range of sleep for all adults is 6-8 hours. This also means that for someone above the age of 80, six hours of sleep is adequate for smooth functioning of the body. 

So do see a doctor if you can’t get enough sleep.

Also Read : Myth Busted: Do You Think You Need Less Sleep as You Age?

Alcohol & Television Before Bed Help You Relax

Drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is indeed unhealthy for sleep.
Drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is indeed unhealthy for sleep.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Many of us feel that a glass of our favorite brandy just before bed will help us get a good night’s sleep. But it is a myth.

The authors of the study, found, that despite beliefs to the contrary, drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is indeed unhealthy for sleep.

The same holds true for watching television before bed. Or for that matter, any screen that emits light.

A recent study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that blue light emitted from smartphones and other digital devices can accelerate blindness by transforming vital molecules in the eye's retina into cell killers.

Also Read : My Sleep Diary: How I Trained Myself to Go to Bed on Time

You Can Sleep At Any Time of The Day

Working night shifts may deteriorate your quality of life by affecting your bladder, researchers have warned.
Working night shifts may deteriorate your quality of life by affecting your bladder, researchers have warned.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

There’s a reason why sleep experts emphasize the importance of having a consistent sleep schedule. Our bodies’ internal clocks are naturally aligned to day and night which is why people who work on night shifts experience a range of health issues.

A study, undertaken by scientists from Washington State University (WSU), says the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes go up if you work night shifts. The research revealed that different organs have a mind of their own and there is a separate biological clock for the liver, gut, and pancreas.

Three days of being on a night shift schedule has the potential to disrupt metabolism, found the study.

Also Read : Working Night Shifts May Increase Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer

Your Brain Can Function Just As Well With Less Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation can make your brain weak.
Chronic sleep deprivation can make your brain weak.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

A big NO! Several studies have highlighted the affect poor sleep has on one’s body. A study published in the journal Sleep, found that people who slept for six hours were four times more likely to become sick than people who slept for at least seven hours.

Chronic sleep deprivation can make your brain weak. You can experience impaired learning, poor judgement and even emotional problems.

(With inputs from IANS)

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