If you are actively looking for ways to boost the quality of your sleep, there is a good chance that you have encountered a host of untruthful myths. It is important to separate the facts from the fiction if your end goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. This article examines six of the most common sleep myths and why they are just not true.
The Six Most Common Sleep Myths
Anyone concerned about getting a good night’s sleep has probably come across the following six popular sleep myths. Read on to discover the flaws in these often-repeated “facts” so that you don’t get duped in your quest to get the sleep you need.
Your Brain is Not Active During Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the brain actually remains active and alert when the body is at rest. The brain is also able to continually control body functions even when you are sound asleep. For example, this is why you still breathe even in the deepest stages of sleep. Some parts of the brain are even more active when the body is at rest, processing thoughts, emotions and memories from throughout the day.
You Slept Well if You Remember Your Dreams
The ability to recall a dream is more related to what cycle of sleep you were in when you woke up rather than how soundly you were sleeping. You are more likely to remember a dream if you wake up during or just following the REM sleep cycle. This is because the memory of the dream has not yet faded, making it easier for you to remember all of the details. You are able to dream during all stages of sleep, however, the dreams are more likely to be vivid if they happen during the REM cycle. This fact also aids in the recall of these dreams.
You Should Not Wake a Sleepwalker
Many people erroneously believe that waking a sleepwalker may cause them to suffer a heart attack. While it is true that you may confuse the sleepwalker or cause them to become momentarily scared, it is not inherently dangerous to wake them. In fact, it is more important to wake a sleepwalker so that they do not accidentally injure themselves. When confronted with a sleepwalker, the best action that you can take is to try to gently coax him or her back into the safety of their bed.
Health Problems Are Unrelated to Quality of Sleep
This dangerous myth could not be any more false. Numerous studies have demonstrated the undeniable link between both the quantity and quality of your sleep and your overall health. The health effects of poor sleep include physical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Mental health issues linked to subpar sleeping patterns include depression and anxiety. The research makes it clear that you are more likely to enjoy good physical and mental health if you are diligent about getting quality rest each night.
Eating Cheese Before Bedtime Causes Nightmares
One of the most prevalent sleeping myths in the Western world is that eating cheese prior to bed leads to nightmares. The only bit of truth in this myth is that eating a large meal before falling asleep may cause heartburn or indigestion, interfering with the quality of your sleep. Also, if gut irritation keeps waking you up, you may be more likely to remember your dreams, causing you to believe that you are experiencing nightmares. The truth is just that the food, in general, is disrupting your sleep and making you erroneously believe that you are experiencing bad dreams.
Staying in Bed When You Wake Up Will Help You Fall Back Asleep
There are few things more frustrating than not being able to fall back asleep after you wake up in the middle of the night. While you may think that you should just lie there until you drift off again, lying in bed for more than 20 minutes may actually hinder your efforts.
If you have not fallen back asleep after 20 minutes, it is a better idea to get up and engage in a relaxing activity somewhere outside of the bedroom. Good ideas include reading or listening to soft music. The goal is to tire the body out and then crawl back into bed to hopefully catch that elusive sleep.
Why it is Important to Know the Most Popular Sleep Myths
An educated sleeper is a more restful sleeper. You will get the most out of your time at rest if you do not buy into these popular sleep myths. Instead, separating the myths from the truth and leaning into science can provide you with the right formula to achieve optimal levels of rest. This will ensure that you have the knowledge to make good decisions about your sleeping habits.