We’ve all heard many myths about sleep. Here are some of the common myths we hear and the scientific explanations to show if they’re true or false.
Myth 1: People need less sleep with age
Fact: While it’s likely that we need the same amount of sleep that we did as young adults we are less able to consolidate sleep for the same length of time as when we were younger. Thus, our sleep times tend to be more fragmented. Older people tend to sleep less at night and catch up with more naps during the day.
Myth 2: Everyone needs eight hours of sleep
Fact: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.Children and teens need even more sleep. However, individual variability in sleep need is also influenced by genetic, behavioural, medical, and environmental factors.
Myth 3: You can catch up on lost sleep on the weekends
Fact: Depending on how much ‘sleep debt’ you have accumulated, you can catch up on some lost sleep on the weekends. Whilst it’s not the ideal routine to follow for better health it’s recommended you should try to make up some of that sleep debt in case you have a demanding week ahead. One problem with an irregular sleep schedule is that this may reset your internal circadian clock so you may have difficulty falling asleep at the normal time.
Myth 4: Watching TV helps you fall asleep
Fact: While some people like to have background noise of the TV to help them fall asleep, the changing volume and flickering screen can break up the quality of your sleep and may lead you to wake up in the middle of the night.