There are plenty of people looking to sell you sleeping products, and more than willing to drum up interest based on pseudo-science, old wives’ tales and conjecture.
Let’s put some of these myths to bed so that you can make a more informed decision about how to make sleepytime more comfortable and productive.
Myth 1 – I can sleep anywhere as long as I’m tired
Your body needs a place to physically relax during sleeping hours. If you wake up with unknown aches and pains, it may not be from bad dreams or yesterday’s stress. The problem may be completely physical! Your dreams may be your body telling your brain that there is real physical discomfort during sleep.
As a matter of fact, a poorly fitted mattress is a common problem, and may keep you from having those bad dreams that are waking you up. It’s worth reading this Mattress-Guides article for some tips on finding a suitable mattress for your particular needs, whether it’s memory foam or even latex.
Myth 2 – I can “catch up” on my sleep on the weekends when life slows down!
If you are killing yourself during the workweek and trying to sleep in on weekends, you may still be doing your body damage. The best sleep occurs on a schedule.
If you throw your body off with unorthodox sleeping patterns, you can negatively affect your internal clock, brain activity and even your physical ability to balance.
Myth 3 – I should stay in bed if I cannot fall asleep
Scientists do not recommend staying in bed if you cannot fall asleep for some reason. If it is your normal bedtime, odds are that you are experiencing some kind of stress.
Relieve the stress by exercising, taking a hot bath, reading or getting on the phone and talking it out with your significant other. Go back to sleep afterwards.
Myth 4 – I can drink my way to a better night’s sleep
It may be fun to self-medicate with a few drinks if you are feeling like an insomniac. This is not a healthy practice, however. Yes, alcohol is a depressant that slows down the body. This makes you feel as though you are sleeping more deeply.
The truth is that your body is undergoing a great deal of stress converting that alcohol to sugar and removing the poison from your bloodstream. Your overall sleep quality will go down if you repeat this!
Myth 5 – Warm milk is the cure for all of my sleeping problems!
Alcohol is not the answer, and neither is warm milk! Like that six pack, milk may help you feel better over the short term. This is a psychological effect, not a physical one. The body does not release many sleep inducing chemicals after milk, meaning that it’s really all in your head.
Do your due diligence before taking on any new sleep habits based on random information. Bad sleep can mean more than a bad day at the job; you may actually damage your health over time. And if you’re trying to build muscle, a lack of sleep will certainly inhibit this. Sleep is a science – it has patterns and rules. Learn them for a better life!