Sleep myths that could be damaging your health

Everyone's an expert when it comes to their own habits and ways and nothing can hurt more than friendly advice that impacts you worse than before. Of course, for most the science behind a good night's sleep seems to be a mystery a coping method you could be using could actually be placebo or negatively impacting both your health and long-term sleep. There's a range of different techniques people try to compensate for lack of sleep and some seem to be able to cope with very little sleep, while others may need far more to feel rested.

But with such a complex situation and with everyone's unique tolerance accounted for, a team of researchers from New York University set out to bust some of the damaging sleep habits and myths, to ensure we all get a better sleep.

"I can cope on less than 5 hours' sleep"

Everyone has heard from world leaders and celebrities of their insane working schedules, claiming their average rest consists of just 5 hours or less in some cases. Their incredible results may even seem tempting, hoping for a way to replicate their success but rest assured that their habit, is not only probably incorrect, but also very dangerous. Success doesn't rely on losing out on such a vital function of human life, since sleep is so vital for our health. It's essential to get a good sleep to recuperate, recovering our lost energy, enabling your brain to rest and your cells to perform their functions without having to work elsewhere. 

Sleeping for five hours or less per night has been linked to an increase of conditions like stroke and heart disease, meaning that over time that lack of sleep will add up and potentially lead to more dire consequences in the long term. Most sleep experts recommend that you aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night.

"Watching TV in bed helps me relax"

We've all been there at some point, some idle background noise helps us often stop those dead-silent nights from making us think more actively and seems to help us drift off, but watching TV in bed can actually be more damaging to your ability to fall asleep and to have a good, restful night. The light displayed from screens often impacts our brains natural release of melatonin, the chemical responsible for sleep. 

The bright light can inhibit your melatonin release and consider this; if the TV ends up waking you up should you fall asleep, that could be yet another interruption to your rest, leading to more time awake. Overtime, it can form as a habit, or dependence that you feel you need the TV or the sound to fall asleep, which could also interrupt your sleep should you not have access to a TV or other such medium.

Of course, some TV content may seem to be a relaxing case to drift off, but a lot of television content is actually formed to be gripping, intense and dramatic. The news often displays stories of trauma and headlines that can impact our lives, which can be stressful - along with your favourite TV dramas that often have characters we feel attached to, negatively impacted. All these situations can lead to increased stress, a further delay from your relaxing rest you require.

"A drink before bed helps me get to sleep"

A nightcap may seem like a common assist for your sleep to some, but alcohol actually impacts your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep quite dramatically. This section of our sleep is critical, as its vital for our learning and memory. Losing critical time to our REM sleep means that we often wake up feeling extremely tired, groggy and lethargic the next day. It's always worth considering, is a drink worth it for the long term impacts?

One more point to consider is the actual function of alcohol in the body. Being a diuretic, you may often wake up in the night with a full bladder which is just another interruption your sleep.

"Hitting the snooze button helps me feel more rested"

Another common feat among many of us is relying heavily on the snooze button for just another 5 minutes, 10 minutes of sleep before the deadline we have to get up every morning. It's far too tempting and when the weather is cold and your bed is incredibly toasty and cosy, we just can't resist sometimes. Though, it's important to make sure to push through and get up when your alarm goes off.

Falling back asleep, for just short periods at a time means we never actually get any resting, genuine sleep. It's low-quality, short-form rest that doesn't really help us feel more rested and restored. A better way to wake up and begin the day is with natural light, which helps us get into gear. 

We hope this article helped you learn a little more into the reasons and habits behind a good night's rest. Of course, if you're struggling to find a good sleep, a brand new bed or mattress may help you find the perfect way to drift off and find the sleep you require. Luckily, our incredible selection of brands and products have been tailored over the years. Our expert team can help you find the perfect fit for you.