We’ve all heard some of these common myths about sleep, “Never wake someone who’s sleepwalking”, “adults can do with less sleep”, “alcohol helps you sleep”.
But are any of them true?
Today, we’re dispelling some of the most popular sleep-related myths – some of which are fun and harmless, while others can possibly save your life! (Or at least, your health.)
Myth 1: Counting sheep helps you doze off
At a glance, the rationale behind this technique is simple – counting sheep is boring and repetitive, so the sheer boredom should surely send us straight into dreamland.
However, when researchers at Oxford University put this theory to the test, they found some interesting results. Contrary to folklore, counting sheep did not help participants fall asleep faster. Surprisingly, when compared to visualising calming images (such as a beach), people took a full 20 minutes longer to drift to sleep!
So, the next time your brain is overactive at night – instead of giving yourself sheep to count, zen out with visuals of a serene beachfront. It’s proven to be more effective!
Myth 2: Adults can do with less sleep
Spurred by a wave of “productivity culture” and supposed “experts” who proudly claim to have trained their bodies to thrive on only a few hours of sleep each night, many people now (incorrectly) believe that adults can live their best lives on 5 hours of sleep or less.
While it’s true that a select group of people – notably, individuals with a “short sleep gene” – can sleep for a few hours every night without ill effects, that certainly doesn’t hold true for most of us. Some famous “short sleepers” include Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Margaret Thatcher – who were known to sleep for 6 hours or less each night.
What about the rest of us, then? Science shows that adults need between 7 to 10 hours of sleep every day. In fact, a study of British civil servants found that participants who reduced their sleeping hours from 7 hours to 5 hours each evening, doubled their chances of death from all causes.
Want more proof? Check out how many hours of sleep these leaders and CEOs are known the get on a regular basis:
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore | 6.5 to 7 hours
Warren Buffet, legendary investor |8 hours
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple | 7 hours
Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft |7 hours
Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.com | 7 hours
Myth 3: Alcohol helps you get a good night’s sleep
While alcohol may allow a person to doze off more quickly, the quality of sleep you’ll get while inebriated is definitely lower than it should be.
This is because alcohol affects REM sleep, which is an important stage of the sleep cycle – and helps us to wake up feeling fresh and energised. Lending more credibility to this piece of evidence, research published by the Addiction Science & Clinical Practice shows that alcohol users report significantly higher rates of sleeping problems, such as clinical insomnia.
So, if you’re using alcohol as a solution for getting better sleep, stop. Ditch the booze and get a plush yet supportive latex mattress from Sofzsleep instead. It’s a lot better for your health, and as a long-term investment, more affordable too!
Myth 4: Never wake a sleepwalker!
This is a myth that’s build on good intentions, but not as much truth. The belief is that waking a sleepwalker can cause them to die – possibly from a heart attack – or leave them in a trance-like state where they’ll violently attack you when woken. Either way, someone could die (according to this myth, that is).
With that said, should you shake a sleepwalker awake if you see them wandering around the home? As they’re in a state of deep sleep, jolting them awake could give them a fright, which wouldn’t be a nice (or necessarily safe) thing to do.
Instead, make sure they remain safe as they’re walking around – and when they’ve settled back into bed, you can gently rouse them from their slumber, just to break the cycle (so it doesn’t happen again immediately after).
Myth 5: The time you sleep doesn’t matter, only the number of hours
Night owls often believe (or want to believe) that it doesn’t matter what time you go to bed, as long as you have 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Medical science from both eastern and western halves of the globe don’t think so.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), experts believe that 10pm to 2am are the “golden hours” for your body to rejuvenate, recover and replenish your energy levels. Missing (or shortening) these hours by sleeping late, will result in a lower quality of sleep. In western science, studies show that sleeping when it’s dark, helps to align your body’s circadian rhythm with the environment – improving mental clarity, metabolism and your general well-being.
If you’re used to staying up deep into the night, and sleeping while the sun is out – do know that you’re taking away precious recovery time from your body, even if you’re getting many hours of sleep. And if you need some persuasion resting your head on your bed a little earlier each night, some bedroom accessories can make your bed more enticing – like a supportive latex pillow, huggable latex bolster, and comfy bamboo cover.
Myth 6: Snoring is annoying, but absolutely harmless
Is snoring harmless or a sign of a more severe issue? This depends on the type and frequency of snoring that occurs.
While the occasional light snoring is only troublesome for the person sleeping next to you, frequent and loud snoring may need to be looked at by a medical professional – as it could be a sign of something more serious, like sleep apnea, which is a condition that reduces the amount of oxygen a person needs and could result in significant health problems. In addition to seeing your doctor, you can also try an anti-snoring mouthpiece to reduce snoring.
Want other solutions for improve your sleeping posture and the quality of your sleep – and possibly help you to snore less? We recommend choosing a high-quality latex mattress and latex accessories, like these collections from Sofzsleep.
Sleep myths: Debunked
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