How much do you know about sleep- really know? If you’re like most people, it probably is not too much. In fact, some people still believe outdated or just plain incorrect information regarding this important subject. When it comes to a good night of sleep, what you don’t know can hurt you! It is time to put these old beliefs to bed for good:
#1 “I use the weekend to catch up on the sleep I missed during the work week.” Sleep experts agree that adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to perform at their best, plus stay healthy and safe. When we don't get adequate sleep throughout the work week, we assume we can "pay it back" in a few days. This myth works under the idea that sleep is like a bank account, and if you pull too much out of it for a while, all you need to do is add more in when you can. This is not the way sleep patterns work. Sleeping five hours a night for five nights in a row and then 10 hours the next night is not the answer- getting the ideal amount each and every night is.
#2 “Snoring is just something that some people do- it isn’t harmful.” Although snoring may be harmless for some people, it can also be a symptom of sleep apnea. This is actually a life threatening sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing that prevent air from flowing into or out of a sleeping person’s airways, and often results in the person frequently waking during the night gasping for breath. The breathing pauses reduce blood oxygen levels, can strain the heart and cardiovascular system, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. This has been directly associated with hypertension and other serious medical issues.
#3 “I don’t have insomnia because I don’t have trouble falling asleep.” Many people picture insomniacs laying away for hours, unable to fall asleep. So, if you can fall asleep without a struggle then you don’t have insomnia, right? Actually, this is wrong. Difficulty falling asleep is only one of four symptoms associated with insomnia. The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed. If you fall asleep quickly but then wake up again several times throughout the night and still feel tired in the morning, you may have insomnia.
#4 “While I’m asleep, my whole body is at rest.” Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, your entire body, particularly your brain’s glymphatic system, is hard at work while you’re asleep. Your events of the day and emotions are stored into long-term memory, your brain washes itself clean, your immune system tackles problems, and many more repairs happen while you slumber.
#5 “A heavy meal or stiff drink makes me sleepy, so it’s good for helping me sleep.” What you eat and drink, particularly in the late evening and nighttime hours have a big impact on your sleep. You probably have already discovered this, just from how you feel after a big Thanksgiving feast! This doesn’t mean it is good for you though. For instance, scientists say that eating a large meal right before bed causes the body to heat up as it works to digest all that food. This counteracts the natural drop in body temperature that is essential for falling asleep. Very fattening or very spicy foods cause indigestion that makes your sleep efforts even more difficult. Far from being a great way to sleep throughout the night, alcohol actually causes you to sleep very lightly and wake up often throughout the night thanks to your body turning it into sugar.
#6 “I can fall asleep right away, no matter when I lie down, so I’m a great sleeper!” The quicker you fall asleep, the better. This is what people have thought for centuries! Being able to sleep anywhere and at any time is actually a sign of sleep deprivation, possibly due to obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep problem. It's normal to take 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep once you climb into bed. If it regularly takes you more or less, that’s a big red flag.
At City Mattress, we don’t have sales people in our stores. We have individuals who know a lot about sleep, and want to help you achieve your best night of true rejuvenation. Often, this entails a new mattress that is better suited for your comfort preferences and needs. It may be that you need a mattress topper, an adjustable bed base, or even some more-supportive pillows. When you come in, tell our team members the trouble you’re experiencing and they’ll know which products to show you so you can begin looking at your best options. Very soon, you’ll have left all of these myths behind and will be experiencing a night of deep, restful sleep you never thought possible!