Sleep is one of the most essential needs for our minds and bodies and we do it pretty much every day. But there are still plenty of myths and misunderstandings around it.
If you want to get more sleep, then it’s time to separate the fact from the fiction and bust some of the more common sleep myths.
- Lowering the car windows or turning up the air-conditioning will help you stay awake when driving
This aid doesn’t work and can be dangerous to anyone who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy, as well as their passengers and others on the road.
If you’re feeling tired while driving, pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Drinking coffee can also help reduce drowsiness, but even it needs around 30 minutes before taking effect – and again, it only works for a short time.
- During sleep, your brain finally rests.
The body rests during sleep, however, the brain remains active, gets ‘recharged,’ and still controls many body functions including breathing. The brain is even more active during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, when we dream.
- If you’re struggling to sleep, it’s best to stay in bed.
If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music. Lying in bed awake can create an unhealthy link between your sleeping environment and not being able to sleep.
- You swallow up to 7 spiders every year while you sleep.
Whatever the source of this myth, the good news is that it’s not true (thank goodness). A snoozing person is more likely to scare a spider than attract one.
- Eating cheese before bed increases the risk of nightmares.
With the possible exception of those with lactose intolerance, there is no proof that eating cheese even affects sleep, let alone causes nightmares.
If anything, eating cheese may actually aid sleep, due to the fact that it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, a chemical messenger conducive to sleep.
So what sleep myths have you fallen for? Did you sleep better after you learned the facts?