9 Health and Sleep Myths To Stop Believing

There are many myths we believe in when our friends tell us we should or should not sleep late or that we need 8 hours of sleep or our health is compromised. It includes myths about health such as needing to eat at certain hours even when we aren’t hungry. Believing in these myths could cause us stress when we are unable to fulfil these “should” or “should not” do. Recent studies have found that at least one-third of the Singaporean adult population regularly suffers from significant sleep problems, which can lead to a raft of illnesses, including diabetes and depression. So it is important to separate myths from truth and we share 9 health and sleep myths to stop believing.

1. Naps Can Cause Insomnia

To be honest, if you are having a busy day, or feel that a short snooze is badly needed, it’s really not a problem to take a 20 to 30 minutes nap in the day. A study from the University of Bristol found that having a nap could actually boost our ability to process information that we are not consciously aware of. Taking a short snooze could also help us make better decisions in tough situations.

2. Everyone Need 8 Hours of Sleep

This is just not true because we are not made to be the same. The National Sleep Foundation concluded that 7 to 9 hours of sleep will keep most adults healthy. Although most people support the average 8 hours of sleep myth, it does not tell the whole story. Some people might actually need more or less than the recommended hours to function properly. Some people are happy with 6 hours of sleep. As long as they consistently function well with 6 hours of sleep, that’s fine too. So it’s really up to the individual.

3. A Carb-Heavy Snack will Help You Sleep

There are some who think that eating before sleep is wrong. Actually a light snack if you are hungry actually helps you sleep. But having a carb heavy meal a few hours before bedtime is not such a good idea as it raises body temperature and can also lead to digestive problems - both of which interfere with sleep.

4. Coffee Is Harmless In the Afternoon

Some people are used to having a cup of coffee every morning and even in the afternoons. But this does not work for everyone. Even regular coffee drinkers’ sensitivity to caffeine changes over time.

It takes the body 7 hours to break down half the amount of caffeine that you consume. If you suddenly find yourself unable to sleep after having a cuppa in the afternoon, try cutting out coffee in the afternoon and just having one instead of two cups of coffee in a day. Or you can also try decaf as an alternative.

5. Older People Need Less Sleep

Again, this is up to the individual. Doctors usually recommend the same amount of sleep for people aged between 18 to 60, which is about 7 or more hours of sleep a night. From age 61 to 62, it is recommended we get about 7 to 9 hours of bedtime. Above age 65, the changes in recommended duration of sleep is negligible - from 7 to 8 hours.

6. You Can Catch Up on Lack of Sleep

This is the biggest myth of all. The truth is, we can never make up for the loss of sleep. In fact, we accumulate a sleep debt everytime we skimp on sleep. If we stay up once in a while, it is not a big deal. But constantly skipping on sleep means we can never catch back on sleep. A study done on sleep deprivation showed that participants were more tired and less able to focus before they incurred sleep debt. Even if you may feel rested after skipping sleep for a night, you may not be performing at your best level at work.

7. Breakfast is the Most Important Meal

This is another myth and it was created by marketing from breakfast cereal brands such as Kellogg’s and Quaker Oats. It is actually not a problem to skip breakfast at all, if you don’t feel hungry. There is nothing wrong with having early lunch if you did not have any breakfast. This is based on individual needs.

8. Alcohol Helps You Sleep

Some people turn to a glass of wine to help them sleep before bed. But the truth is, alcohol keeps your body from producing melatonin, an important ingredient in sleep. Alcohol also interrupts your REM cycles and inhibits dreaming, both of which will leave you feeling worn out when you wake up. Your sleep is not restorative when you consume alcohol before bedtime.

9. Snoring Causes No Harm

Snoring in most cases are harmless and there are ways to help you stop snoring in order to give your partner a peaceful night’s sleep. But for others, it may be the sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is when your airways are totally blocked while you are asleep and your body will jot itself awake when it realises you aren’t breathing. OSA does not only cause interrupted sleep but also contributes to the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and obesity.



The Sleepthetic™ Adjustable Bed Base is for individuals and couples who struggle with chronic snoring.

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December 15, 2020 — hue lai