Myths and Facts About Sleep Schedules

There are myths passed on from one generation to another and most are all fallacies, a misconception known as a myth.  These are outdated obsolete ideas and the truth to dismiss old wife’s tales, folk lore, or urban legends needs to be told to people thinking they are doing something wrong or abusing their body.  Don’t misunderstand about generational truths; many are valid, another topic later.  This article is about sleep.

Myth or Fact 1

Your brain shuts down when you sleep and is out of action.

Myth: Your brain never shuts down and never sleeps.  Your brain is very active while you sleep.  It is busy sorting out and processing your day’s events and activities, thoughts, and ideas.  These events and doings are loaded into your long-term memory.  You will usually have dreams about events that happened 3 days ago that might be hard to understand.  While you sleep, the brain is active and recharges itself.  You still breathe, your heart still beats, and bodily functions continue.

Sleep has 4 stages.  The first is drowsiness when we can wake up easily.  we will experience REM (rapid eye movement) and active sleep and we dream here.  Heart rate and breathing increases becoming irregular, and our eyes move under the lids.  Muscles relax to refresh our bodies.  The non-REM sleep occurs as well and it and REM sleep occurs in 90-minute cycles.  Our brains are processing data in the deepest non-REM sleep stage.

Myth or Fact 2

By sleeping late on the weekend, you can catch up on less sleep the next week for losing sleep the week before.

Fact:  Sleeping late on the weekend works when you haven’t had enough sleep and you to need to pay that back.  It doesn’t work to sleep now if you are in arrears with your sleep.  When not getting enough sleep, your brain will be affected.  You need to catch up on your sleep for being strong and alert with your sleep and awake habits.

Myth or Fact 3

You can teach yourself to function with fewer hours of sleep.

Myth:  Most adults need 7- to 9-hours of sleep each night.  Some need more, some need less.  The amount of sleeping time needed differs for each person.  We all know our sleep requirements based on our own experiences the day after when deprived of sleep.  When we have a sleep deficit, we will have to catch up to pay it back to feel good and be sharp minded.  You might not notice missing an hour here and there, but in the long run, will be not function up to par even without feeling sleepy.  Not getting enough sleep each night is known to cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, bad moods, depression, and behavior problems.  Along with less productivity at work, you can suffer safety issues at work, at home, and especially when driving.

Myth or Fact 4

Being drowsy and sleepy during the day will get better if you get more sleep at night.

Fact:  The length of time you sleep, the quality of sleep you get, and the time you go to bed all play a role in good sleep.  There are things that can interpret your sleep such as going to bed on a full stomach of food, alcohol, coffee, and certain medications.  The worse staying awake and alert frustration is the playing over and over the day’s events or stressful situations keeping you from falling into a restful sleep

Myth or Fact 5

Snoring is harmful.

Myth:  Snoring is not harmful, can be annoying to a bed partner, and is commonplace.  It can, however, be a serious symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep ailment that can cause death.  People suffering from this sometimes have uncontrollable sleepiness during the day.  Pauses in breathing are characteristic of people with sleep apnea.  These pauses inhibit air from going into or out of the person’s airways when they are asleep.  By pausing breathing, the blood oxygen levels are reduced and can put a strain on the heart and cardiovascular system to increase cardiovascular disease risks.  With hypertension (high blood pressure) snoring occurs on a regular basis.  Having a large neck and obesity can lead to sleep apnea.  A CPAP machine is used to treat sleep apnea with success.  If you notice pauses in your snoring or your partner’s snoring, be sure to see your healthcare provider immediately.  Women and men both can have sleep apnea, but men are more prone to snoring.

Myth or Fact 6

Opening windows, playing loud music, running the air conditioner, or talking to the passenger are useful ways to stay awake when driving.

Myth:  None of these things work when you are drowsy and ready to fall asleep.  It is dangerous to you, your passengers, and others on the road.  Semi-truck drivers are at a high risk because of their time constraints and rules.  You can stop at a rest stop if you trust them, and if you are a woman, don’t.  If you do opt to stop, take a nap for up to an hour or as long as you stay asleep.  Find a motel and sleep until you wake up.  Coffee tea or sodas with caffeine will only temporarily keep you awake.  Over-the-counter pills don’t work either for the long haul.  Sugar and carbs will make you sleepier.  The best advice is to get a good night’s sleep before you leave on the road.

Myth or Fact 7

You don’t need as much sleep as you get older.

Myth:  Even as we age into our senior years, we still need 7- to 9-hours of sleep each night.  Our sleep patterns might change, but the amount of sleep we need does not.  Elders are usually retired and might take naps during the day because they can.  Naps during the day are restful and beneficial.  Older people might not sleep straight through at night, but they probably don’t care—they can nap during the day.

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