By Eric Stengle
Because sleep is automatic and not something that most people study, there are many common myths about sleeping habits. Getting proper sleep, both in duration and quality, is important for your overall mental and physical well-being. It is easy to misinterpret what might be affecting your sleep cycles. Here are some common myths about sleeping habits.
- MYTH: You can “catch up” on lost sleep over the weekend. Sleeping in on the weekend doesn’t fix any deficits caused by loss of sleep during the work week. A Harvard Medical School study shows that chronic sleep loss makes it nearly impossible to “catch up” to improve daytime performance. Several days of lost sleep will result in increased daytime tiredness, slower reaction times, and reduced ability to focus. Weekend recovery sleep might also interfere with your normal body sleep cycle. Continued regular sleep deprivation can result in high blood pressure, obesity, behavioral problems, and sleep disorders.
- MYTH: Daytime tiredness means you are not sleeping enough at night. Not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night is only one possible cause of daytime tiredness. If you regularly feel tired and fatigued during the day despite sleeping enough at night, you could have an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. These problems can often be properly treated by a physician or sleep professional. Other causes of daytime tiredness include use of prescription medications, consumption of alcohol, and lack of daytime physical activity.
- MYTH: If you don’t fall asleep right away, you have insomnia. Problems falling asleep are experienced at some time or another by most people. Factors like over-thinking at bedtime, daytime stress, diet and exercise, and alcohol consumption all affect how easily you can drift off to sleep. Insomnia, however, is a diagnosed sleep disorder that has a multitude of other symptoms. These unique symptoms include frequent awakenings in the middle of the night and then problems getting back to sleep, followed by feeling unusually groggy and exhausted in the morning.
- MYTH: Snoring is common and isn’t harmful. Snoring can be relatively harmless for some people, but it can also be an indication of hypertension, or even a sleep disorder, like obstructive sleep apnea. If your partner complains that you are snoring loudly all night and you feel tired during the day, sleep apnea might be obstructing the airflow in your breathing passages. Stoppages in breathing that interrupt sleep can lower the oxygen levels in your blood and increase the threat of developing a cardiovascular illness.
- MYTH: Sleep disorders are hard to treat. Sleep disorders are often triggered by emotional or physiological factors and can be temporary, intermittent, or long-lasting. Sleep deprivation is debilitating and leaves many sufferers feeling trapped and unable to find the proper treatment. Fortunately, by working with an experienced sleep professional, all sleep disorders are treatable and can go away completely once the underlying causes are identified and addressed.
The sleep experts at Family Sleep Diagnostics want to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for our clients. If you are suffering from poor quality sleep, daytime tiredness, or any kind of sleep disorder, we can help. We provide comprehensive sleep management services. You can schedule an appointment online with one of our professionals, or give us a call at (972) 714-0011.