27th September 2018
It’s coming to the end of Sleeptember, but we’re still offering a lot of advice on sleeping and how to maximise your sleep. In this blog we’re taking a look at debunking some of the most common myths surrounding sleep.
As many as 1 in 4 people snore in the UK and while infrequent, quiet snoring isn’t necessarily a sign of any health problems, regular loud snoring could be an indicator that something is wrong. Snoring could be an indicator of issues within the airways and if loud snoring is keeping you awake and disrupting your sleep cycle during the night then you will be excessively tired throughout the day, which will affect concentration and attention.
Restricted breathing in your sleep is known as obstructive sleep apnoea, which can lead to some serious health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes – so maybe it’s time to get checked out.
While it is true that you shouldn’t nap for more than an hour as this will negatively affect your body, a nap of twenty to thirty minutes can increase short-term alertness without leaving you feeling run down or ruining your night time sleeping routine.
The best time to nap is usually mid-way through your day. Research from Loughborough University also shows that a ‘caffeine nap’ could be beneficial to treating drowsiness. Have a coffee before taking a 15 minute nap and you will wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
Your body clock is set by the amount of sunlight your body gets, staying up later means less sunlight exposure leading your body to be more used to being awake whilst it is dark. Changing your bedtime and waking times means your body needs time to adjust, your body doesn’t adjust depending on what time you go to bed.
A common myth about sleep is that if you feel tired during the day you should sleep more at night. This isn’t the case, adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep a day, any more than this will leave you feeling washed out when you wake up. Whilst having a lie-in on a weekend will not cause any serious harm, regularly having more than 9 hours sleep is associated with headaches, back pain and in some cases, increased risk of heart disease.
While it is common for people to watch some form of television to help them relax before bed, the flickering image and amount of light given off by televisions can cause disruptions to your circadian rhythm, which will interfere with your body clock, as this is based on light.
We advise switching off all gadgets, including televisions and mobile or tablet screens, an hour before bed in order to let your body relax naturally and avoid upsetting your body’s circadian rhythm.
It is true that for some ‘early risers’ waking up early comes naturally and can be beneficial to a productive day. For the majority of people, waking up too early means missing out on essential rest and can lead to a dependency for stimulants such as caffeine to feel more awake. If it is necessary to wake up early (for work for example) then ensure you are offsetting this by going to bed earlier to get your full 7-8 hours.