A myth is a story that is repeated often but isn’t actually true. Here are 6 myths about the importance of sleep and the truth behind the myth.
Most people don’t realize just how important sleep is for their brain function and overall health – in fact science is just starting to unlock what really happens while we are sleeping!
Sleep isn’t that important because all that happens is your brain rests. Not true. Our brains are more active during sleep than they are during the day. During sleep our short-term memories get registered and “filed” in the cabinet that is our brain. This is a physical change in the brain that only happens as a by-product of sleep. Skip this important step and the things you learned today won’t be available for you to retrieve in the future.
My body is used to sleeping less so I don’t need 7 or 8 hours. This myth is really common and you also hear about people who have gone “years” only sleeping 5 hours a night and they achieve great things. Most of us need 7 to 8 hours per night and you cannot condition yourself to operate on less sleep. When you are sleep deprived your mental performance is affected and even worse, we lose the ability to accurately judge how impaired our thinking actually is. A study done in 2003 showed that reducing sleep to 6 hours per night hurt mental performance as much as staying awake for 2 nights straight. Those folks who get by on less and still thrive – mutants!
Weekends are for catching up on sleep. Sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday won’t make up for skipping sleep during the week. The productivity lost due to lack of sleep during the week won’t come back by getting up at noon on Sunday either. The best sleep habits mean keeping to the same schedule, this means going to bed and waking at approximately the same time every day (including weekends). Researchers have proven that a steady sleep schedule keeps our brains in top condition.
Caffeine can make up for skipped sleep. Coffee might make you feel more awake but your thinking will still be slower than normal. Your body and brain goes through essential repair and rebuilding while you sleep – a caffeine jolt can’t mimic the physical restoration of a good night’s sleep. Drinking too much coffee when you are tired impairs your thinking even more by adding the jitters to the mix and making you feel even sleepier when it wears off.
I’ll gain weight if I sleep 8 hours a night. This is a big, fat myth! Studies are now showing that a good night’s sleep is important for weight loss – plus you can’t snack while you are snoozed. Most diet doctors are now prescribing a full night of sleep every night along with a healthy diet to lose excess pounds.
A good night’s sleep is impossible for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Not true – sleep apnea sufferers, and their bed partners, suffer from lack of sleep before they are diagnosed. Some patients find relief using a CPAP device but about half of patients have trouble sleeping in the mask. An oral appliance is a comfortable, easy way to treat your obstructive sleep apnea and breath easily all night long allowing you (and your significant other) a good night’s sleep.
If you snore loudly, have gained weight and suffer from daytime sleepiness you may have sleep apnea. Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.