5 common sleep myths that can harm your health and wellness

Carefully analyzing and attending myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits that, in turn, promote better overall health.

Sleep influences your productivity, mood, well-being, and overall health.

People believe that five or fewer hours of sleep each night is enough, right? Not.

Snoring is maybe harmless, right? Not.

Drinking alcohol can be a good thing because it helps you fall asleep, right? Not.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine reviewed more than 8,000 websites to identify the 20 most common assumptions or misconceptions about sleep.

With the help of a team of experts in sleep medicine, the new study published in Sleep Health classified these assumptions based on whether each could be considered a myth or be supported by scientific evidence, and the damage it could cause.

The assertion of some people that they can cope with only five hours of sleep was the main myth revealed by researchers and supported by scientific evidence.

Sleep experts say that this myth also represents the most serious risk to the health of people with long-term sleep deficits.

“Start a consistent sleep schedule and spend more time, at least seven hours, asleep,” says the study.

“Sleep is a vital part of daily life that affects our productivity, state of mind, general health and well-being,” says the study’s lead researcher, Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health.

Rebecca Robins, sleep researcher at NYU
Source: rebecca-robbins.com

“Carefully analyzing and attending myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits that, in turn, promote better overall health,” Robbins added.

Researches also suggest avoiding taking naps when you usually have trouble sleeping at night.

Snoring fueled additional myths. Though it may be normal, chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder.

Sleep myths

Sleeping, or should we say sleeping well, improves health, productivity, and well-being.

Lack of sleep can have opposite effects in your quality of life, road safety, and in the workplace, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sleep and wellness are irrevocably interlinked. However, good sleep is a common problem: 25 percent of adults in the US say they do not sleep or rest enough at least 15 out of 30 days.

Here are the five main myths, from According to the study:

5- Adults need 5 hours or less of sleep

Fact: experts recommend 7 to 8 hours per night for optimal health.

4- Drinking alcohol before bed helps you fall asleep easily

Fact: Although it may help you fall asleep, alcohol drastically reduces the quality of sleep. You can regularly get out of a deep sleep state.

In addition, drinking alcohol regularly has its own set of risks like obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

3- Watching television in bed helps you relax before you go to sleep

Fact: these devices, including TV screens or computers, emit a bright ‘blue light’ that you should avoid before going to bed; partly because it prevents you from sleeping peacefully and can even generate stress at the most vulnerable moment when you really need to rest.

2- It is better to stay in bed and try to sleep 

Fact: On average, it takes about 15 minutes for a healthy person to fall asleep.

Anything more than 15 minutes may require you to do something light and stressful before going back to bed.

1- Giving the wake button is better than waking up right away.

Fact: This is perhaps the most common of the sleep myths.

Resist the temptation to postpone the alarm, because your body will try to go back to sleep.

In addition, it would be a very light and of low quality sleep.