Are you one of the millions of American’s suffering from sleep problems? According to “Nine Sleep Myths That Make You Tired,” many people with sleep problems accept their lack of sleep because of some fallacious tales that have circulated for years.
The list below consists of some of the erroneous long-held beliefs, about why you don’t sleep more. If you fall into one of the categories, you’ll find suggestions to ways you may get more sleep you may not be aware of.
You Don’t Need Sleeping Pills
Today, sleeping pills sold over the counter are improvements over those sold a few years ago, in that they don’t make you feel like a zombie. Actually, sleeping pills help cure insomnia if you begin before your insomnia is persistent.
If you’re an insomniac, talk to your doctor about it and the use of sleeping pills. Also, ask him about cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that is a desensitizing program for insomniacs.
It Makes No Difference When You Sleep
When you sleep does make a difference, because people who go to bed later tend to suffer from depression more than those who retire earlier.
Try going to bed earlier, in 15 to 30 minute increments, and set your alarm for seven or eight hours later. If you have as few lights on as possible for a couple hours before you retire, it might help your body be more conducive to sleep.
Catch up on Sleep Anytime
If you’re an insomniac you can not take advantage of catching up on sleep, but other than that you can. The problem is your schedule may not allow you time for sleep catch-up. However, if the opportunity arises don’t hesitate to lay down and enjoy a quick nap.
Missing Some Sleep Doesn’t Affect You
If you only miss about 90 minutes of sleep in a night, if affects your alertness. Your safety at work, driving, your memory and ability to think all suffer negatively when you miss sleep.
If you have to work after a short night of sleep and find yourself becoming sleepy, take a short, fast-paced walk if possible. In addition, a short nap at lunchtime will help.
If You’re an Insomniac Go To Bed Earlier
Actually, the opposite is true because your body has an internal sleep monitor, which craves sleep the longer you’re awake. The more you need sleep, the quicker you fall asleep, and you sleep more soundly.
Try going to bed an hour later, take a warm bath and read before retiring. Try exercising during the day for 30-45 minutes. That should make your body tired, and able to fall asleep easier.
Exercising Close to Bedtime Keeps You Awake
Most people find exercise tires them and sleep comes easier. The best method is to test the theory. Keep a sleep diary and compare how you sleep on exercise nights, compared to nights you don’t exercise.
Everybody Fights Sleep During a Meeting
If your meeting is in the afternoon, it’s normal to get sleepy because of your body’s sleep rhythms. However, being sleepy and nodding off are not the same. If you fall asleep, it’s a symptom of sleep deprivation. In reality, if you’re tired a lot during the day you may be sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can lead to health problems so, if you have symptoms make it a priority to get more sleep.
Naps Make You More Tired
That may be true for some people, but usually a short nap of 20 minutes or less makes you more alert. The best time for a short nap is between 1p.m. and 4 p.m.
It’s best not to lay on your bed for a short nap, because your body is accustomed to sleeping longer periods of time in your bed. Nap on your couch, or favorite chair, and it may help to use your regular pillow or an eye mask to fall asleep quicker.
Some People Don’t Need Much Sleep
It’s unusual to need less than six hours sleep each night. If you wake up the same time each morning, without an alarm, regardless of where you are, or whether it’s a weekday or weekend, you’re probably one of the few that needs less sleep. If that’s not true, you need at least six hours of sleep each night.
Barbara Loecher and Lauren Gelman: 9 Sleep Myths That Make You Tired