- We all need sleep and this will help you learn more about it.
There are a lot of sleep myths out there and a lot of conflicting information. Here are some myths and a couple of relaxing exercises for sleep help, if you need it.
Eight Hours of Sleep
This idea of eight hours of sleep is more of an average than an actual goal. For most of us, seven to nine hours of sleep is good. Of course, it varies from person to person and can change throughout your lifetime.
Too Much Sleep
More than 9 hours of sleep can be linked to diabetes and heart disease. It’s most important to listen to your body and try to understand what it needs. But in this case, more is not better.
Catch up on the Weekends
So yes, you can catch up on some missed hours after a bad night’s sleep. But if your sleep schedule is constantly swinging back and forth every week, it can lead to health issues.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
Yes, technically and obviously. But the truth is, it’s not a sleep myth that you really need your sleep. Sleep keeps you alive at the end of the day, but you need adequate and quality sleep to thrive. Prolonged and extreme sleep deprivation can lead to bad health consequences.
Don’t Exercise Before Sleep
The idea of not working out close to bedtime is one of the biggest sleep myths and the complete opposite can hold true. Working out at night doesn’t necessarily adversely affect your sleeping. It may actually help you fall asleep and it could even lengthen the time you spend in your deep sleep cycle. A workout less than an hour from sleeping is probably too close to snooze time, but if you give it two or three hours, it can be very beneficial. This time will give your body temperature time to cool down and your heart a chance to slow.
How to Get More Sleep
As adults, many of us like a night cap before bed. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, as it is a sedative, but you won’t sleep as well or as deep. Alcohol leads to less REM sleep because alcohol suppresses that sleep cycle. Emotional wellbeing and memory consolidation occur during REM sleep. Alcohol can also mean more snoring and overall can end up a bad night sleep.
If you do want a nightcap- be mindful about it. If you only drink one drink an hour, your body can metabolize that. Be sure to finish your last drink an hour before bed to help lessen the impact on your sleep.
Caffeine stays in your system longer than alcohol. Coffee and tea can be beneficial with timing and quantity. Two to three cups a day before 5PM is good, but more than that or later than that could be problematic.
So What is the Biggest Sleep Myth?
What’s the one trick? The one surefire way to dozing off? It turns out there isn’t a single technique that works for everyone. And the more techniques, tricks, hacks, rules, and ways you try to help your sleep, the more it works against us. However..
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and Meditation are not sleep myths. Meditation can calm your nervous system and deep breathing generates serenity. Meditation is great for people wanting to sleep better.
Here is a mindful exercise you could try to help you sleep:
- Even if you don’t normally, start out laying on your back. Your knees bent slightly, if you like
- Enjoy the feeling of the body letting go and relaxing into the surface beneath you
- Start with your breathing, just breathe and pay attention to your breathe. Notice where you feel your breath. within your nose, throat, chest, and diaphragm
- Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, and breathe out for 6
Now return the breath back to normal (if you haven’t already fallen asleep=)
A Feeling Relaxation Exercise
Imagine the warmth of sunlight, starting at your feet and working its way through your body.
Starting with your feet, imagine your toes, one by one filled with this warm sunlight. Then your ankles and your legs. Experiencing the qualities of warmth as it continues to travel up through your body. Past the waist, into your back and your stomach, let the warmth sooth you and any discomfort. Into your chest, upper back, your shoulders and down your arms. All the way down to your hands and fingers. Let a sense of relief in your body and a stillness in your mind as it continues to travel up through your neck, throat, head and face. All the way to the very top of your body. Let the stillness be the only thing that remains.
Still Awake with a Racing Mind?
Allow the body to continue resting but mentally and slowly, begin to count backward from 1000 to 0. Don’t rush it or try to fall asleep. Focus counting one number to the next and keep a steady pace.
As you lie there in this way, the mind and body are already at rest, getting what they need. Try not to worry too much about when sleep will come.
For more sleep facts, go to Weird Sleep Facts You Never Knew You Needed to Know. And watch for more one sleep!