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August 20th 2016

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Everyone seems talks about sleep, how much, what times are best, and what happens when your asleep. Since sleep is vital to your health and well-being, we wanted to share an excerpt from an article from www.sleepassociation.org that helps put the myths to rest and tells you the facts of sleep once and for all.

During sleep, your brain rests. F

Most people think of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives. Wakefulness contains only a single brain wave. To be physically, psychologically, and emotionally at your best, you have to experience 5 different types of brain waves every night during sleep. The sleeping brain regulates endocrine, immune, and hormonal functions essential for healthy living. It is also a critical period for memory consolidation.

Sleeping longer makes you gain weight. F

By adding one extra hour of sleep every night, you can lose up to 1 lb. per week. Sleep deprivation causes leptin levels to decrease and ghrelin levels to increase leaving you craving for sugars and junk food. Contrary to popular belief, staying asleep in bed actually helps you lose weight.

You can condition yourself to need less sleep. F

You can condition yourself to wake up after just a few hours of sleep, but it does not change your need for adequate sleep. Your sleep requirement is hard-wired! Determine the amount of sleep that will permit you to be energetic and alert all day long. You must condition yourself so that the hours in bed correspond to the sleeping phase of your circadian rhythm and the hours out of bed correspond to the waking phase. Therefore, establish a regular sleep/wake schedule Monday through Monday, including the weekends.

A boring meeting, warm room, or low dose of alcohol makes you sleepy. F

A boring meeting, warm room, or low dose of alcohol will make you sleepy only if you are sleep deprived. These factors simply unmask the sleepiness that is already in your body. If you are not sleep deprived, you maybe restless and fidgety, but not sleepy.

Snoring is not harmful as long as it doesn’t disturb others or wake you up. F

If left untreated, heavy snoring can lead to a higher risk of hypertension (heart attacks and strokes). Heavy snoring with repetitive pauses in your breathing followed by a gasping for air is indicative of sleep apnea. This life threatening breathing disorder is commonly treated non-surgically by wearing a mask at night that delivers continuous, positive airway pressure through the nasal cavity to keep the airway open. Without the mask these individuals may stop breathing up to 600 times a night and must wake up for a microsecond each time to resume normal breathing.

Everyone dreams every night. T

All of us dream every night, although many do not remember having done so. Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that occurs every 90 minutes. If you sleep for 8 hours, approximately 2 hours will be spent dreaming.

The older you get; the fewer hours of sleep you need. F

As you age the ability to maintain sleep becomes more difficult. This is due to hardening of the arteries or the result of taking medications for rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, or Type II diabetes that may interfere with sleep. We need almost as much sleep in our senior years as we needed when we were of middle age.

Most people are poor judges of how sleepy they are. T

The majority of sleepers overestimate the amount they actually have slept by about 47 minutes.

Raising the volume of your radio, air conditioning or drinking coffee will help
you stay awake while driving. F

None of these “remedies” will help prevent drowsiness or falling asleep at the wheel for a person who is sleep deprived. Drowsiness is red alert, get off the road and take a 20-minute power nap in a safe area. At best you will have another 30 minutes of driving.

Sleep disorders are mainly due to worry or psychological problems. F

There are 89 known sleep disorders whose causes range from neurological issues to biochemical imbalance and physiological problems. Examples are sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal myoclonus, enuresis, sleepwalking, sleep talking, and REM sleep behavior.

Most sleep disorders eventually go away even without treatment. F

Sleep disturbances that last for more than 3 weeks typically require professional treatment, ranging from learning good sleep hygiene practices to pharmacological agents and psychotherapy.

Men need more sleep than women. F

Women tend to need more sleep than men, especially during premenstrual, pregnancy, and premenopausal stages. Women sleep lighter than men and are more susceptible to bouts of insomnia.

….read more Sleep myths at www.sleepassociation.org.
Author: Dr. James Maas, PhD