Here are the 5 Myths & Untruths that we all believe about Sleep
In a culture that works 24/7, sleeping can seem like a low priority. But in reality, by sleeping your optimal amount, you will push yourself ahead by functioning your best.
Sleep Medicine is the subspecialty of medicine and research devoted to understanding and treating sleep and its importance in our overall health, as well as the sleep disorders keeping you from a good night’s sleep.
In the world of medicine, it’s a relatively young subspecialty, but it’s evolving at a rapid pace. The recent list of sleep disorders, the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD-2), cites 94 known sleep disorders. But what if it’s not a sleep disorder keeping you awake? What if it’s just the misconceptions you believe about your sleep? Do you believe any of the untruths below?
I need 8 hours of sleep per night. [Untrue]
The truth is, even if you’re not getting that many hours (and studies show many of us are not), this is a myth disguised as a guideline. Sleep experts can only seem to agree that healthy sleep hours range from 6.68–10 hours of sleep per night, depending on the person. Your optimal sleep duration requirement is largely determined by heredity. And ‘Long Sleeper’ and ‘Short Sleeper’ are both listed as sleep disorders in the ICSD-2, meaning you may need more or less than the standard eight.
I can train/teach myself to sleep less. [Untrue]
Because our heredity plays such a large part in our sleep needs, we are unable to train ourselves to sleep less. Though you may test various lengths of sleep to find your optimal amount, you will not be able to convince your body that less is needed. Sleeping your optimal amount is only one-third of the “magic.” Dr. Clete Kushida, past-president of World Sleep Society, explains, “A truly restorative sleep depends on duration as well as continuity and depth of sleep.” It’s a three-pronged approach to obtaining the perfect amount of sleep.