There are six common myths about sleep that many of us believe. Here at isense we will bust 6 Sleep Myths so you can be more informed and get a better night's rest. Keep reading for more myths about sleep!
Myth 1: Everyone Needs 8 Hours of Sleep:
It is true that most adults are recommended to get eight hours of sleep. However, it is not uncommon for many adults to function on 6-7 hours of sleep a night. How much sleep you need is dependent on your genetics... as some adults function best on even more than eight hours of sleep. This is also a recommendation for average adults. We haven't even considered children, teenagers, or the elderly. Let's take a look at the average sleep hours recommended for these categories of age ranges.
Teenagers need how much sleep each night to function optimally?
Teens need about 8-12 hours of sleep each day, which is more than the recommended amount for adults. This might be because their circadian rhythms shift to a later schedule as they age into adulthood and start working more during typical daytime hours.
School-aged children usually need between 11-13 hours of sleep at night in order to function properly and assist their bodies in recovery time for growth.
Elderly people require around 6-8 hours of sleep due to the natural decrease in hormone levels that comes with aging. So technically elderly people can get by with the least amount of sleep.
Myth 2: You can get by on six hours or less of sleep every night:
As mentioned above there are the rare cases where an individual won't require as much sleep as the rest. It is also possible to go a few days on six hours of sleep or less. However, what is happening is that you are acquiring what is known as "sleep debt". Sleep debt is what takes place when you have accumulated days of lack of sleep. It is very hard to recover from sleep debt because you can't simply make up more sleep at once. In fact it has been known that it will take a few days of recommended sleep to get yourself back on track and feeling 100% again. So if you plan to rack up some sleep debt, you better also plan and understand that it's going to take time to recover from it. Life gets busy and sometimes it requires us to go on little or no sleep at certain times but this is not recommended and should be avoided at all costs. Sleep is extremely crucial for many bodily functions and mental health!
Myth 3: Your Sleep Needs Diminish With Age:
This is actually not true. Senior citizens still need sleep to function and thrive in life. Yes, many of them can now function on six hours a night vs. eight hours, but at the same time there are still many that cannot. The depletion of hormones does play a role in why some of them do not need as much sleep as others.
Myth 4: With practice you can still perform your best on too little sleep:
Absolutely not! This isn't a matter of willing your way to push through. The physical body needs rest regardless of how much you would like to disagree and believe you don't. Lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels in the body leaving you tired, foggy, weaker immune system, and even gain a ton of belly fat! Sleep helps regulate mood as well so if you go without sleep expect to have major mood swings!
Myth 5: During the Weekends You Can Make Up For Lost Sleep:
Wrong! It just doesn't work this way. You can really "make up for lost sleep". Once you have been in sleep deprivation for a while you accumulate sleep debt. It then takes multiple nights of preferred sleeping amounts to get yourself back to "normal". This also sends your circadian rhythm into orbit which can really make you feel out of sync. When possible try and get consistent good rest to perform at your highest level possible!
Myth 6: Turkey and Warm Milk make you sleepy:
Yes turkey does have tryptophan, and warm milk has tryptophan as well. But the other amino acids in these substances can actually have an opposite effect on you! This means that eating turkey or drinking warm milk could actually give you an energy boost that makes you wide eyed rather than sleepy.
Everyone needs 6-12 hours of sleep each night, and six is the minimum amount we should be getting every day if you want to function optimally. The difference between six and 12 is just a couple of extra hours at night, which can lead to a huge difference. Unfortunately there aren't any quick fixes for sleep. If you need more sleep you should make it a priority in your life. Your entire body will function better and can even assist you in weight loss by getting the appropriate amount of rest each night!
Remember to eat healthy, exercise, hydrate, and get as much sleep as you feel your own personal body needs in order to survive and thrive! We hope that busting some of these myths will help you realize how important sleep really is to your health and how important it can be for a long functioning lifespan. Go get some rest!