Sleeping is a key part of staying healthy, but many people aren't getting enough or are having too much. Find out which sleep myths might be preventing you from getting a better night's sleep. To make every minute of sleep count, do not abide by these sleep myths.
Myth 1. Falling asleep to the TV is OK.
The Truth: Artificial light from televisions—and especially from computer and smartphone screens—may suppress production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness. Artificial light also shifts your circadian rhythms—a biological cycle that responds primarily to daylight and darkness and influences sleep.
Myth 2. A glass of wine before bed will help you get a better night’s rest.
The Truth: Because alcohol is a sedative, drinking wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages may help you fall asleep, but will interrupt your sleep later and rob you of one of our most satisfying types of sleep, where dreams occur as you are likely to wake up due to dehydration or for visiting the loo. Drink moderately, if at all, and avoid drinking within a few hours of bedtime.
Myth 3. Exercising at night keeps you awake.
The Truth: Hitting the gym or going for a run less than 3 hours before bedtime will not prevent you from falling asleep, according to recent research. However, it may hinder your sleep quality.
Myth 4. A cup of herbal tea will put you to sleep faster.
The Truth: Though chamomile, lemon balm, hops and passionflower are all touted for their sleep-promoting properties (and are often found in “sleep-formula” tea blends), their effectiveness hasn’t been proven in clinical studies, according to the recent research.
Myth 5. You can catch up on lost sleep by sleeping in on weekends.
The Truth: If you sleep poorly—or don’t get enough sleep—once or twice a week, you can make up for it. It's impossible to catch up on missed sleep because you can't make up the quality. A long lie-in disturbs your biological clock and leaves you groggy so it's counterproductive.The way around would be to go to bed earlier the following night instead, but wake up at the same time every day regardless of when you went to sleep.
Myth 6. Drinking a glass of warm milk will help you fall asleep.
The Truth: The theory is this: milk contains tryptophan, which when released into the brain produces serotonin—a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter. However, when milk was tested, it failed to affect sleep patterns. “Tryptophan-containing foods don’t produce the hypnotic effects pure tryptophan does because other amino acids in those foods compete to get into the brain,” explained by doctors.