7 Bullshit Sleep Myths Debunked

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Having trouble sleeping? The problem might not be with your pillow but rather commonly help sleep myths.

The science behind sleeping has developed dramatically in the past few decades. What used to be an inexact, mystical process is now a well-researched and analyzed subject.

That being said, there are still many pervasive sleep myths that can lead to false or misguided information about how we sleep.

Hopefully, this list of misconceptions will help you in your quest to feel rested and refreshed each morning.

#1 Your Brain Can Learn to Function with Less Sleep

Most people tend to think they can pull an all-nighter from time to time and keep going with limited sleep, thinking a cup of coffee is all they need to make up for the lost time in bed.

The truth is even one night of poor sleep can cause your brain to crash and lead to impairment in attention, reaction time, and judgment. It can even have the same effect on your driving as being over the limit.

In the long term, inefficient sleep patterns can cause major health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and increased risk of diabetes.

You may think that all that extra time spent in bed could be spent better elsewhere, but it’s important to remember that sleep is a crucial part of your daily routine.

Learning to function on less than the recommended amount isn’t worth the health risks.

#2 Time of Day Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Sleep

A mid-day nap is a great way to boost your mood and restore your body’s energy. However, having a consistent sleep cycle and schedule throughout the week is more important than just getting the sleep where you can.

Your daily habits actually set your body clocks, so going to bed at different times every night may actually mess up your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to fall asleep on time.

Your bedtime should be consistent. It’s essential to go to bed at about the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning.

Studies on night shift workers show that their Circadian rhythms disruption leads to heart disease and higher blood pressure.

Bottom line: Getting consistent sleep patterns throughout the week is better for your mental state and physical health.

sleep myths - circadian rhythms

#3 Hitting 'Snooze' is Better Than Getting Up Right Away

Our night’s sleep is made up of 90-minute cycles. Beginning with our transition into deep sleep and ending with REM sleep, rapid eye movement.

We generally wake up at the end of one of our REM cycles. However when we hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, our next alarm call might come in the middle of the cycle.

This confuses the brain and can lead to grogginess and exhaustion later on in the day. It may seem contradictory, but stealing those extra minutes of sleep can actually make you more tired in the long run.

sleep myths - Stages of sleep
Stages of sleep

#4 Being Bored Makes You Sleepy

We’ve all been in a boring meeting and felt our eyelid begin to fall before we embarrassing snap ourselves back awake.

So it makes sense that people turn to dull podcasts and lectures as their go-to sleeping aid.

However, the sleepiness that comes with boredom is more of a sign of sleep deprivation than boredom itself.

That being said, if a sleepy podcast helps you drift off then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it.

Just keep in mind it’s no guarantee and that the blue light emitted from our personal electronics can also be a cause of insomnia.

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Take any MindEasy courses for free

#5 Your Brain Shuts Down During Sleep

The phrase “out like a light” gives the impression that our brains are inactive when we sleep.

 However, the reality is very different. Using EEG machines, scientists can monitor brain waves and see precisely what is happening with the cognitive activity in different parts of the brain as we sleep.

Brain activity during sleep has two different purposes: the first need is to cleanse excess information from our short-term memory and consolidate the new information. 

In a way, it is cleansing the brain of excess sensory information and preparing for the next day.

#6 Length Of Sleep Is All That Matters

This one really comes down to quality over quantity. But what defines good quality of sleep?

Ultimately a couple of hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep is better than 8 hours of broken, bad sleep. Ask any new parent.

When our stages of sleep are interrupted, it disrupts our body’s natural hormone production and hormonal balance. This can lead to changes in appetite, grogginess, and depression or anxiety.

Here are some tips to get a better quality of sleep:
-Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.
-Exercise regularly, but avoid vigorous exercise for 3 hours before bedtime.
-Stay on your regular sleep schedule and avoid naps during the day

#7 Midnight is too Late for Bed

The time you go to sleep doesn’t matter as much as the hours of sleep you manage to get.

Our biological clock generally sets our natural sleep time. Some of us are early risers who like to go to Bed at 9 pm and some of us our nights owls who become active at night and then like to sleep in.

Insufficient sleep is the real problem to be avoided. If you know your body clock and can make sure the sleep you are getting is quality sleep, you should be fine.

Key Facts

  1. Common sleep myths persist despite the development in sleep science.

  2. Your brain cannot learn to function on less sleep. Sleep experts agree that good sleep health comes from getting the right amount of hours of sleep per night.

  3. Hitting the snooze button to get extra sleep can disrupt the natural rhythm of your sleep cycle. This fragmented sleep can cause tiredness later in the day.

  4. Your brain is alive with activity during the night, processing memories and preparing you for the upcoming day.

  5. Your bedtime doesn’t matter as much as getting the right amount of quality sleep. Lack of adequate sleep and affect your mental health and disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Griff Williams

MindEasy founder & meditation teacher

Griff Williams is an accredited meditation teacher and founder of MindEasy. He spent 12 years working as a London firefighter before changing paths to pursue building MindEasy. He received his diploma in meditation teaching from The British School of Meditation.