3 common sleep myths that put health at risk
Sleep myths or misbeliefs are common and pose a major threat to health, warns a new study recently published in the journal Sleep Health.
These myths include the following:
Some people only need five hours of sleep.
Snoring is harmless.
A drink before bed helps you fall asleep.
"Sleep is a vital part of life that affects our productivity, mood, general health and well-being," said Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health in New York City and lead author of the study.
"Dispelling the myths about sleep promotes healthier sleep habits which, in turn, promote better overall health".
For the work, the researchers reviewed more than 8,000 websites to identify the 20 most common beliefs about sleep.
One of the main myths was the claim by some people that they can survive on five hours of sleep a night. The authors said that this poses the most serious health risk due to the effects of long-term sleep deprivation.
Robbins and her colleagues suggested creating a consistent sleep schedule and getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.
And don't assume that your snoring isn't a big problem, that's another myth, the study team said. While they may be harmless, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops and occurs repeatedly throughout the night. If left untreated, it can lead to heart problems and other illnesses.
The researchers also dispelled the idea that a drink before bedtime can help you sleep. Alcohol makes it more difficult to achieve deep sleep, which is crucial for proper functioning during the day, the experts explained.
Girardin Jean-Louis, a principal investigator of the study and professor in the departments of population health and psychiatry at New York University in Langone, said that the public needs to be better informed about the importance of sleep.
"For example, by discussing sleep habits with their patients, physicians can help prevent sleep myths from increasing the risks of heart disease, as well as obesity and diabetes," he concluded.
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