Sleep Like a Baby: Myths About Insomnia and Aging
Treating Insomnia: 4 Myths About Sleep
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Insomnia is aggravated and perpetuated by a set of false beliefs. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we believe about sleep--and how those beliefs trigger anxiety and compromise a good night’s sleep—until they are laid out before us. In their book, "Quiet Your Mind &GettoSleep,"authorsColleenCarney,Ph.D.andRachelManber,Ph.D.listseveralmythsaboutsleepandexplainwhytheyarenothelpful.Theyhavehelpedmeinmymostrecentboutofinsomnia,andI’mhopingtheycanhelpyou,too.
Truth:There’sawiderangeofsleepneeds.Theaverageamountofsleepneededforanadulthisunknownbutisprobablylessthaneighthours.Second,sleepdurationisonlyoneofmanydeterminantsofdaytimefunctioning; within reason, sleep quality is probably more important than the total amount of sleep.
Myth #2: If you’ve had good sleep, you should wake up feeling refreshed.
Truth: After waking, it’s natural to spend up to 30 minutes feeling groggy. This is called sleep inertia or sleep drunkenness, which is transient and is likely affected by the sleep stage from which you were awakened. If you are a night person, you may experience more sleep inertia than the average person.
Myth #3: If you wake up a couple of times during the night, even though you fall back to sleep pretty quickly, it must be having a negative effect.
Truth: Brief arousals are a normal part of the sleep process. Although most are not long enough to be remembered in the morning, the average number of awakenings per night is twelve (Bonnet and Arand 2007). A normal amount of time to spend awake in bed is up to thirty minutes.
Myth #4: If you spend more time in bed, you’ll get more sleep and feel better the next day.
Truth: Sleep quality is more important than quantity. In addition to interfering with the sleep driver and your biological clock, spending extra time in bed may increase depression.
Video: 15 Myths About Sleep
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