Five sleep myths busted!
Get your daily quota of zzzs is more important than you know .
You’re healthy and fit because you put in long hours at work, don’t miss a day at the gym, eat healthy, don’t smoke and get by with just four-five hours of sleep. If you virtuously ticked yes to all the above, giving yourself a mental high five, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s strange how many of you—who prioritize work, fitness and healthy eating—are so misled about how much sleep you need. A Harvard Medical Review report says that most adults need between eight-nine hours of sleep for optimal health and efficiency. Nykaa debunks five most common myths relating to sleep.
Myth 1 .
I’ll become fat and lethargic if I sleep too much
It’s really the other way around. “Sleep is actually the best diet,” says Nykaa expert Naini Setalvad. In fact, a University of California, Berkley, study concluded that depriving people of sleep for one night made them more attracted to high-calorie junk foods such as potato chips and sweets. Sleep deprivation can make you eat six percent more calories than if you get a good night’s rest. On the other hand, sleeping just one extra hour every night can help you lose a kilo in a fortnight! The brain secretes a hormone leptin that controls appetite; less sleep equals less leptin, with the result that you end up overeating even if you’re not hungry. If you travel frantically and your body clock can’t seem to adjust to different time zones, it’s time to try melatonin, a natural sleep regulator. Keep GNC Melatonin Cap 3mg (60 Tabs) handy.
Myth 2 .
I’ll catch up with lost sleep over the weekend
Sleeping in after a late night of partying feels good but making up a week’s deficit in one or two nights is next to impossible. You need several days or weeks to make up sleep deficit, says Setalvad. Rule of thumb: sleep for half the time you’re awake. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t catch up on shut eye after days or weeks of deficit but don’t make a habit of this. The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep says short term sleep debt of 10-12 hours can be overcome by adding three-four extra sleep hours on the weekend and an extra hour or two per night the following week until you have repaid the debt fully. Long term sleep deficit—working 16 hour days for months—needs a relaxed vacation to recoup losses, not a whirlwind tour of museums. “Think of it like a sleep bank account,” says Setalvad, “unless you have adequate sleep in the account you’re going to burn out.”
Myth 3 .
I have conditioned my body to need less sleep
“I need just three hours every night.” It’s a common brag but an unbelievable one. Sure you may be able to condition yourself to sleep at midnight and wake up at 4 am every morning but that doesn’t mean your body isn’t running on empty. “Getting by on less means you’re doing your body—and health—a big disservice, ultimately resulting in poor mental and physical conditioning,” says Setalvad. A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology notes that getting seven or more hours of sleep a night boosts the overall protective benefit of these behaviors, resulting in a 65 per cent lower risk of Cardio Vascular Disease and 83 per cent lower risk of fatal heart attacks.
Myth 4 .
A glass (or two) of alcohol helps me sleep better
You may seem to fall asleep soon after drinking with buddies but it’s never the same quality of sleep you would get if you were completely sober. “Consuming alcohol within three hours of bedtime can disrupt REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, so you never get into this deep state of sleep critical for making you feel rested and fresh the next morning,” says Setalvad. Tossing and turning at night only increases sleep deficit and with that the associated risks of weight gain and concentration issues.
Myth 5 .
A good night’s sleep means eight hours straight
It’s unnatural to stay asleep all night. Most people wake up a few times every night to have a drink of water, go to the bathroom or grab a pillow. As long as you go back to sleep within a few minutes of waking, you’re doing fine. However, if you find it impossible to go back to sleep that’s when memory and rest are compromised. An occasional disturbed night of just a few hours of sleep is not worrisome but if it happens often, it might be a good idea to see a sleep specialist.