Exercising in the evening is not good for sleep whilst lack of sleep will pile on the pounds… All true or an old wives’ tale? Take our sleep quiz and get ready to bust some ingrained, but popular sleep myths!
Regardless of the length, naps affect our night sleep in some way or another.
You can exercise a few hours before bedtime without it affecting your sleep.
The blue light emitted from screens does not really make it harder to fall asleep.
The more sleep someone gets, the better.
Among other attributes, a “good sleeper” has the ability to fall asleep anywhere and at any time.
Getting too little sleep may impact weight.
Remembering dreams is a sign of a good night’s sleep.
You can catch up on lost sleep on the weekends.
Teenagers need more sleep than adults.
You should never wake up a sleepwalker because there’s a risk of health complications.
False. Most research confirms that daytime naps do not have a substantial negative impact on sleep, despite sleep hygiene recommendations to avoid naps. Moreover, the nap duration seems to have limited effects on the relationship between napping and sleep. So, take a break and enjoy the benefits of a power nap for your energy levels, attention and performance!
True. According to a recent study analyzing 150,000 nights of data, moderate to vigorous activity in the 3 hours before bedtime is unrelated to sleep quality, and is instead linked to slightly longer sleep and early sleep onset. This means, the “too late for working out” excuse doesn’t fly anymore!
True. The latest research suggests that the use of the “Night shift” filter on your phone doesn’t really make a difference to your sleep, and that screenlight exposure doesn’t affect that much the time to fall asleep as believed before.
False. Sleep duration is important but sleep quality is the other essential factor to consider. A recent study found that the best amount of sleep is around 7 hours – meaning more isn’t necessarily better. Sleeping too much (also called hypersomnia) or excessive daytime sleepiness can be as bad as sleep deprivation and is frequently linked to different medical conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
False. Being able to fall asleep anywhere at any time is usually a symptom of chronic sleep restriction, an underlying sleep disorder (sleep apnea, narcolepsy…) or disorders linked to the circadian rhythm (for example, jet lag). Instead of focusing too much on being able to fall asleep anytime and anywhere, a proficient sleeper should try to keep to a regular sleep schedule that improves sleep quality that makes them feel great.
True. The amount of sleep an individual gets affects the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which control the feelings of hunger and satiation, respectively. Reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin have been reported in large population samples with sleep deprivation as well as an increased Body Mass Index (BMI). The changes in these hormones after shorter sleep durations are likely to increase appetite and may therefore as a consequence, lead to weight gain.
False. There’s no correlation between the ability to remember dreams and good sleep. Dreaming is the opposite of focused, intentional thinking and learning, hence dreams are likely more easily forgotten.
Of course, there are dreams that will always stand out, you may even remember some vivid ones dating back several years. But on the whole, as dreams are created when the brain is ‘off-guard’, they will not stay with you for long. Keeping a journal or dream diary by your bed and noting down fragments of your dream as soon as you wake up, is your best bet for remembering them.
False. One may feel better in the short term after catching up on extra sleep during the weekend. However, research shows that it may take more than a week to fully recover from prolonged sleep loss. It requires regularity over the 7-day week and not only ‘catching up’ on weekends to make a sustained difference and counteract the impact of insufficient sleep (also referred to as sleep debt).
True. While individual differences always need to be taken into account, most teenagers (aged between 13-18) need a little over 9 hours of sleep to optimally perform.
As the teenage brain and body develop – quality sleep plays a crucial part in facilitating this process. Moreover, if teenagers stay up late it is not always simply a matter of choice – their body clocks start to naturally shift because of the different biological changes, many becoming night owls for prolonged periods of time as a result.
False. Waking up a sleepwalker is not going to hurt their health or even kill them. However, some experts discourage it, as it can make them feel confused, disoriented and distressed. The best thing to do is to watch over them and lead them back to bed so that they don’t hurt themselves or others. They will remain asleep and will not remember anything when they wake up.
Spotting sleep myths to promote better sleep habits
Being able to separate fact from fiction with regards to sleep is an important step in promoting better sleep habits and by doing so improving your sleep and overall health. We hope the quiz has helped debunk some of the more popular sleep myths out there and that in the process you’ve picked up some helpful facts on sleep to help create new, sustainable sleep habits.