Myth: You can catch up on sleep.
Fact: Chronic sleep debt cannot be repaid in a single weekend.
If your weekly schedule keeps you from falling into bed before midnight and the alarm goes off at 5 a.m., sleeping in on weekends won’t erase the effects of going into sleep debt in the first place. Sleeping in later on the weekends to make up for lost sleep can make it difficult to fall asleep at the end of the weekend, which can lead to a deficit starting the week.
It can take weeks — or longer — to get your body back on a regular schedule, and even a few nights of sleep debt can start the cycle all over again. Establish a regular bedtime/wake time and stick with it.
Myth: Sleep disorders are not very common.
Fact: Between five and seven million Brits report having a sleep disorder such as insomnia, snoring, and sleep apnea.
Some studies estimate that just 5% of those who suffer from sleep disorders talk to doctors about their problems. Often people don’t like to reveal they are having problems sleeping. That despite the fact that sleep disorders could be damaging by leading to daytime drowsiness, accidents, poor decision-making, increased sensitivity to stress, chronic fatigue and many other health problems.
Myth: Sleeping pills are the best solution for sleep problems.
Fact: They are really only a temporary remedy.
Almost one million Brits take prescription sleep aids, according to a recent report. Sleeping pills can be helpful in the short-term but chronic use should be avoided. There are countless natural sleep inducers, including exercise, acupuncture, supplements, meditation and regular sleep/wake times. Before taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor. Often truth is that sleeping pills are rarely the best solution.
Myth: You don’t have to prioritise sleep.
Fact: Sleep is as important as diet and exercise for health and well-being.
Sleep is critical for the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. It helps promote growth and development and regulates insulin. Sleep deficiency leads to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke; a lack of sleep also fires up your appetite and increases the risk of obesity.