10 habits that you thought were good for sleeping but that could be making you sick


Hey, Sleepy What they thought about the dream could be nothing more than an impossible dream.

Many of us have notions about sleep that actually have little basis and may even be harmful to our health, according to researchers at the Langone University of Health School of Medicine, New York University, Who conducted a study published on Tuesday in the journal Sleep health.

"There is a link between good sleep and our agreed success"said lead researcher, Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral researcher at the NYU Langone Health Population Health Department. "And yet, we often find ourselves discrediting myths, whether to the media, friends, relatives or a patient."

Robbins and his colleagues They reviewed 8,000 websites to find out what we thought we knew about healthy sleep habits and then presented these beliefs to a carefully selected team of sleep medicine experts. They determined what the myths were and then classified them by the degree of falsehood and importance to health.

Here you have 10 very wrong and unhealthy assumptions we usually make about sleep, an act in which we spend approximately one third of our lives or, if we live to 100, approximately 12,227 days combined.

Stop yawning It's time to put those myths of wrong dreams to sleep.

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1. Adults need five or less hours of sleep

"If you would like to have the ability to perform in the best possible way during the day, not be sick, be mentally strong, be able to have the lifestyle you would like, how many hours do you have to sleep?" Asked the principal investigator of the study. Girardin Jean-Louis, professor of the Department of Population Health.

"It turns out Many people thought sleeping less than five hours a night was good"He said," That's the most troublesome guess we've come across. "

We should sleep between seven and ten o'clock a night, depending on our age, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You say One-third of Americans sleep less than seven hours a night. According to World Sleep Day statistics, lack of sleep threatens the health of up to 45% of the world's population.

"We have ample evidence showing that sleeping five hours a night or less, consistently increasing the risk of adverse health consequencesincluding cardiovascular disease and early mortality, "said Robbins.

In a longitudinal study of 10,308 British civil servants published in 2007, the researchers found that those who reduced their sleep from seven to five hours or less per night were almost twice as likely to die for all causes, especially cardiovascular diseases.

The science also related the lack of sleep with the hypertension, weakening of the immune system, weight gain, lack of libido, mood swings, paranoia, depression and increased risk of diabetes, stroke, dementia and some cancers.

2. It is healthy to be able to fall asleep "anywhere, anytime"

Falling asleep as soon as the car / train / airplane starts to move is not a sign of a well-rested person.sleep experts say. In fact, it is the opposite.

"Falling asleep instantly anywhere, anytime, is a sign that you are not getting enough sleep and that you are falling into episodes of micro-sleep or mini-sleep," Robbins said. "It means your body is so exhausted that every time you have a moment, you will start paying for your sleep debt".

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Do you feel sleepy accumulation of a chemical called adenosine in the brain, which develops throughout the day as the night arrives. Sleeping deeply reduces this chemical, so when you get up, the levels are at the lowest level and you feel invigorated.

But the more you stay awake and The less you sleep, the more your adenosine levels will increase., which is what is called a sleep load or a sleep debt.

Do you want to check your level of drowsiness? Look at the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and if you are concerned, consult a sleep doctor who can perform more complete tests in a sleep lab.

3. Your brain and your body can adapt to fewer hours of sleep

People also believed that the brain and body could adapt and learn to function optimally with fewer hours of sleep. This is also a myth, experts say. This is because your body goes through four different phases of sleep to fully restore itself.

In the first stage, you begin to get some sleep, and in both, you disconnect from the environment, where you will spend most of your total sleep time. Stages three and four contain the deepest and most restorative dream and the dream state of REMor the dream of quick eye movements.

"During REM, the brain is highly reactive"said Robbins. "It almost seems that your brain is awake if we connect it to two more electrodes and we can monitor its brainwaves."

REM can occur at any time during the sleep cycle, but on average, begins about 90 minutes after you have fallen asleep. REM is when your body and brain are busy storing memories, regulating mood and learning. It is also when you dream. The muscles of the arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep, so that you can not do what you dream or hurt yourself.

As a good night's sleep allows you to repeat your sleep cycle, you will go through several REM cycles, which represent approximately 25% of your total sleep time.

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Another important step of the dream is deep sleep, when brain waves slow down in what is called delta waves or slow-wave sleep. It is the time when human growth hormone is released and memories are processed.

"The deepest stages of sleep are really important for the generation of neurons, repair of muscles and restoration of the immune system"Robbins said.

It is difficult to wake a person from a deep sleep. If you wake up, you may feel dazed and tired; Studies show that mental performance can be affected by up to 30 minutes.

4. Snoring, although irritating, is almost harmless

In your dreams, maybe. Indeed, "Shrill, noisy snoring interrupted by pauses in breathing" is a symptom of sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, increases the risk of heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, asthma, high blood pressure, glaucoma, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and cognitive disorders and behavior

"Sleep apnea is extremely stressful," Robbins said. "These patients sleep and then wake up again and again; so they struggle with sleep every day because they are very tired. It is also very misdiagnosed. We believe it affects about 30% of the population and about 10% are diagnosed. "

5. Drinking alcohol before bed helps you sleep

Do you think a drink before going to sleep will help you sleep? Keep dreaming.

Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but that's where the benefits end, Robbins said. On the other hand, catches you in the lighter stages of sleep and "dramatically reduces the quality of your rest at night".

"Keep yourself free of the rapid movement of your eyes and the deeper stages of sleep, which makes you wake up without feeling recovered"Robbins said.

6. Can not you sleep? Stay in bed with your eyes closed and try

You must admit it makes sense: how can you fall asleep if you're not in bed trying to do it? In addition, Sleep experts say keeping sheep counts for more than 15 minutes is not the smartest thing.

"If we stay in bed, let's start associating the bed with insomnia"said Robbins. She compares this to "going to the gym and staying on a treadmill and doing nothing".

In fact, Robbins said, a healthy sleeper takes 15 minutes to sleep. If you're playing and turning in bed for much longer than that, you should get up, change the environment and do something meaningless: "Keep the lights down and fold the socks", he suggested.

Some people also believe that it is very refreshing for your body to lie in bed with your eyes closed but not to sleep. No. This is another impossible dream, experts say.

7. No matter what time of day you sleep

Sleep experts say it is another myth that can negatively affect your health.

"We recommend that people have a regular sleep schedule because it controls what we call the body's biological clock, or circadian rhythm"said Jean-Louis. "This controls all body hormones, body temperature, diet and digestion, and sleep and wake cycles."

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When your inner clock and the outside world are outdated, you may feel disoriented, mentally cloudy and sleepy Sometimes when you need to be working at optimal levels. Just think about what happens when you travel through time zones or when daylight saving time comes into play.

Studies of shift workers, who work at unusual times and live out of sync with their normal biological rhythm, show that they have a increased risk of heart disease, ulcers, depression, obesity and certain types of cancer, as well as a higher rate of accidents and injuries in the workplace due to a lower rate of reaction and poor decision making.

8. Watching television in bed helps you relax

Okay, we all do this, or check our laptop or smartphone before bed at night. Unfortunately, this sets us up for a bad night.

"These devices emit bright blue light, and that blue light tells our brains to be alive and alert in the morning." Robbins explained. "We want to avoid the blue light before going to bed, from sources like a TV or your smartphone, and doing things that relax you."

According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue light affects the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, more than any other wavelength of light. Watching TV or using an electronic device within two hours of bedtime means you'll be slower to fall asleep, have less sleep or REM sleep, and even if you sleep eight hours or more, you'll wake up dizzy.

If you or your children can not make this cut of two hours due to night work or work assignments, experts suggest Decrease the brightness of the screen or install an application that can warm the screen to the colors of the sunset. Red and yellow have longer wavelengths and do not affect melatonin.

9. Setting the "snooze" button on the alarm clock is great! No need to get up straight away

Raise your hand if you press the "snooze" button. Why would not you do that, right?

"Resist the temptation to doze, because unfortunately, your body will go back to sleep, a very light and low quality dream"Robbins said.

As the end of your dream approaches, your body will probably approach the end of your last REM cycle. Press the repeat button and the brain returns to a new REM cycle. Now, when the alarm sounds a few minutes later, you will be in the middle, not the end, of that cycle, and You'll wake up stunned and you'll stay like this for longer..

Do you have problems getting rid of the habit of the wake-up button? Set the alarm on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

And no, you can not tell Google or Alexa to turn it off. This is cheating.

10. Remembering your dreams is a sign of good sleep.

"This is a myth, because we all experience dreams four to five times a night," said Jean-Louis. "And we do not remember them because we do not wake up or interrupt our sleep."

A study carried out in France showed that people who often remember their dreams have more brain activity in the brain's information processing center. They also woke twice more at night and were more sensitive to sounds when they slept and were awake.

"Now, I'll tell you if you have a dream with a strong emotional context, you can go back to something like two in the afternoon when you have free time to relax," Jean-Louis said. "Sometimes something could trigger this. If it's a strange mundane dream, most of us who sleep well do not remember it."

More myths

The research team found more myths that we tend to accept as facts, said Jean-Louis, "Sleep more is always better" (no, you can actually sleep too much and harm your health)"Taking a nap in the afternoon can solve insomnia" (in fact, if you get enough sleep to get into a REM cycle or deep sleep, it can ruin the body clock even more) and "it's better to have a room warm that cold" (no, you sleep better in colder temperatures).

Which means we could all use a little education about good sleep hygiene, a set of habits that will shape and prepare you for a healthy sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has advice, as does the CDC. After all, there is no amount of caffeine that can help you cope with the adverse consequences of getting enough sleepYou can not train yourself to adapt to the lack of sleep, Robbins said.

"Dreaming is a highly active process," he said. "It's really crucial to restore the body and, in fact, it's the most efficient and effective way to do it."

Sweet Dreams!

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