7 Sleep Myths Busted
Sleep Myth No. 1: Sleeping on a firm mattress is best
Struggling with an achy back or joints? For generations, we’ve been taught that sleeping on a firm – or even hard – surface is the answer. Unfortunately, this myth isn’t true. It is true that a good mattress should be supporting. However, in order to truly do its job, the mattress needs to be soft enough for you to sink into its surface. Why is this? When you’re sleeping on a mattress that provides sufficient support, you should find that both your lower back and the backs of your knees are touching the mattress. A very firm mattress often doesn’t provide this surface. Instead, look for softer mattresses with higher spring counts – these tend to give the best balance of support and softness, helping to alleviate aches and pains.
Learn more about the best sleeping position for a better night’s rest.
Sleep Myth No. 2: A tipple before bedtime helps you sleep
While there’s no denying that drinking alcohol before bed can make you feel drowsy in the short term, in the long term it’s more likely to cause sleep problems than solve them. Alcohol can cause you to feel warmer – meaning that you’re more likely to wake up due to overheating in the night. What’s more, it’s also a trigger for night sweats in some adults. Far better to stick to a milky drink before bed.
Sleep Myth No. 3: A warm bedroom is best for sleep
While it’s tempting to crank up the heat and cosy down under the covers, the reality is that cooler is better when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, being too warm is a far greater cause of sleep disturbances in adults than being too cool.
Parents of babies and young children should also pay attention to their temperature at bedtime. Since little ones’ bodies are not yet fully developed, they lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature effectively compared with adults. This increases their risk of overheating – a problem that can cause night waking and even serious medical problems.
Sleep Myth No. 4: You can catch up on lost sleep
While napping or having a lie-in can help you to feel less tired in the short-term, these techniques for catching up on lost sleep also tend to disrupt your sleeping routine, resulting in even more sleep lost in the long-term. Relying on extra sleep snatched here and there also prevents you from finding a true solution to your sleep issues. By resolving these, you should be able to reduce the amount of sleep you lose in the first place.
Sleep Myth No. 5: Sleeping longer is better
The longer you sleep, the more refreshed you feel? While that may seem logical, the reality is that it’s not how long you sleep for but how well you sleep that has the biggest impact on how you feel when you wake. To feel refreshed, the body needs to spend more time in stage 4 sleep – this is the stage when the body does most of its repair work – often known as the regenerative stage of sleep. But that doesn’t necessarily mean more sleep overall – it simply means adopting better sleep hygiene so that your body can reach stage 4 sleep sooner and stay there longer.
Sleep Myth No. 6: There’s no solution for night sweats
If you’re suffering from night sweats – particularly caused by the menopause – it can feel like you’ve simply got to resign yourself to getting less sleep. But there are ways to alleviate or even stop the symptoms of night sweats – from simple changes to diet through to changing your choice of nightwear and bedding. A few changes can make a big difference. Learn more about night sweats and sleep.
And here’s one sleep myth that is true
Sleep Myth No. 7: Sheep can help you sleep
… but not in the way you think. While counting dozens or even hundreds of imaginary sheep is unlikely to help you drift off to lullaby land, there is something we can learn from our woolly-coated friends when it comes to sleep. Specifically, natural wool fibres are highly effective at regulating temperature and wicking away moisture. This helps you to maintain a healthy sleeping temperature and alleviates the clamminess caused by night time sweating. But that’s not all – wool is also hypoallergenic, meaning that it keeps the symptoms of night-time allergies at bay too.
So how can you harness the naturally sleep-enhancing properties of wool? Look for wool bedding sets that will bring the benefits of this miracle fibre to your bedroom.
Discover more tips for a better night’s slumber with our Sleep Health and Advice hub.