Sleep Myths Busted

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Joy Niemack
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The weekend is over but you are still craving sleep even after those eight hours?

Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology and medical psychology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, busts some sleep myths.

  • That eight-hour thing. There’s no one perfect amount of sleep that’s right for everyone. Only 27% of people sleep eight hours or more, according to Roenneberg’s research. Adults over 30 average roughly 7 hours. Yet Roenneberg says that we sleep “about two hours less per night than 50 years ago,” which is bad for our health.
  • “Early to bed…” An early bedtime and early wake-up made sense before electricity, when our body clocks followed the sun. But now that we stay up later, it’s actually better to sleep in. Most of us can’t, of course, so we suffer from sleep deprivation and catch up on weekends.
  • Workouts help us sleep. Exercise might help, but it’s really daylight that helps you sleep by synchronizing your body clock to the sun.
  • Partners have differing sleep habits. True, women tend to sleep earlier—but that’s about genetics and biology rather than personal preference. One neat fact: Women control the sleep times of their husbands, making them sleep earlier than they would as bachelors, according to research.
  • Sleep is just a matter of discipline. Most parents and teachers think that if teenagers are zombies in the morning, they just lack the discipline to go to bed early. Although it is true that exposure to computer and television screens late at night makes for late rising, early-to-bed teenagers will still have a hard time getting up at the crack of dawn. Think of teenagers as early shift-workers who suffer the most social jet lag. They should sleep with daylight coming into their bedrooms and should refrain from using light-emitting devices after 10 p.m.
  • Thanks to the Washington Post


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