Some myths and truths about sleep


Myth: our body is absolutely inactive during sleep

Truth: research has shown that some areas of the brain are a lot more active during sleep than in a state of vigilance. What our brain does during sleep is actually process data received at daytime, which includes new information, impression, sensations, etc. In order for the brain to capture data properly, thought processes need to be switched off from time to time so that the brain has a little mop-up. This is common to mammals, birds and even reptiles, and this is what actually keeps our body ticking. If you miss a sleep at least once, you are going to feel exhausted, depressed and drowsy during the day. It is your mental, not physical health that bears the whole brunt of it.

Myth: the less time you spend sleeping, the more successful your business can be.

Truth: many busy people sleep only 3 to 4 hours per day and believe that this is one of the ways of reaching material well-being. Indeed, many genius people and business sharks barely sleep for a couple of hours. However, it is maximum health and strength that guarantees high levels of creative power. If three hours of sleep is sufficient for your body, it means that your glands produce large amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, known as alertness hormones. In this case, your sleep is structured individually per unit of time and it does not take an alarm clock to wake you up in the right time. It is your bodily alarm clock that should wake you up when necessary! Deliberate interruption of sleep reduces your mental abilities and creativity and undermines your physical health.

Myth: sedatives improve your sleep

Truth: sedatives result in poor quality sleep. This is more about chemical drugs than homeopathic and herbal medicines. For instance, benzodiazepins are known to break the natural cycle of sleep and cause addiction. You have to take a larger dose every next time to achieve the desired effect. You should avoid using chemicals unless a few hours of sleep are a life-and-death issue.

Myth: you can sleep well only in a quiet and dark place

Truth: indeed, it is quite advisable for insomnia sufferers to look for a quiet and dark room. However, absence of noise and light is not a must. Poor sleep results from failure to match your actual sleep time to your natural sleep cycle. If you turn in according to your sleep cycle, you will dose off in direct sunlight or with the volume control on your TV turned to a moderate level and your folks chatting and laughing in the next room. This happens due to the blocking of sense organs, which occurs during sleep. If you try to sleep in the wrong time, the blocking will not happen and you will not be able to sleep even in a dark and isolated room.

Myth: nighttime work is harmful

Truth: people who work during night hours are prone to cardiovascular diseases and stress. However, this is due to unstable work schedule, not due to night work itself. Human body can adjust to night work quite well within a few days, so man can work at night and sleep at daytime. Regularity and stability make all the difference in the world in this case.

Myth: daytime sleep is a sign of weakness and fatigue

Truth: drowsiness is a natural thing. We are ‘programmed’ to sleep twice, not once, each day. It is due to our daytime activities that the second sleep period is less defined. Therefore, if you want to relax 5 or 6 hours after you wake up in the morning, it is quite advisable to take a nap.

Myth: larks and owls. An owl can never become a lark

Truth: it is possible for an owl to become a lark. All you need to do is have a kind of chronotherapy course, which lies in smooth and gradual readjusting of your sleep cycle. It happens if your life mode is changed due to various circumstances, like change of work or place of residence. For example, if a farmer happens to become a student, he/she will be an owl pretty soon. Once he/she gets back to farming, he/she will become a lark again.

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