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We asked our resident sleep expert to help demystify some common thoughts on sleep and share the true facts.

By: Sheryl Brooks, R.N., N.C.M.P.

MYTH #1

I get more done, so I am more efficient when I spend less time sleeping, so I don’t need to make more hours asleep a priority.

FACT 

Consistently sleeping less than 7 hours a night impacts how we function.  It impacts our ability to make decisions, to focus and concentrate and slows our reaction time. all of which can contribute less than optimal performance, more errors, and higher risk of accidents. 

MYTH #2

A glass of wine late in the evening helps me relax and sleep better.

FACT 

Alcohol has a sedative effect at first, but cause more wakefulness through the night.  Most people sleep best if they stop food and alcohol 2-3 hours before sleep.

MYTH #3

 I just don’t sleep well and there is not much I can do about it, except to take sleep medications.

FACT 

Most of us can impact how we sleep by making a sleep plan that includes behavior changes that work with our body’s ability to sleep, instead of against it.

MYTH #4

As I age my body requires less sleep.

FACT 

Adults of all ages who regularly sleep less than 7 or 8 hours increase their risks for high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke, as well as mood disorders.

MYTH #5

I get 8 hours of sleep and it must be sound sleep because I am told that I snore off and on, but I still never feel rested

FACT 

Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which causes breathing to start and stop as you sleep, which compromises your sleep quality and can raises your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Have a discussion with your doctor if your sleep partner says that your snoring wakes them, your breathing seems to stop intermittently, you wake up short of breath or you feel drowsy during the day on a regular basis, in spite of getting at least seven hours of sleep.

MYTH #6

I have a healthy diet, I get regular exercise, I don’t smoke, and I take steps to reduce my stress levels on a regular basis, so I am doing everything I can to optimize my health now and to age well.

FACT 

Those are all essential parts of creating a healthy lifestyle, but getting 7-9 hours of sleep on a regular basis will support your healthy choices andenhance your body and brain health today and as you age.

You can learn more about current sleep topics in Sheryl Brook's Are You Sleeping workshop here at Miraval or see her for a Get A Better Night's Sleep private session.

Check out previous blog posts on healthy sleep >

Read a recent article that highlights Sheryl's sleep workshop >

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