If you’ve got a healthy diet, active life, good friends, and good sleep, you’ve essentially got the ingredients for a healthy life. But more often than not, one of those gets tossed to the wayside. And the truth is that it may have the biggest impact on overall health and longevity.
It’s easy to stay up late, get up early, and pretend like you don’t need as much sleep as you do. And according to new research, a lot of people don’t fully understand the value of good sleep. And even worse, they believe myths that perpetuate a cycle of poor sleep and compromised health.
A good night’s sleep does wonders for your mind and body. It cleans up chemical waste in your brain; filing away memories and storing learned information. It helps reduce overall stress and anxiety while helping to lower blood pressure, enhance glucose metabolism, increase mood, and help regulate weight. But to get these benefits, you need to do it right.
And how do you do that? Well, you can start by abandoning your belief in these three sleep myths:
- You Can Function Well on 5 Hours of Sleep or Less: Five hours is simply not enough time for your body to undergo the physiological processes that occur in sleep. When you get less than five—or even less than seven—the risk of cardiovascular disease increases, and mood, fatigue, and stress can increase drastically. It also makes it much harder to concentrate and retain information. Some research has indicated that poor health outcomes often increase incrementally as sleep time decreases. Further, napping during the day may lead to some refreshment, but it does not benefit long-term health. Your best bet is creating a firm sleep schedule.
- Loud Snoring is Normal: Heavy snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and depression. If you wake up in the night gasping for air or constantly feel fatigued during the day while under the impression you’ve had a good night’s sleep, booking an appointment with a sleep specialist is recommended.
- Alcohol before Bed Helps You Sleep: Just say “no” to nightcaps. Drinking alcohol in the evening can prevent your body from going achieving deep, restful, and restorative sleep.
To get the most out of your nightly slumber, make your bedroom ideal for good sleep: no screens, dark shades, and a relaxing atmosphere all help. Start your pre-sleep wind-down about an hour before bed and try get some exercise during the day. Also, ensuring you’re getting enough magnesium each day can help you fall and stay asleep.