Everyone needs 8 hours of sleep, and other sleep myths debunked

If you’ve read our other posts, you know that here at All Smiles, we think quality sleep is

essential

to good health. We deal with some problems that can hinder people from getting the sleep they need, such as sleep apnea. However, even people without sleep apnea or other sleep disorders do not get the sleep they need. In fact, the average American does not get enough sleep.

Most people think 8 hours of sleep is the magic number, and if they get that, there is no excuse to be tired! While 8 hours is a good amount of sleep for most people, everyone is different. Some require more, some require less. You’ll know when you’re getting enough sleep when you start feeling well-rested and don’t start fading in the afternoon. One popular actress reports needing eleven hours of sleep a night in order to feel her best.

Another sleep myth is that some people need very little sleep (four hours or less!). While everyone is different, that little amount of sleep is not healthy. People who function like this daily just haven’t realized how tired they are. Sleep deprivation can cause you to perform as though you are legally drunk. It can also cause weight gain and other health problems.

Is more sleep always better? Not necessarily. Too much time in bed can indicate depression or other health problems that cause unnatural drowsiness. If you are sleeping excessive amounts, a trip to your doctor may be in order.

Many people believe that if they experience insomnia, meds are the answer. In some cases, medication can help, but it really should be the very last resort. Simple changes, such as eliminating TV before bed and having a bedtime routine can prevent the need (and side effects) of sleeping pills, which sometimes don’t even solve the problem.

Often, weekends are used to catch up on lost sleep from the week. However, most people have experienced the odd phenomenon of feeling very lethargic after sleeping in until 10 a.m. This is because the body thrives on routine, and getting out of whack by sleeping three hours later than usual can cause drowsiness rather than increased energy. A better way to feel energized on the weekend is to go to bed at your normal time, and don’t sleep more than two hours later than your normal wake time.

Use this week to improve your sleep routine and get more quality sleep. Making subtle changes to your sleep habits can improve your quality of life and energy level.

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