Dispelling Sleep Myths

Waking up with bags beneath your eyes is the least of yourworries if you're not getting the deep sleep every human being requires.

And while every person is different, most people function wellon about eight hours of sleep.

"The average, when you look across the board, is 7-1/2 toeight hours of sleep is best. Not everyone requires that, some peoplerequire more," said Dr. Richard Bregman, medical director of the St.Francis Hospital Sleep Disorders Center.

Some people require a little less, although pushing the linetoo far has side effects for many people.

"When someone consistently gets less than what they require,things go wrong," he said. "Their memory is decreased, the ability tofocus is decreased, mental acuity is decreased. So there are some realissues that occur -- not just being sleepy -- when one is chronicallysleep-deprived."

In the years since he's been in practice, Bregman has heard alot of causes for lost sleep and some excuses and remedies to go withthem. But to get better quality Zs, you have to wipe out some oldhabits and ways of thinking.

Myth: It's impossible tocatch up on sleep.

"You can. It's called recovery sleep, and it usually takes twonights of recovery sleep to get one back to their base line," he said.

But that doesn't mean you must make up the exact amount oftime lost. If you lose five hours of sleep in a single night, you don'thave to sleep five extra hours over the course of next few days. Yourbody will often let you know to go to bed a little earlier than usual."It's not a formula," he said. "You do go into a sleep debt,but you can make it up."Myth: A nightcap helps meget to sleep."Not true," Bregman said. "The amount you think it takesincreases. It might be a half a glass of wine and in another month,it's a glass of wine and then maybe a glass and a half," he said.The body acclimates to alcohol and gradually requires more toachieve the same effect.As alcohol metabolizes in the body it can cause a person towake to varying degrees throughout the night, fragmenting the soundsleep you should be getting.If you have sleep apnea, alcohol also can make snoring worsesince it works as a muscle relaxer. The tongue is relaxed and closesoff the back of the throat cutting off airways."If you do want a drink, you should not drink within threehours of bedtime," he said.Myth: It's OK to take naps.It depends."They're using up their sleep (during the day). They've restedalready," he said.
Because the body is attuned to rest a certain amount of timeeach day, a nap after dinner can disturb the body's circadian rhythm,or its natural 24-hour clock," Bregman said.If a person needs a quick wink, Bregman said it should be taken before4 p.m. so as not to interfere with a solid night's rest, Bregmansaid.Myth:Staying up late on weekends will have no effect through the rest of theweek."You should go to bed at the same time and get up at the sametime eachday, even on a Sunday," Bregman said. "You can maybe sleep an hourlater, but if you sleep 'til 10 o'clock, there's no way in the worldyou're going to be able to go to bed at your normal bedtime."Again, it comes down the body's internal clock, and alteringyour sleep patterns on weekends (sleeping in late Sundays) can onlymake it more difficult to rest later that night.No wonder no one likes Mondays.Myth: Take pain medications with asleep aid to rest.Bregman said many of these short-acting medications are safeandcan be withdrawn from safely, but be mindful of what it is you'retaking.All "P.M." meds contain an antihistamine found in such allergymedications as Benadryl."The problem is it doesn't work quickly, and it oftentimeslasts a long time," he said.
People taking these products often experience a "hangover-typeeffect.""If you've ever taken Benadryl, sometimes it can act on youfor10 hours, and you'll be very lethargic," he said. "If somebody needs asleeping aid, they should be given a sleeping aid, not a Benadryl. Buta lot of people take it because it is inexpensive and it makes yousleepy."Bregman also added that people should avoid exercise and heavymeals prior to bedtime.Exercise increases adrenaline and winds you up when you needtobegin winding down toward the end of the day. A good rule of thumb isto avoid high activity at least six hours before bedtime.Exercising actually contributes to a good night's rest becauseit's a release of energy and muscle tension. Just be mindful when youdo it.While light snacks of food containing the sleep-inducing aminoacid L-tryptophan (turkey, milk, tuna) may help you get to sleep, a bigmeal digesting in the gut while you're reclining could make for anuncomfortable night, as stomach acids can cause indigestion."When we deal with people with insomnia it's kind of likeeverylittle bit can help, like no naps after 4 o'clock, getting exerciseduring the day ... Every little tip helps," he said. "It's not just onething, it's a little bit of everything."Source: Tulsa World.Powered by Yellowbrix.
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Source: Health & Wellness

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