Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important habits for keeping yourself healthy. Despite this, one third of Canadian adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night.[1] Besides feeling tired and less productive, what is the consequence of not getting the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep per night? And what behaviours affect your ability to sleep well?

There is a lot of information available about lack of sleep, but it can be challenging to distinguish the myths from facts. To help, we’ve debunked the myths and supported the facts for these seven common beliefs about sleep.

    1. Lack of sleep causes weight gain. Myth or fact?
      Fact! Being tired not only prevents you from having a killer workout, but can also stimulate your appetite. Evidence shows that men and women are hungrier and more prone to emotional eating when they are regularly deprived of sleep.[2]
    2. Drinking alcohol helps you sleep. Myth or fact?
      Myth! A glass or two of wine may help you relax and fall asleep initially, but this doesn’t last. Drinking alcohol before bedtime limits your ability to fall into a deep sleep and restricts your restorative REM stages of sleep. It also disrupts your circadian rhythm, causing you to wake up at odd hours.[3]
    3. Sleep deprivation hurts brain function. Myth or fact?
      Fact! Studies show that sleep deprivation has a serious impact on your memory and ability to think clearly. It can increase your likelihood of making simple mistakes and slows your ability to accomplish daily tasks.[4]
    4. Lack of sleep affects vision. Myth or fact?
      Fact! Do you get a twitchy eye from lack of sleep? While this symptom is only a mild disturbance, long-term sleep deficits can cause eye strain, dry eyes, sensitivity, and blurred vision. Your eyes are exposed to the elements all day and rely on a restorative nightly rest to function properly.
    5. The older you are the less sleep you need. Myth or fact?
      Myth! Medical experts recommend that all adults get at least 7–9 hours of sleep per night. In older age it can become more difficult to sleep this long throughout the night; however you need to make up for lost sleep by taking daytime naps.[5]
    6. Poor sleep habits impact mood. Myth or fact?
      Fact! If you’re grumpy after a poor night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Getting sufficient sleep is critical to mental health. Low serotonin levels have also been associated with insomnia, potentially aggravating mood disorders and feelings of sadness.[6]
    7. Coffee keeps you awake. Myth or fact?
      Fact! Many of us drink coffee to feel more energized and focused throughout the day. With each cup packing between 125–560 mg of caffeine, coffee’s stimulating effects can also block your ability to feel sleepy when drunk too late in the day.

If you’re suffering from lack of sleep, talk to your health care practitioner about using a natural sleep and relaxation aid, such as Melatonin, Kava Kava, or Magnesium from Webber Naturals. After all, sleep is one of life’s most simple and healthy pleasures.

 

References

[1]Chaput, J.P., S. Wong & I. Michaud. Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79. Statistics Canada Health Reports, 2017. Web. Accessed January 11, 2018.

[2]St-Onge, Marie-Pierre. The Role of Sleep Duration in the Regulation of Energy Balance: Effects on Energy Intakes and Expenditure. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9.1 (2013): 73-80. Web.

[3]National Sleep Foundation. How Alcohol Affects the Quality—and—Quantity of Sleep. 2018. Web. Accessed January 11, 2018.

[4]Wickens, C.D., S.D. Hutchins, L. Laux, & A. Sebok. The Impact of Sleep Disruption on Complex Cognitive Tasks: A Meta-Analysis. Human Factors, 57.6 (2015): 930-46. Web.

[5]National Sleep Foundation. Myths and Facts about Sleep. 2018. Web. Accessed January 12, 2018.

[6] Finan, P., Phillip Quartana, Michael, Smith. The Effects of Sleep Continuity Disruption on Positive Mood and Sleep Architecture in Healthy Adults. Sleep, 38.11 (2015): 1735-42. Web.