The science of sleep has been a hot topic for centuries. It is only in the last 50 years that we have been able to better study sleep using methods such as MRI's and Polysomnography. Polysomnography is the combination of EKG (brain study), EOG (eye movements), EMG (skeletal muscle activation), and ECG (heart rhythm). With all of the advances in technology, scientists have been able to study sleep in depth. They have also been able to debunk many sleep related myths.

Six Sleep Myths Exposed

  1. Never Wake Up A Sleep walker It is a common misconception that sleep walkers should not be woken up. This may be because of how sleep walkers are portrayed in movies and TV shows. The reality is, while unsettling to the sleep walker, there is no documented proof that waking up a sleep walker is fatal. 

  2. Drinking Alcohol Will Help You Sleep While it is true that alcohol can help you to fall asleep faster, it does not necessarily mean that it helps the quality of your sleep. The effects of alcohol have actually shows to diminish the true, restorative sleep that your body needs.

  3. Dreams Only Happen During REM Sleep While REM sleep does provide the most vivid and detailed of dreams, it is not the only sleep cycle that dreams happen in. NREM (non-REM) sleep stage 1 is the stage of sleep between wakefulness and sleep. The dreams that happen during NREM Stage 1 are typically hallucinogenic or effects like the sensation of falling or a jerk or jump.

  4. Drive With The Windows Down If You Are Tired Recent studies have shown a staggering 1 in 24 drivers admit to nodding off while driving. While rolling the windows down and turning up the radio might work, it is really only temporary relief. The only things that are effective to combat drowsy driving are caffeine and sleep, with sleep being the obvious strong recommendation.

  5. Yawning=Tired Yawning is one of sleep's mysteries to this day. There is no evidence that proves that people yawn because they are tired. Most recent research suggests that people yawn to increase oxygen intake into the body or to help cool the brain. Research does show that up to 60% of people "catch" their yawns from others, so they are seemingly contagious. 

  6. Make Up For Missed Sleep With A Nap While naps are absolutely rejuvenating, they are in no way a replacement for a good night's sleep. Power naps are a fantastic way to feel refreshed during the day, but only if they are within a 30 minute time frame. Any longer than 30 minutes and you risk going into a deeper sleep than your body might easily be able to wake up from.

No matter what myths exist about sleep, it's a fact that we need it! Make sure the sleep that you are getting is the best sleep for your body, on the best mattress possible. Also, make sure that your pillows are perfect for your sleep style.    

Have you ever encountered a sleep walker?