10 Myths about our sleep

1. the sleep before midnight is the best
This old wisdom is no longer true. It comes from a time when people went to bed well before midnight. What is more important is that sleep is as undisturbed as possible in the first hours after going to bed. During this time, the deep sleep phases in which the body recovers best are the longest.

2. Late risers are lazier than early risers
It’s not that simple. Science distinguishes between different types of sleep. Early sleepers (larks) and late sleepers (night owls). Larks lie in bed well before the witching hour, and owls would prefer to sleep well after midnight in bed until late into the morning. Accordingly, the larks are more efficient in the early morning hours. Sleep researchers encourage therefore since longer to shift the beginning of school to the back.

3. Eight hours of sleep shouldn’t be necessary
Although adults sleep an average of seven to eight hours, some get by with considerably less sleep. Others need a little more sleep. Statistically, those who sleep regularly for around seven hours have the highest life expectancy.

4. Sleeping long is healthy
You can exaggerate everything, even sleeping. Sleep researchers have found out that not only is not enough unhealthy, but overweight and disease can also be aggravated. People who sleep too much also have a higher risk of falling ill or dying earlier.

5. Who wakes up at night has no healthy sleep
That’s not true. It is quite normal to wake up one to two dozen times during the night. The waking moments are short, don’t last even a minute and the next day you usually don’t remember them.

6. A midday nap makes you fit again
It’s the length that counts. A short nap, maximum half an hour, improves concentration and performance. A longer nap, on the other hand, is rather counterproductive. In the worst case, it can lead to a lack of sleep at night and even less sleep.

7. A glass of alcohol helps you fall asleep
Many think they can relax better with a glass of beer or wine in the evening. And this relaxation should also promote falling asleep. But this calculation does not work. Because alcohol disturbs the important REM phases, in which the body recovers. A glass of warm milk with honey or a soothing tea is better than a nightcap.

8. Whoever works himself out properly sleeps better
Sleep researchers do indeed advise regular exercise. But too late in the evening you shouldn’t boost your circulation so much. If your body is just about to go to bed, at full speed, you will fall asleep less easily.

9. Late eating is bad for sleep
It’s more of a habit, sleep experts say. After all, the Mediterranean region often eats late in the evening. At best an excessively sumptuous meal in the late evening can make it difficult to fall asleep.

10. Sleep makes you beautiful
Finally a wisdom that’s true. If you want to look healthy and attractive, you need enough sleep. If someone sleeps too little, this is reflected in his face: Observers classify him as unhealthier, less attractive and more tired. This was the result of a study in Sweden.

(ef) Frankfurter Rundschau 13.01.2012

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