Here are 6 sleep myths to ignore, as reported in EatingWell Magazine.
Myth: Falling asleep to the TV is OK.
The Truth: Artificial light from televisions-and especially
from computer and smartphone screens-may suppress production of
melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness. Artificial
light also shifts your circadian rhythms-a biological cycle that
responds primarily to daylight and darkness and influences sleep.
Myth: A glass of wine before bed will help you get a better night's rest.
The Truth: Because alcohol is a sedative, drinking wine, beer
or other alcoholic beverages may help you fall asleep, but as little as
two drinks can cause you to sleep less restfully and wake up more
frequently. And alcohol-related sleep disturbances are worse for women,
say researchers at the University of Michigan. Drink moderately, if at
all, and avoid drinking within a few hours of bedtime.
Myth: Exercising at night keeps you awake.
The Truth: Hitting the gym or going for a run less than 3 hours
before bedtime won't prevent you from falling asleep, according to
recent research. It may, however, hinder your sleep quality.
Myth: A cup of herbal tea will put you to sleep faster.
The Truth: Though chamomile, lemon balm, hops and passionflower
are all touted for their sleep-promoting properties (and are often
found in "sleep-formula" tea blends), their effectiveness hasn't been
proven in clinical studies, according to the American Academy of Sleep
Myth: You can catch up on lost sleep by sleeping in on weekends.
The Truth: If you sleep poorly-or don't get enough sleep-once or twice a week, you can
make up for it. But after more than a few sleepless nights, it becomes
harder to "recover" from lost sleep, says new research from Penn State.
Myth: Drinking a glass of warm milk will help you fall asleep.
The Truth: The theory is this: milk contains tryptophan (the
amino acid best known for being in turkey), which when released into the
brain produces serotonin-a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter. But when
milk was tested, it failed to affect sleep patterns.
"Tryptophan-containing foods don't produce the hypnotic effects pure
tryptophan does, because other amino acids in those foods compete to get
into the brain," explains Art Spielman, M.D., an insomnia expert and
professor of psychology at the City University of New York.