Five sleep myths debunked

Is there such a thing as sleep debt, and can you catch up on lost sleep? Is it true that you can lose weight when you catch some Zs?

Sleep, and it’s many benefits, comes with a lot of myths. With so much information available today, how do you separate fact from fiction?

We’re here to debunk the myths and help you become sleep experts (and help you find your way to great sleep!).

1) Entrepreneurs who sleep more are better at spotting good ideas


Research has found that if you don’t get enough sleep the night before an ideation session, you are more likely to make mistakes and rely on superficial cues to evaluate your ideas than those who get ample shut-eye.

Good quality sleep is essential for certain brain functions, including memory retention and how neurons communicate with each other (sparking creativity and inspiring those million-dollar ideas). Moral of the story? Get back to bed to feel your best, most inspired self the next day.

2) You can function well on five hours of sleep


We know that now and then, you need to pull an all-nighter to prep for a big project or early-morning deadline, in which case five hours of sleep will be enough to get you through the day (but not without battling fatigue).

In the long term, however, a lack of sleep will lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause some severe health issues, like diabetes and heart disease. Studies show that you need seven to nine hours of good quality sleep to be at your physical, mental and emotional best.

3) You can catch up on lost sleep


Scientists are divided on whether you can repay your sleep debt. Some believe that sleep is lost forever, while others believe that sleeping in on the weekend or your days off can help you restore the beneficial effects of slumber.

What they do agree on though, is that you should try to get into a healthier sleep schedule where you sleep for seven to nine hours each night.

4) You can lose weight from sleeping


Did you know that a good night’s rest is equivalent to a 40-minute jog on the treadmill? While sleeping, your body is hard at work mending tissue, and creating and replacing new cells. This work requires energy, which your body produces by burning calories.

5) It doesn’t matter what time of day you sleep

Likely to be false.

The body’s biological clock governs your sleep and wake patterns. These patterns are known as the circadian rhythm and respond to light and darkness. So when it’s dark, sleep hormones (melatonin) are released, and when it’s sunrise, your body responds to light exposure to wake up.

Late nights and shift work can mess with this schedule, and even though you may think you can catch up on sleep during the day, you’ll still feel the effects of sleep deprivation.

No matter what tall tales you’ve heard about sleep, the one truth you can rely on is that sleep is essential to your health and happiness. By prioritising your sleep, you’re showing up for yourself and fuelling your body and mind with the energy you need to take care of your career, your loved ones and your community, and make the world a better place.

Photo by peter bucks