Myths and facts about sleep

Myth 1: Getting just 1 hour less sleep per night won’t effect your daytime functioning.

You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day. But even slightly less sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly, and compromise your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.

Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.

Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by 1–2 hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.

Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.

Not only is the quantity of sleep important but also the quality of sleep. Some people sleep 8 or 9 hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.

Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.

Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your biological clock so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.

Adapted from Your Guide to Healthy Sleep (PDF) - The National Institutes of Health

Sleep Center

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