Five myths about sleep

Five myths about sleep

First published in: Tages-Anzeiger – Monday, 19 June 2017

There are many old wives’ tales about sleep. But is there any truth in the myths? We get to the bottom of five widespread rumours about sleep.

It’s better to sleep naked
That’s incorrect. Medical professionals recommend wearing light clothing that doesn’t restrict our movements while we sleep, but prevents us from catching cold. That’s important because the body’s temperature regulation system is switched off during the phase of REM sleep.

Legs wrapped up in a duvet

We can catch up on sleep
A lack of sleep results in sleepiness and reduced performance during the day. That can’t be reversed. At most we can make up for a sleep deficit during the working week by having a sleep-in at the weekend.

It’s healthier to sleep with the window open
Many people swear by open or closed windows at night. But, as is often the case, there is no definitive answer as to which is better. A bedroom temperature of between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius is frequently recommended to prevent us from either sweating or shivering during the night. However, whether the bedroom window should be open or closed depends on our individual preferences. People who are sensitive to noise and pollen should keep the window closed, while those who like to sleep with a fresh breeze in the room should have the window open.

A woman asleep in bed

Sleep before midnight is more refreshing
It’s impossible to generalise. Our sleep pattern and the depth of our sleep have a greater influence than the time at which we fall sleep. According to experts, the first one and a half hours after falling asleep are the most refreshing, regardless of whether they are before or after midnight.

Cool air stops us nodding off
Drivers who are feeling sleepy on the motorway often turn up the radio, roll down the window or set the air conditioning on full blast. However, those tricks to stay awake are ineffective. Tired drivers should have a caffeinated drink at a service area and take a roughly half an hour nap there. Afterwards they should be fit for the next one to two hours to drive home safely. (CP)

This article is part of the ‘Get a better sleep’ series and was put together in cooperation with Commercial Publishing Tages-Anzeiger. See here for all articles in the series.

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