You’ll spend approximately one-third of your life sleeping. With that said, do you know what actually happens to your body when you sleep? Do you know how much sleep you need, or the conditions that can help you make the most of the hours you spend sleeping each night? Understanding sleep is crucial to your well-being. The following are some common misconceptions about sleep:
1. “I should get as much sleep as possible.”
A lot of people overindulge in sleep on a regular basis. Why? Because so often we don’t get enough sleep. We try to compensate by sleeping for long stretches of time when we can. However, that’s not necessarily a healthy way to go about recharging. Sleeping can be compared to eating. We all know that both eating too much and eating too little on a regular basis are unhealthy habits. In a similar way, not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can both have negative effects on your health. Instead, you should try to get a moderate amount of sleep each night in order to feel energetic, alert, and awake. It’s okay to sleep in once in a while, but sleeping too much in general will leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish.
2. “I need caffeine to not be tired.”
Caffeine doesn’t take away tiredness; it prevents you from sleeping. When you drink coffee or another type of caffeinated beverage, your body cannot shut down – you’re forced to remain awake. This means that you may very well still feel tired, but you’re not sleepy. People who claim that they can’t start their day without one or two cups of coffee are biologically addicted to the effects of caffeine. When they don’t get their fix they experience withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue. Caffeine has also been found to reduce sleep quality, making a person more tired in the long run. Finally, since caffeine prevents you from sleeping, people who drink caffeine late in the evening or frequently during the day can have difficulty falling asleep at night.
3. “There are two states of consciousness: sleeping and being awake.”
Actually, this isn’t true; consciousness should be viewed on a continuum. That is, there are varying levels of consciousness or awareness. When you’re in a state of deep sleep, you don’t experience consciousness at all. While dreaming and while awake, you experience partial consciousness. The only way to experience pure or total consciousness is through meditation.
4. “I feel tired when I wake up because I didn’t get enough sleep.”
The amount of time you spend sleeping is only one factor contributing to how you feel when you get up in the morning. Sometimes, not sleeping enough can make you feel tired. But other times, you might suffer from poor quality sleep. If you wake up at frequent intervals during the night, if you have troublesome dreams, or if you are uncomfortable as you sleep, you might wake up feeling tired. In addition, if your alarm goes while you’re in a state of deep sleep you’re more likely to feel sleepy than if you wake up in the midst of a dream.
5. “Everyone needs 8 hours of sleep per night.”
It’s a commonly-held belief that everyone needs at least eight hours of sleep per night. However, that’s not necessarily the case – in fact, people have different requirements when it comes to sleep. According to the National Institute of Health, the average adult needs approximately 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. You need to learn from experience in order to understand how much sleep you need. But if you feel like you could sleep forever without waking up feeling well-rested, you should focus on the quality of the sleep you’re getting.
By understanding sleep, you can learn to optimize the amount and quality of the rest you get. For more tips on how to optimize the time you spend sleeping, the Founder of The Stillness Project, Tom Cronin, has written a step by step guide on how to overcome insomnia and sleep soundly every night! Find out my by clicking below:
“How Much Sleep Do You Need?”