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Sleep Myths That Harm Health

Watching Television before bed

Cellphones, tablets, and all kinds of personal electronics are not a good idea when you’re getting ready for bed.

Researchers have increasingly focused on “blue light” emitted by screens and its effect on sleep and negative sleep-related health outcomes.

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Sleep Myths That Harm Health

Sleep Myths That Harm Health

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/common-sleep-myths-that-compromise-sleep-and-health

healthline.com

8

Key Ideas

5 hours of sleep is enough

Habitual sleep deprivation is associated with diverse and far-reaching health effects and none of them is good.

Between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended. You can get used to less sleep, but you’re getting used to being miserable.

It doesn’t matter when you sleep

Our bodies tend to follow a natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleep that is attuned to sunrise and sunset for a reason.

While some missed sleep here and there isn’t necessarily a big deal, shifting your sleep schedule long term isn’t healthy.

Just closing your eyes

It is not as good as sleeping. 

Everything from your brain to your heart to your lungs functions differently when sleeping compared to being awake. If you know you’re awake, the rest of your body does too.

Being able to fall asleep anywhere

A healthy sleeper actually takes a couple of minutes to fall asleep. We do see that if people fall asleep right away, that can be a sign that they are not getting quite enough sleep.

Alcohol before bed

A Pernod digestif after dinner. A nip of brandy before bed. Whatever your poison, it won’t help you sleep any better. In fact, it will likely make you feel worse the next day and is also dangerous.

A nightcap can also cause sleep apnea or make it worse.

Learn to function on less sleep

As much as we’d like to think we can train our bodies to need less sleep, the science says the opposite.

All of the evidence shows, without a shadow of a doubt, that chronic insufficient sleep, of five-six hours or less, is associated with a host of unfavorable consequences.

Loud Snoring is harmless

Loud snoring is actually one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, a disorder in which an individual can actually stop breathing while asleep.

Sleep apnea affects the quality of sleep. So if you snore loudly and you suffer from fatigue or sleepiness during the day, those symptoms together could mean you have it.

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Five hours of sleep

Sleeping five hours or less consistently increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences. These included cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, an...

Alcohol before bed boosts your sleep

It may help you fall asleep, but it dramatically reduces the quality of your rest that night. It particularly disrupts your REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is important for memory and learning.

You will have slept and may have nodded off more easily, but some of the benefits of sleep are lost.

Watching TV in bed

Often if we're watching the television it's the nightly news… it's something that's going to cause you insomnia or stress right before bed when we're trying to power down and relax.

The other issue with TV - along with smartphones and tablets - is they produce blue light, which can delay the body's production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 

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Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

You can "cheat" on sleep

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. 

The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Turning up the radio

... opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. 

It's best to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. 

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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