The "8-hour sleep" myth - Deepstash
The "8-hour sleep" myth

The "8-hour sleep" myth

8 hours of sleep/night is a useful goal, but it’s not true that everyone needs that. 

A lot of people get obsessed with this goal of getting 8 hours of sleep every single night, and because they’re someone who just doesn’t need that much sleep, or they can’t reliably sleep that long, they get anxious about it and that actually creates issues with insomnia.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to get a good night's sleep

It's the key to a good night’s sleep. It means pinning your bedtime to the same time every night, even on weekends, and waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. 

It's important to settle into a groove or a cycle that your body understands and responds to. Once you do this, you’ll sleep better, feel better, have more energy, and worry less.

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Basic sleep hygiene
  • not drinking caffeine after midday;
  • not exercising too late;
  • not drinking alcohol before bed;
  • eating sensibly;
  • leaving mobile devices outside the bedroom (artificial light disrupts the brain).

If doing natural things like this doesn’t work, then it might be wise to consult with a specialist or a doctor.

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Get out of bed

The bedroom should be for sleeping. If you’re lying in bed for more than 15 minutes and not sleeping, just get out and leave the room.

Staying in bed while you’re anxious or not sleeping is one of the most common contributors to chronic insomnia because it trains the brain to create bad associations. So you have to break that.

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Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
  • Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating.

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Creating a sleep-inducing environment
  • Turn the temperature between 60 and 72 degrees.
  • Turn off the lights. Artificial light suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Turn down the noise. Wear earplugs if you have to, or consider investing in a white noise machine.
  • Pick comfortable bedding. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester that trap heat and moisture.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress.

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Taking A Nap: Sleep Debt

When we constantly get less sleep (even 1 hour less) than we need each night, it is called sleep debt. We may pay for it in daytime drowsiness, trouble concentrating, moodiness, lower productivity and increased risk of falls and accidents.

Although a daytime nap cannot replace a good night’s sleep, it can help make up for some of the harm done as a result of sleep debt.

  • But avoid taking a nap after 3 pm as late naps may stop us getting to sleep at night.
  • And avoid napping for longer than 30 minutes as longer naps will make it harder to wake up and get back into the swing of things.

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