Wake Up To The Truth About
Sleep Myths


There are lots of myths about sleep, as well as about mattresses that have many of us tossing and turning.

The truth about sleep can help you make good choices that will have you sleeping well enough and long enough to feel great.

Here are some common myths, debunked:

Some people think they can catch up on their sleep over the weekend. You can’t ever completely make up for sleep you’ve lost or bank sleep for the future, so it’s best to plan for 7 to 8 hours each night.

A common belief is that older people need less sleep. While older people tend to wake more at night, they still need the same total hours of sleep as anyone else.

Alcohol does make a person feel sleepy, so many assume drinking before bed can help you sleep. In fact, alcohol is metabolized throughout the night and is likely to disturb your sleep, especially since it reduces rapid eye movement (or REM sleep), so it’s best not to drink it before bed.

Some people believe that you can save money on your bed by replacing only the mattress and keeping the old foundation. You should always replace both since they are designed to work best together as a set, and the warranty may not apply if you do not.

Counting sheep is a popular suggestion to help you fall asleep. An Oxford University study showed doing this actually lengthens how long it takes to sleep. Instead, listen to soothing music or read a book to help you fall asleep.

It’s a common myth that if you have back pain you should only buy a firm mattress. The fact is that mattress choice is a very personal thing and what feels good to one person may not for another. Try out a variety of mattresses to see what seems most comfortable for you.

At every Christmas, you are sure to hear someone say that the turkey is making them sleepy. Turkey does contain tryptophan which can cause sleepiness, but it doesn’t have more than any other meat and is not the cause of the yawns at the table. Instead, the heavy meal, change in weather, hard work of putting together such a feast and interacting with so many people is likely to blame.

Some people are convinced that eating cheese before bed causes nightmares. There is no evidence to support this idea. In general, though, it’s a good idea to finish meals or snacks two to three hours before you go to bed if you want to sleep well.

Another common myth is that a glass of warm milk before bed will make you sleepy. While there’s no evidence to support this story, you might find it comforting if it was something that was always given to you as a child.