Unraveling Common Myths About Sleep for Improved Well-Being


Do you know that sleep accounts for nearly one third of our lives? Our daily routines are incomplete without quality sleep, which plays a vital role in our survival. Until the early 1950s, sleep was generally thought of as a passive activity where the body and brain remain dormant. However, that wasn’t the case. Over the past few decades, various studies have revealed that our brain is engaged in several essential activities while we catch some sleep at night.

“Sleep is an intricate and complex mechanism which has been studied by researchers from around the world. Some misleading sleep myths may be misunderstood as facts. Many of us may have frequently heard and even experienced them. From normalizing cat naps to overcompensating for sleep during the weekends, some of these habits and notions may result in poor sleep cycle that could negatively affect a person’s health,” says Dr YongChiat Wong, Group Scientist, Medical & Technical Affairs, P&G Health – Asia Pacific, India, Middle East, and Africa.

In numerous studies, poor sleep has been linked to increased risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions. So, it’s time to address some of these myths and say yes to embracing facts about Zzzs. Dr Wong busts some of these myths.

Myth 1: 7 hours of sleep is the key to a healthy sleep cycle.

Fact: It’s not quite only about the quantity of sleep but quality also matters

An adult needs at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. But then, even if you sleep for 7 hours a day, you may not always be able to reap the benefits. What matters is the quality of the seven hours of sleep. Sleeping for the recommended number of hours is vital, but how well you sleep can gauge the quality of your sleep. It specifically entails determining how peaceful and restorative your sleep is.  Duration, Continuity and Depth of sleep are 3 key elements of good quality sleep.

Myth 2: Poor sleep does not affect your mood and mental health next day

Fact: Poor sleep interferes with your daily activities

Sleep has an immediate impact on our mental alertness and emotion regulation. Hence continuous lack of sleep may have adverse effects on our mental health in addition to the physical effects. Lack of sleep can make you feel like you have a shorter fuse or find it more difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. According to the ZzzQuil India National Sleep Survey by Kantar1, 9 out of 10 respondents reported that they feel an impact of not sleeping well on the previous night and close to 60% said that sleepiness has interfered with their daily activities. More than 80% agreed that because of lack of sleep, job stresses were much harder to handle.

Myth 3: Stress disrupts your sleep cycle.

Fact: Besides stress, there are other factors that can disrupt your sleep cycle.

While stress maybe one of the common factors disrupting many of our sleep schedules, there are other factors that can affect our Zzzs. Exposure to blue light emitted by your devices can cause you difficulty in falling asleep by reducing your body’s production of Melatonin, a natural substance that supports and induces quality sleep. In the same ZzzQuil India National Sleep Survey, close to 54% cited digital and social media habits as the primary reason for sleeping difficulties, thereby resulting in a poor sleep routine.

Also Read: Influenza Needs Symptomatic Treatment Instead Of Antibiotics And Long Term Cough Syrups

Myth 4: Poor quality sleep is normal and acceptable

Fact: Poor quality sleep should not be ignored.

Melatonin is a key body substance for regulating sleep. The pineal gland is the primary producer of melatonin. About 80% of melatonin is produced and secreted by our body at night because darkness increases its synthesis. The production of melatonin peaks in childhood but gradually declines with age. This could result in an increase in the prevalence of sleeping problems as we age, together with our lifestyle changes. Hence, good quality sleep should never be taken for granted.

Myth 5: Sleep has no link to my immune health

Fact: Poor sleep can disrupt immune processes.

Studies have shown that people who have less than 7 hours of sleep are about 3 times more likely to get a cold infection than those who have more than 8 hours of sleep daily. Our sleep cycle communicates tightly with our immune system. Insufficient sleep may lead to a reduction in the production of certain immune cells and antibodies that are important in fighting against infections. Sleep is also equally important for physical restoration and body repair. This leads to helping our body in the recovery during sickness.

Myth 6: Sleep aids are addictive and may be habit-forming

Fact: Melatonin sleep supplement is non-addictive.

Not all sleep aids are addictive. Melatonin is released naturally by your body every night. It acts primarily as a coordinator in your body for sleep, i.e., signalling to your body when it’s time to go to bed. Melatonin sleep supplements help to supplement your body’s melatonin level to help you fall asleep fast that is non-addictive and without next-day drowsiness. You can incorporate melatonin supplements into your routine for a healthy sleep in addition to regular exercise and proper sleep hygiene.

To encourage you to get a good night’s sleep, here are some tips –

  • Keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule, even on weekends.
  • Minimize electronic device usage before bedtime. Remember to also turn off or put electronic devices to mute before setting them aside, to help prevent disruptions during sleep!
  • Limit your caffeine intake at night.
  • When life keeps you up sometimes, sleep supplements containing melatonin, such as Vicks ZzzQuil Natura, may help. Melatonin helps you fall asleep fast, with no next-day drowsiness and is non-addictive.

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