Myth or truth: what really works to sleep well?

Generally, when we tell someone that we are having trouble at bedtime, whether it is part of your family or just friends, we hear stories of people who have done all kinds of sleeping methods and have been successful.

In search of a good sleep, it’s worth counting sheep, watching TV or drinking alcoholic beverages before going to sleep. These are examples that many people believe to be effective in inducing sleep.

But do these stories actually work? Are they beneficial to health? Which of them can be considered myths or truths?

Read more: Sleep and aging: how the two can be linked

Based on these questions, a team of researchers from New York University decided to search the Internet for the most common practices and verify with scientific answers.

Some of the most frequent doubts that arise at bedtime already have an answer about the real effectiveness, check out:

It doesn’t hurt to sleep little

Some people are able to sleep less than 5 hours a day and still perform well during the day. But sleeping less than 6 hours may be linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis according to a study published in January 2019.

Read more: 6 hours a night is the minimum sleep time to avoid heart disease

In addition, researchers at New York University also said that getting too little sleep is harmful to health because it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.

It is recommended that nights sleep between 7 and 8 hours with a good quality of sleep. Well-rested hours are important to prevent diseases like these from developing. Therefore, it is MYTH .

Read more: Recovering sleep over the weekend does not help your health

It is easier to sleep after sex

According to research published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information , having sex before bed also influences the quality of your sleep.

Through the study it was possible to see that the affective contact with the partner can cause the brain to release some substances capable of causing a pleasant and well-being sensation, keeping you relaxed.

So, it is TRUE , sex has the potential to help you get a good night’s sleep, due to the levels of oxytocin, which rise after sex, are related to the quality of sleep.

Drinking Before Bedtime Helps

MYTH . According to the researchers, consuming alcoholic beverages before bedtime may even make you fall asleep faster, however, it is important to know that it will not be the same quality of sleep.

Although alcohol causes drowsiness, it disturbs the deep phase of sleep, causing the quality of sleep to be reduced.

In addition, alcoholic beverages are considered diuretic, which means that you will go to sleep and your bladder may fill during the night, causing sleep to be interrupted to go to the bathroom.

Read more: Does sleeping lose weight? How sleep interferes with weight loss

Coffee won’t let you sleep

It is common to hear someone saying the following phrase: “coffee doesn’t get me out of sleep”. Although the person is able to sleep, he will not realize that, in fact, sleep has been affected.

So, it’s TRUE , but it’s not just coffee. Any drink that has caffeine, such as teas or soft drinks, can affect your sleep.

Read more: Sleep disorders increase chances of having Alzheimer’s

In addition, the effects of coffee can get in the way even after several hours of drinking. According to a study published in the scientific journal Live Science , it was possible to see that drinking the drink during the day can disturb sleep at night.

Screens help you sleep

By the time we have just gone to bed, turning on the TV can be like a way to get to sleep.

But depending on the type of content you watch, it can really interfere with falling asleep, that is, MYTH .

For example, a horror or action movie, where the noise noises oscillate with the intention of scaring or creating a moment of suspense, may be able to send your sleep away and make you nervous or tense.

But those who think that taking a look at social networks will not have an impact are also mistaken.

The device, like most devices (TV, tablet or computer) emits the so-called blue light, which stimulates the brain to remain active longer, disrupting the biological cycle of sleep.

Read more: Using electronic devices at night interferes with sleep quality

Forcing sleep is the best option

You know that moment when you are already in bed, you kept everything turned off, you stayed away from your cell phone, you didn’t drink coffee before, but you still can’t sleep?

So you remember that to get there you have to stay in bed until you fall asleep, right? MYTH.

Still according to researchers at New York University, the solution for you to actually get to sleep is not to keep trying, changing positions or counting sheep.

Read more: Natural sleep remedy: 6 home treatment options

This is because there is a tendency for the brain to associate the environment and the context, in this case, the bedroom or bed, with insomnia . That is, every time the person lies down in that position or approaches bedtime, there is an association with not sleeping.

Sleep is extremely important for the quality of your health. Waking up with that feeling that you slept well and is refreshed is able to improve our mood, our productivity and also longevity

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