Sleep is important for good health. Test your knowledge of healthy sleep habits by answering true of false to the statements below:
1. I need eight hours of sleep at night.
Not true. Every night’s sleep is different. There is room for variation, depending on the quantity and quality of sleep you had in the previous 24 hours. Adults should try to get more than seven hours of sleep on average per night to avoid problems associated with sleep loss and deprivation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. Daytime naps may interfere with my sleep balance.
False. A short power nap of less than 45 minutes around midday can improve afternoon functioning and alertness. If a nap lasts longer than an hour, you could find that it takes longer to fall asleep at bedtime.
3. My significant other says I may have sleep apnea because I snore loudly when I sleep.
Not necessarily. Most sleep apnea sufferers snore but not all snorers are proven to have sleep apnea. But, if your partner has ever witnessed you holding your breath during sleep for more than ten to fifteen seconds, you should probably seek a sleep evaluation by a professional. Oxygen deprivation during the vulneralble period of sleep can be a risk factor for significant health consequences.
4. I am very sleepy during the day so I probably have narcolepsy.
Probably not. Narcolepsy is an uncommon disorder that occurs in approximately 50 out of 100,000 people in the United States. Statistically, a more likely cause of daytime sleepiness is insufficient sleep syndrome. This syndrome is a behaviorally induced lack of opportunity for sleep. Sleep continues to be the best treatment for sleepiness.
5. I have tried melatonin supplements for mild insomnia but it doesn’t work.
This could be true or you are taking melatonin at the wrong time. Many insomnia sufferers make the mistake of taking melatonin at bedtime instead of taking it with onset of darkness. When the brain sees darkness through communication from the eyes, the naturally occurring melatonin “sleep hormone” begins to drip into the brain with a cooling effect on the body, producing the effect of sleepiness. Melatonin secretion usually ends by 2 AM with a warming of the body until approximately 6 AM when the sunlight naturally comes to induce wakefulness.
6. My body doesn’t seem to need much sleep. I can function on five hours of sleep easily.
Maybe. There are “short sleepers” who function well on minimal amounts of sleep. Former President Clinton once said he did his best work on five hours per night but admitted later that many of his mistakes while in office were related to sleep loss!
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenneth D. Weeks at 704-384-784-7910.