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Five BIG Sleep Myths Debunked

Alcoholic Beverages Help You Sleep

Actually, drinking alcohol before your bedtime can be hazardous to your sleep (and health!). Although from time to time a drink before bed can help you fall asleep faster, alcohol actually impairs your body's ability to reach the deeper, more restorative REM levels of sleep. Although you may fall asleep faster you will feel more tired the next day. Alcohol also can cause withdrawals in the middle of the night and dehydration which is also disruptive to sleep. Even worse, sleepers that drink before bedtime will feel tired and listless the next day which could lead to more drinking. If allowed to progress, this behavior can create a vicious cycle that increases alcohol tolerance and can lead to alcoholism.

Beauty Sleep Isn't Real

Actually, there is such as thing as beauty sleep. A recent research study in Sweden found that getting the recommended eight hours of sleep every night can make you appear more attractive. The research team showed photos of people to a large group of study participants and asked them to rank their attractiveness. The observers rated the sleep-deprived people as less attractive than those who had a good night's sleep.

The Older You Get the Less Sleep You Need

It's a common misconception that senior citizens require less than the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Many seniors have a difficult time sleeping through the night because of hormonal and body clock changes that come with age. Seniors are also more likely to suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia. Seniors who are experiencing sleep problems shouldn't see them as a natural part of the aging process and should contact their doctors to find the best way to get a full eight hours of sleep every night of the week.

Naps Aren't as Good as Sleeping at Night

For people who are feeling tired because they had a hard time sleeping through the night, a quick nap can do wonders for helping them though the rest of the day. A nice 15-20 minute nap taken between one and three pm can have people feeling much more alert and refreshed. But, nappers should be warned that taking longer naps, especially those longer than 45 minutes can make people feel more drowsy and can make it more difficult to fall asleep in the evening.

Big Meals Before Bed Will Give You Nightmares

The amount of food you eat before bedtime has nothing to do with your dreams. Dreams are deep psychological processes that help you sort out all of the information you've received during the day. This makes it highly unlikely that any meal you've eaten - no matter how bad - will affect what you dream about. The worst case scenario if you eat a large meal before bed is having to suffer though acid reflux or heartburn.