As it’s National Bed Month – trying to encourage a good night’s rest – I thought I’d bust a few myths about sleep disorders.
Every-one knows how important sleep is to our health and vitality, so it’s no wonder there are so many myths and misunderstandings associated with not getting a good night’s sleep.
Whilst doctors and scientists don’t fully understand sleep, they do know that it’s important and without it, you just can’t survive.
Let’s clear up some of the myths about sleep and sleep disorders, starting with one of the most common beliefs that it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker.
Is It Dangerous to Wake a Sleepwalker?
The answer is no.
They’ll certainly be disoriented if you wake them, but there’s no danger to the person. It won’t give them a heart attack or cause them to go into shock.
However, you don’t really have to wake a sleepwalker to get them to go back to bed. They can often be directed without waking them up.
And there is a slight risk that the sleepwalker may hurt you or hurt themselves if they’re confused or agitated when they wake, and strike out.
Snoring Isn’t a Big Deal
Just about everyone snores occasionally and snoring isn’t generally a problem unless it stops you or some-one else from sleeping.
However, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. They may stop breathing for up to a minute and it can happen hundreds of times each night.
Sleep apnea puts a person at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other conditions.
If you or someone you love snores and they often wake up feeling unrested, they may want to be evaluated for sleep apnea.
If You Have Difficulty Falling Asleep You Have Insomnia
There are many causes for insomnia, but have difficulty falling asleep is a symptom, not a cause.
Other symptoms include waking often during the night, sleeping restlessly, waking during the night, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep.
The truth is that in most cases people are able to fall back to sleep in about twenty minutes.
And if you learn progressive relaxation or meditation techniques then it can be much easier to get back to sleep again.
However, if after twenty minutes you’re still wide awake, restless, and unable to relax, then go ahead and get up for a little while. Read a book or listen to music, something relaxing, and then try to go back to sleep.
If you think you have a sleep disorder, get it checked out by your doctor and start to keep a sleep diary listing things like:
- Time you go to bed
- How long it takes to get to sleep
- How often & when you wake during the night
- How tired you feel the following day
Also, bear in mind that simple things such as not eating just before you go to bed, avoiding caffeine during afternoons and evenings and wearing ear plugs and an eye mask can all help to ensure you get a good night’s rest.