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Everyone has their tips and tricks for a good night’s sleep. May that be avoiding cheese before bed to stop nightmares or counting sheep to cure insomnia – everyone has heard a few sleeping myths in their time. But how many of these myths are actually true? Here are some facts behind common sleeping myths:

1 - You need 8 hours of sleep a night

Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a night – it totally depends on your own body and needs. True, some people will need 8 but someone else might be perfectly well rested with 7 hours of sleep. The rule of thumb is that you should aim for at least 6 hours and sleep no more than 10.

2 – Alcohol will make you sleep better

Too many drinks might make you pass out, but it certainly won’t give you a good sleep. Alcohol dehydrates your body giving you a restless and headache-filled night. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks will make your sleep even worse.

3 - Reading on your phone or tablet will relax you before sleep

Reading anything off an electronic screen before bed will make it hard for you to sleep. The bright screens act as a stimulant for your brain tricking your body into thinking it’s day time. Plus reading news sites or social pages like Facebook can also make people very unrelaxed. Instead swap your tablet for a good old-fashioned book or use a reading app that has an appropriate screen.

4 – If you can’t sleep just relax in bed

Lying in bed when you can’t sleep can make you even more anxious to sleep and therefore less likely to get that sleep. Instead get up and try to do something relaxing for half an hour like having a bath, reading a book or simply drinking a glass of milk.

5 – Make up for lost sleep during the weekend

Sleep isn’t a bank that you can simply top-up when you get the time. A poor sleep during the week will affect you the next day in your performance so by the time the weekend arrives the damage will already be done. Plus sleeping a lot on a Sunday can mean you might struggle to sleep that night meaning you’ll start off the new working week tired.

6 – Pets make great sleep buddies

Your pet might be cutest and cuddliest animal in all the world, but that doesn’t mean you should share a bed. Not only will pet hair cause itchiness and bring on allergies but if your pet is restless during the night then your sleep will get disturbed too.

7 – Exercise before bed will tire you out enough to sleep

You might think that a big workout before bed will make you tired enough to get to sleep straightaway, however this is not the case. Cardio is far too stimulating before bed so will actually stop you getting to sleep. Keep cardio to at least 4 hours before bed. If you do want to exercise try swapping cardio to something more relaxing like yoga.

8 – A nap will ruin your sleep

Good news for everyone who loves a good nap – it shouldn’t affect your sleep at night unless you suffer from insomnia. You should try to nap before 2pm so it doesn’t affect your sleep come bedtime, but otherwise a nap is a perfectly acceptable hobby. 

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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