Bing Crosby famously sang that “count blessings instead of sheep” to fall asleep. But does that or any other remedy really work? We spoke to Dr Garima Shukla, Sleep Expert at The Westin Gurgaon to debunk popular sleep myths.
The Westin Gurgaon recently celebrated World Sleep Day by organizing a ‘Heavenly Bed’ pop up at DLF Cyber Hub in Gurgaon and sharing tips on the essence of sleeping well. The celebration came in line with the establishments’ partnership with World Sleep Society in Asia Pacific, offering a quality night’s sleep on the road, at home and in the air.
The hotel and its branches took part in a series of activities and events to reinforce the brands’ Sleep Well Pillar. Their mission to advance sleep health in the country highlights sleep depravity as a major problem in India. With the country buzzing with youngsters travelling back and forth and working overnight, the proportion of people suffering from ill health due to sleeplessness is extreme. Books and blogs list a number of solutions to this issue ranging from change in diet to adapting a different lifestyle, exercise and what not. However, in the drive to improvise our sleep pattern, we fail to distinguish between myth and reality and blindly follow peculiar routines and crash diets just because they assure to bring fast changes in your sleep pattern.
Debunking common myths surrounding sleep, here’s presenting some facts about sleep:
Myth- Trying harder will lead to sleep.
Fact: Ruminating on sleep problems will have a rebound effect and make the process even more difficult as it produces even more alertness.
Myth- More time in bed and watching TV on bed ensures more sleep.
Fact: Rolling on the bed throughout the day or watching TV on bed gives discomfort to the eye. You might rest your eyes for a short time. However, it results in disturbed sleep and not a full-fledged nap.
Myth- Drinking warm milk helps in falling asleep.
Fact: Your grandmother would continue arguing, but there are no scientific proofs that warm milk aids in better sleep.
Myth- Alcohol is a solution for my sleep problem.
Fact: The cycle of dependence begins as follows: Insomnia leads to the use of sleeping pills which in turn leads to tolerance and with time diminishing the tolerance effect increases the dose of pills resulting in tolerance and an attempt to stop medication. An attempt to prevent medication leads to rebound insomnia, once again leading to return to pills and dependence. It becomes a vicious cycle where it becomes hard for a person to withdraw.
Myth- I sleep lesser/ longer than my companion/others, what is the problem with my sleep…
Fact: We need to understand that individual differences do exist in the number of sleep hours required for a refreshing sleep.
^ There are short sleepers who need only 6 hrs and there are long sleepers who need 10 hrs of sleep to get up refreshed.
^ Ideal sleep hours are between 6—8 hrs.
Myth- I feel so tired and fatigued so I should go to bed and get some sleep.
Fact: I should not equate my sleep difficulties with my old age. People of any age can develop insomnia.
A century ago, most people rose with daylight, exerted themselves all day and crawled into bed when the sun went down or the candle burnt out. Nevertheless, in the current technologically driven world we are dependent on apps and gadgets to such a degree that in our eagerness to share our joy, we have forgotten to enjoy and keep peace with ourselves.