New survey reveals truths and untruths about sleep

  • Everyone should have 8 hours of sleep a night, cheese gives you nightmares, you can catch up on sleep at weekends, sleep deprivation can affect your health, caffeine keeps you awake, exercising before bed will help you sleep, healthy eating induces a good night’s sleep
  • But with over three quarters of Brits experiencing problems with their sleep what is fact and what is fiction?
  • New research released today tests people’s knowledge of what does and doesn’t work when it comes to a good night’s sleep, as well as their own failsafe routines and what happens when they don’t get their 40 winks

We’ve all heard the theories of what can help and hinder you having a good night’s sleep, but how much of what we all believe is fact and how much is fiction?

A new survey released today put a number of truths and untruths around sleep to respondents to see how clued up the public is about sleep:

  • Only 12% believe the theory that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares – Certain cheeses do give you nightmares, Stilton cheese for example has proved to give people vivid dreams
  • One in seven think going to the gym in the evening helps you sleep – This is a myth, as the body will be overheated meaning people would have trouble going to sleep. Going to the gym during the day though would definitely help you have a better quality night’s sleep
  • One in seven believe you can catch up on sleep at weekends – This is a myth, the only way people can catch up on their sleep is by having early nights
  • One in eight believe watching TV helps you sleep – Yes and no. It can help you sleep and relax you, though the blue light can disrupt somebody’s sleep
  • One in ten believe drinking alcohol will give you a better night’s sleep – Drinking alcohol will help you sleep but it will prevent you from having a good quality night sleep
  • Almost 60% believe caffeine keeps you awake – yes it does keep you awake, but it also differs from person to person. People are advised to not drink it after 11pm
  • Almost a quarter of people believe everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night – This varies from person to person, the average amount of sleep is between 6-8 hours

In fact, the research by Intel saw almost 30% say they need more than eight hours sleep, while almost a quarter say they need less than seven hours.

The survey also saw over 80% say they have experienced sleep problems, with one in five saying it is an ongoing problem. Over a third of Brits (38.8%) are also saying that they believe their bad sleep quality and duration are factors affecting their health.

When it comes to what people believe are the best ways to get a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, a warm bath, a healthy diet, listening to relaxing music and avoiding technology topped the list – but do all these methods work?

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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