The Sleep Myths 45% Of Us Believe Even Though They're Incorrect

modeled by Andreanna Hayes; photographed by Michael Beckert; produced by Sam Nodelman; produced by Yuki Mizuma.
As we know by now, there's a lot of dubious health advice on the internet – on every topic, including sleep. We know about the importance of getting a decent night's kip, but there's an abundance of quacks and sleep 'gurus' who love to espouse bogus information.
New research confirms many of us are buying into it, putting trust in a string of myths about sleep, according to a survey from bed brand Sealy of over 1,000 people. According to the study, almost half (45%) of us are compromising a good night's sleep as a result.
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Most of us should probably be getting more sleep, with 32% of British people admitting they sleep poorly, so this is serious business. These are the most commonly believed sleep myths that should be put to bed once and for all.
Yawning means you're tired
Wait, what? Some smart alec always tells us to get a better night's sleep when we yawn in public and, indeed, most people (60%) believe yawning means we're tired. Scientists don't know exactly why we do it, but many believe it's the body's way of cooling down our brain, enabling it to work at its best. Mind blown.
You need less sleep as you get older
More than half (53%) of people believe that the older you get, the fewer hours' sleep you need. Older relatives and neighbours may make a habit of picking up their paper at 7am every day, or staying up 'til the early hours listening to Radio 2, but actually, our sleep patterns don't generally change much as we age. While we may struggle to get to sleep as we get older, scientists still recommend we get seven to eight hours over the age of 65.
You can "catch up" on sleep
Most people (52%) also mistakenly think you can make up for a lack of sleep one night by sleeping for longer later on. While some studies have shown repaying your sleep debt on weekends after losing out on sleep during the week can be beneficial, others suggest that weekend lie-ins could increase your risk of heart disease. So it's probably best not to make a habit of it.
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Other common sleep misconceptions, according to the research, are that more sleep is better for you (56%) (in fact, research suggests it could increase your risk of dying early); that exercising just before bed helps you sleep better (50%) (when in reality it could affect some people's sleep quality); and that drinking alcohol before bed sends you off into a deeper sleep (28%) (when actually it makes your night's sleep worse overall).
Here's the list in full...
The most widely believed (but incorrect) pieces of sleep wisdom are:
Yawning is a sign of tiredness (60%)
We need eight hours of sleep every night (59%)
More sleep is better for you (56%)
The older you get, the fewer hours' sleep you need (53%)
You can always catch up on sleep (52%)
Exercising just before bed helps you sleep better (50%)
Going to bed early always helps you sleep better (42%)
You train yourself to get by with just four hours of sleep (39%)
Watching TV or using an electronic device helps you drift off (35%)
Eating cheese before bed will guarantee nightmares (28%)
Drinking alcohol before bedtime ensures you sleep deeply (28%)
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