Myth: Alcohol will help you sleep
Reality: Drinking a glass of wine before bed may help you fall asleep (though some people find alcohol does the exact opposite), but that sleep will likely be anything but restorative. Alcohol—a common ingredient in sleep aids—keeps your body from producing melatonin, a necessary ingredient for a good night’s sleep. Imbibing before bedtime also interrupts your REM cycles and inhibits dreaming, both of which are likely to leave you feeling worn out rather than rested when the alarm rings. Are you sabotaging your snoozes in other ways? Check out these other sleep aids that work against you.
Myth: You can always catch up on sleep over the weekend
Reality: Sleeping in a couple days a week won’t make up for chronic sleep loss. Every time you skimp on sleep, you start accruing a “sleep debt” of the hours you’ve lost. If you have one late night and go to bed early the next, it’s probably not a huge deal. But relying on that constantly means you’ll never pay your “debt” back in full, and you’ll never get over the scary symptoms of sleep loss. In fact, one study in the American Journal of Physiology even found you can’t pay it back, no matter how much you sleep. After six days of sleep deprivation, participants were more tired and less able to focus that they were before the sleep loss. Once they got recovery sleep, they weren’t so drowsy anymore, but their attention levels still didn’t get back to normal. So even though you might feel more well rested come Monday, you might still not be performing your best at work. And check out this surprising and scientific reason why you struggle to fall asleep on Sunday night. Yes––there’s a reason for that!