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Sleep myths: Separating fact from fiction

On those days when people have deadlines or too many items on the to-do list they feel they can skip sleep or make it up on another day. We’re here to tell you that – along with the other items on this list – are fiction not fact.

Fiction #1: Sleep is an option not a necessity: In our always turned-on-being-connected world, it’s not easy to step away from it all. The internet, with all of its interesting web pages and 24-hour connectedness lures us away from sleep on more occasions than we should allow it to. On average, we sleep six to seven hours a night when we should be sleeping at least eight. Many of us are convinced that we can function on even less sleep than we are getting. Some people can still function and appear unaffected by pulling all-nighters while others struggle to complete our tasks after we’ve tossed and turned all night.

Be realistic, though when it comes your hectic schedule and your lack of quality sleep. Sleep is not an option, it’s a necessity. When the time comes to rest your head, make sure your bedroom is inviting and welcoming to a good night’s sleep. Even if you aren’t sleeping longer, maybe you will be sleeping better in an environment conducive to sleep. 

 Fiction #2: I can have my caffeine in the morning and still sleep at night.  
Consuming caffeine in the morning is an automatic response for many people. Caffeine is the most socially used – and socially acceptable – drug in the United States today. The effects of caffeine can last up to 12 hours and can seriously impede your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you toss and turn all night long, you might want to consider cutting back on the caffeine consumption.

Fiction #3: If I can’t sleep, medication is the answer. Relying on sleeping pills to fall asleep is not the way to go. If you’re sleeping poorly, look to simple, non-medicated answers first. Is your sleep environment conducive to sleep? Have you eaten too heavy of a meal before bedtime? Did you exercise too close to bedtime? Have you napped too long during the day to allow sleep to come easily at night? Have you turned off all electronic equipment in the bedroom and darkened it sufficiently? Try these steps and add some relaxation techniques to your bedtime routine before you turn to sleeping medication.

Fiction #4: I can’t sleep because I’m getting older. It is fact that as you get older you sleep lighter and may not need to sleep as long as you did when you were younger. If, however, you toss and turn or wake up fatigued or achy on a regular basis – it’s not normal or healthy. Daytime grogginess is not normal and shouldn’t be chalked up to needing less sleep. If you constantly toss and turn and are tired during the day, you should check with your doctor and perhaps even undertake a sleep study.�

Fiction #5: My insomnia isn’t an issue. A night or two of insomnia likely isn’t an issue. If your insomnia lasts, though you should talk to your doctor as there are some psychiatric disorders, including depression, have a strong association with consistent, long-term problems falling and staying asleep. You need to have professional help if do-it-yourself sleep methods aren’t helping.

To perform at your peak, sleep is as crucial as a healthy diet and exercise. Check out Valley Sleep Center’s articles on sleep tips and ways to make your bedroom environment more conducive to sleep. If none of these techniques work, you should contact your doctor or a sleep professional.

 Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com

Client Reviews

"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA