1. It doesn’t matter what time of day you sleep

Although sleeping during the day is better than no sleep at all, it’s certainly not ideal. For instance, night-shift workers who typically get less sleep and have lower sleep quality than day workers are at higher risk for depression, diabetes, breast cancer, and all-cause mortality.

2. Hitting ‘snooze’ is better than getting up right away

Sleep disruptions are bad. Fragmentations in sleep caused by the snooze function are linked to reduced mental flexibility and decreased subjective mood. You’re better off setting the alarm for the exact time you need to get up instead of breaking up your sleep by “snoozing” between alarms.

3. Snoring, although annoying, is mostly harmless

In your dreams, maybe. In fact, “loud, raucous snores interrupted by pauses in breathing” is a marker for sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, increases the risk for heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, asthma, high blood pressure, glaucoma, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and cognitive and behavioral disorders.

4. Falling asleep anytime or anywhere is a sign of a good sleeper

Being able to “sleep on a clothesline” can actually be a sign of sleep deprivation, possibly due to obstructive sleep apnea or some other sleep problem. People who have sleep apnea are at higher risk for motor vehicle accidents.

5. Drinking alcohol before bed helps you fall sleep

Do you think a nightcap before bed will help you fall asleep and stay asleep? Dream on. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but that’s where the benefits end, Robbins said. Instead, it traps you in the lighter stages of sleep and “dramatically reduces the quality of your rest at night.”
It continues to pull you out of rapid eye movement and the deeper stages of sleep, causing you to wake up not feeling restored.

6. Not sleeping? Stay in bed with eyes closed and try and try

You have to admit, it makes sense: How can you fall asleep if you’re not in the bed trying? Yet sleep experts say that continuing to count sheep for more than 15 minutes isn’t the smartest move.

“If we stay in bed, we’ll start to associate the bed with insomnia. It’s equal to “going to the gym and standing on a treadmill and not doing anything.”
In reality, it takes a healthy sleeper of about 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you’re tossing and turning much longer than that, you should get out of bed, change the environment, and do something mindless: Keep the lights low and fold socks.
Some people also believe that it’s just as refreshing to your body to lie in bed with eyes closed but not sleeping. Nope. That’s another pipe dream.

7. Watching TV in bed helps you relax

We all do it or we check our laptop or smartphone before we power down for the night. Unfortunately, that sets us up for a bad night.
“These devices emit bright blue light, and that blue light is what tells our brain to become alive and alert in the morning, we want to avoid blue light before bed, from sources like a television or your smartphone, and do things that relax you.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue light affects the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, more than any other wavelength of light. Watching TV or using an electronic device within two hours of bedtime means it will take you longer to fall asleep.

8. Being bored makes you sleepy

Listening to a boring lecture won’t put you to sleep on its own. Rather, boredom may more readily unmask sleep deprivation, resulting in sleep. Just being bored, however, doesn’t make you sleepy.

9. Exercise at night disturbs sleep

The rationale that exercise before bed will amp you up and keep you from sleeping is false. Researchers have shown no adverse effect of nighttime exercise on sleep. In fact, exercise and sleep can be mutually beneficial.

10. The older you get, the more you sleep

Duration of sleep varies greatly during the course of a lifetime. Instead of getting more sleep, older adults actually tend to sleep less, in part due to health conditions. But this doesn’t mean that older adults need less sleep than younger adults, but rather that they just get less sleep.

More myths

The research team found more myths that we tend to accept as fact, such as:
  • More sleep is always better (no, you really can sleep too much and harm your health)
  • Taking a nap in the afternoon can fix insomnia (actually, if you sleep long enough to enter a REM or deep sleep cycle, it can mess up your body clock even more)
  • It’s better to have a warmer than the cool bedroom (no, you sleep better in cooler temps)
This means that we could all use a bit of education about good sleep hygiene, a set of habits to form that will set you up for a lifetime of healthy sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has tips, as does the CDC.
“Sleep is a highly active process, “It’s crucial, actually, in restoring the body and is in fact the most efficient, effective way to do so.”

Sweet dreams!