You’re Probably Not Swallowing Spiders (And Other Sleep Myths)
There are many folk tales that have been spread around for many years around this issue of sleeping and bedtime. Hearing the debunking of some of these may be quite a comforting relief to you. However, some have been accepted "truths" for a long time. Hearing that they're not true may be surprise. Here are a just a few of those for your perusal:
Myth: There's a chance that you could very well swallow eight spiders over the course of your sleeping life.
OMG. I remember the first time I heard this happy little tidbit, I was sure I would never sleep again. Happily, exhaustion kicked in and seeing as how I continued to wake up without various spider bites in the morning, I eventually relaxed. Turns out, there's no conclusive evidence to back this horrifying claim.
Myth: As we get older, we need less sleep.
Perhaps this is something that new parents in their desperation really wanted to believe and eventually this just became an accepted "truth." In actual trials, this is what happened: Older people were told to try and sleep as much as they possibly could, as were younger people. It turns out, the younger adults slept longer, yes.
However, that doesn't mean it was because the older adults needed less sleep--they just slept as much as they could and it turned out, on average, to be less. This may have been indicative of more difficult time staying asleep. We don't know conclusively. What we do seem to know is that sleep needs vary between individuals, no matter their age.
Myth: If you work out too close to bedtime, it will make it more difficult to fall asleep.
This used to bum me out, because I tend to want to work out later in the day. Try as I may, exercising first thing in the morning doesn't seem to work for me. I've worried that by exercising in the late afternoon or early evening would harm the quality of my sleep. Now, it is true that exercising TOO much may contribute to insomnia, research has shown that a reasonable level of exercise may even aid your sleep cycle.
Ready to debunk a few more myths around sleeping? Here's a helpful article from the National Sleep Organization.