Snoring ''does not mean deep sleep''; exploring sleep misconceptions
Snoring is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think of deep sleep, but experts have recently revealed that this is not the case. Indeed, it may be exactly the reverse. Snoring occurs because of a blocking to the air pathway. Not only is this not related to your sleep stages, but it could also be very dangerous to the sufferer.
This is an issue that was raised at an interactive session on 'management of sleep apnoea' organised by Neeti Clinics run by ENT surgeon Dr Madan Kapre. The session included two talks delivered by sleep experts Dr Magne Tvinnereim from Norway and Dr Kapre, who are setting up a sleep disorder hospital in the Indian city of Nagpur. The speakers saw sleep disorder as a growing epidemic in the country.
Although snoring may have several misguided connotations associated with it, there seems to be a wider area of misunderstanding and misjudgement when it comes to sleep as a whole.
One such misconception is people who believe that the more you sleep, the better it is for you. This is mistaken because sleep is more about quality than quantity. For example, it would be more beneficial for you to get eight hours of good sleep than 11 hours of disturbed sleep.
Another misguided thought is that feeling sleepy and feeling tired is the same thing. Although being sleepy includes being tired, the opposite is not always true.
Tiredness is the mind's or body's need for rest, which does not necessarily mean sleep. Sleepy on the other hand, is the distinct need for sleep. If you got to bed because you're feeling tired, you may find it difficult to get to sleep.
One of the main misconceptions that gets flagged up when it comes to sleep and caffeine. Many people incorporate caffeine as part of their lives, and feel a necessity to have it at certain times. However, this is not the case, and caffeine could be seriously damaging your sleep patterns.
As a general rule of thumb, caffeine reduces sleep quality. The half-life of caffeine in the human body is normally around five hours, and even after ten hours, a quarter of a cup of caffeine could still be there. So knowing when to drink caffeine and for what purpose is important if you want to avoid it from disturbing your night's sleep.
Another interesting misconception is that if you wake up tired, it means that you haven't slept enough. There are a number of reasons why you might not have woke up rested, like caffeine disturbing your sleep phases, having nightmares or sleeping on an uncomfortable bed. Alarm clocks often cut into your sleep patterns, which means that even if you are one or two minutes off your ideal level of sleep, you still might wake up feeling drowsy.
One way that people like to overcome this drowsiness is by oversleeping. Throughout the week we tend to document how much sleep we've been having, paying off our sleep debt little by little when we can. But it is far better to sleep in consistent sleep patterns rather than keeping a tally of what sleep we owe, and living a system of under and over sleeping.
The best practice when it comes to sleep is to forget any conceptions you may have over sleep quality, and rely on the basics. Good quality sleep means that you should sleep for the recommended amounts each night in sleep-centric rooms without the distractions of the outside world. As long as you rate sleep as important, you will usually naturally adhere to these principles.
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes