Old Wives’ Tales About Sleep – True or False?
Ever wondered if any of those old wives tales about sleep were true or not? We did. Which is why we did our own research to find out which were myths, and which ended up being real. Whether you want to know if eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares, or if counting sheep helps you fall asleep, we are here to answer these old wives’ tales about sleep and many more!
A Glass Of Warm Milk Can Help You Fall Asleep:
Drinking a glass of warm milk to help you sleep is commonly thought of as a myth. However, there is some scientific evidence behind milk actually helping you to fall asleep. Milk is rich in tryptophan and calcium, both of which are needed for your body to produce melatonin.
Which means not only is a warm glass of milk a soothing drink that makes you feel warm, cozy, and ready to go to bed.
It also has the building blocks that help your body to produce the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Making this old wives tale, true.
You Must Get Your Beauty Rest:
The concept of beauty sleep is thrown around often. You may or may not be surprised to know that there is something to be said about the beatifying effects of sleep. After all, true beauty comes from health and well-being. If you are sick or exhausted, you tend to not look your best. The real question is why does a lack of sleep make our eyes puffy and skin look dull?
Sleep is a restorative time for our bodies and minds. When we sleep this is when a lot of cell regeneration happens. Which leads us to looking and feeling refreshed the following day. Even our mental alertness and good mood from being well rested can add to the beauty factor.
While taking long naps will not have you waking up looking like Kim Kardashian, you will look like a healthy, well rested version of yourself. We claim this old wives’ tale to be true.
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You Need Less Sleep As You Age:
The thought that your body and mind needs less sleep as you get older, is actually false. Sleep patterns change a lot as we age, this is often due to the fact that our bodies start to produce less melatonin.
This not only makes it harder to fall asleep at night, it can also make it more difficult to stay asleep throughout the night.
Which leads to waking up at 4am or 5am ready to start your day. This does not mean that your body would not benefit from more sleep, it simply means your body is not producing melatonin to make you feel sleepy. This often leads to more midday napping as you age as well.
Find out more about how sleep and age go hand in hand in our post: Sleep & Aging.
Getting Tucked In Helps You Sleep:
While getting all tucked in is typically reserved for young children, there is some evidence that being tightly tucked into your bedding can actually help you sleep. It is a similar to the reasons why weighted blankets bring rest and relaxation.
Getting tightly tucked into your bedding creates the same deep pressure sensation that helps release serotonin and dopamine in your brain. Which makes you feel happy and at peace.
Getting tucked in also ensures that you have a good covering of blanket over your whole body with any cold toes sticking out. We would say that getting tucked in good absolutely help you to sleep soundly, making this old wives tale about sleep true.
Learn more about the benefits of weighted blankets and how they work in our post: Weighted Blanket Benefits
Eating Cheese Before Bed Will Give Your Nightmares:
This has the potential to be true, but only under certain circumstances. In general, there is no magic ingredient in cheese that produces bad dreams. However, as we covered earlier a lot of dairy has high tryptophan and calcium, which can help you have better deeper sleep.
While it is also believed that you have your most intense dreams when your stomach is full. For the most part we would debunk this old wives tale as a full on myth.
However, there may be one factor that could lead to eating cheese before bed giving you nightmares, and that is if you have a sensitivity to dairy. If eating dairy products gives you a stomach ache, then eating cheese before bed could absolutely lead to bad dreams caused by the discomfort your body is feeling as you rest. This is the only possibility we could lead to making this old wives tale true.
You may also enjoy are post: How Dairy Affects Your Sleep
Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite:
If you grew up thinking bed bugs were just a part of a silly bedtime saying, then we have news for you. Bed bugs are very real and a serious issue. While you can’t simply keep bed bugs from biting by “not letting” them, it is important to keep bed bugs out of your mattress and house.
Keeping your mattress clean and protected with a bed bug shielding mattress protector is the best way to do this. It is also important to check your mattress regularly to ensure that there are no little bugs hanging out and starting an infestation. Once you have bed bugs it can be difficult to get rid of them. Click the link below to learn more about bed bugs. We suggest being aware of your mattress and home to keep this one from being true.
Looking to learn more about Bed Bugs and how to check for them? Head over to our Guide To Bed Bugs.
You Will Get Sick If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep:
While staying up one night is very unlikely to give you a cold. Getting a good amount of sleep each night is vital for supporting a healthy immune system. Which means even if you stay out late one night, or get up extra early one day.
This will not make you more likely to contract a virus. If you continuously struggle to get enough sleep each night. Then it very well could lower your immune system and make it more more likely for you to get sick. It is the same reason why rest is so important for getting better when you’re sick. Meaning this one is somewhat true.
Concerned about getting sick? Learn how Vitamin D not only is great for keeping you healthy but also getting good rest in our post Vitamin D & Sleep.
Counting Sheep Will Help You Fall Asleep:
You might assume this to be false, however there may be some truth to counting sheep helping you fall asleep. Essentially, counting sheep is a form of meditation. It is a menial task to give your busy mind to perform as you try to fall asleep. This is similar to many different versions of meditation in which the goal is to control what your mind is focusing on instead of letting your brain roam free.
Whenever you lay in bed with zero distractions or input, it is easy for all of your stressful thoughts and fears to start creeping in and taking control. Which can lead to stressful tossing and turning or in some cases making it impossible to fall asleep all together.
Which means if you instead give something else simple and monotonous to pay attention to, like counting sheep. This may actually help you to relax and slowly fall asleep. Making yet another old wives tale about sleep true.
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If You Take A Long Nap You’ll Ruin Your Night’s Sleep:
Once again, there is a lot of truth in this one. However, not all naps are going to completely throw off your night’s rest. We all have internal clocks that help us determine when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Which is called your circadian rhythm.
While most people’s circadian rhythm will only allow the occasional nap. Sometimes we are simply overly tired and can nap for hours and hours. Once you start sleeping for more then an hour during the day, you start risking throwing off your entire circadian rhythm.
This will make it much more difficult to sleep a full 7-9 hours of sleep that is considered normal for most people. (However, there are some people who do not sleep a typical monophasic sleep schedule and instead opt for several sleep sessions per day that are shorter.) Overall we would have to say that the “old wives” napping for too long can potentially make it difficult to sleep at is true.
Are You A Napper? You May Also Enjoy: What Is Polyphasic Sleep?
Old Wives’ Tales About Sleep – Final Thoughts:
Turns out that a lot of these “old wives” knew what they were talking about when it comes to a lot of these. Warm milk really can help you fall asleep, and so can counting sheep. While cheese won’t directly cause nightmares, getting tucked in at night can make you feel extra relaxed. Now that you have more sleep knowledge, you can get to sleep better yourself! Happy sleeping.
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