When it comes to sleeping, there’s a lot of misinformation about what’s healthy and what’s not. But unfortunately, what you don’t know really can hurt you. Check out these three sleep-related myths and the real science behind them.
Myth: Screen Time Equates to Sleep Time
Struggling to fall asleep at night? Turn off the TV and put down that phone. Contrary to what you might think, watching TV or playing on a phone or tablet can actually make it harder to go to sleep, not easier. That’s because the light from your devices mimics the same blue light that triggers your brain to wake up. So staring at a screen is actually energizing your brain, not the opposite. If you can, try to put down your tech about two hours before bedtime. If you really must stay connected or are set on a pre-bed show, try to dim the lights in the room or adjust the blue on your screen.
Myth: It’s Normal to Wake Up with a Stiff Jaw
Do you wake up with body aches? It can happen if we sleep in an uncomfortable position, in a place other than a bed, or on an unsupportive mattress. But if you’re waking with stiffness in the jaw, it could be a sign of one or more larger problems – including jaw clenching, teeth grinding or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder). If you think you could be experiencing any of these conditions, speak to Dr. Lederman about getting a TMJ disorder evaluation. There are many options available for patients with TMJ disorder or who grind their teeth or clench their jaws, such as custom orthotics, physical therapy and neuromuscular dentistry.
Myth: Snoring Is Perfectly Safe
Snoring may seem perfectly harmless (well, at least to the snorer!), but snoring can be an indication of a much bigger problem - namely, sleep apnea. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles of the throat relax and pressure is applied to the throat – often caused by obesity and being overweight. If your partner notices you are snoring and stopping and restarting breathing, or you cannot seem to get a good night's sleep because of constant waking, you could have sleep apnea. If this sounds like you, speak to Dr. Lederman about undergoing a sleep evaluation. It can improve your quality of sleep and even save your life!