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Sleep Myths

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True: Teens need at least 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep each night, compared to an average of seven to nine hours each night for most adults. The internal biological clocks of teenagers can keep them awake later in the evening and can interfere with waking up in the morning.

Insomnia is characterized only by difficulty falling asleep.

False: One or more of the following four symptoms are usually associated with insomnia:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed

Daytime sleepiness means a person is not getting enough sleep.

False: While excessive daytime sleepiness often occurs if you don't get enough sleep, it can also occur even after a good night's sleep. Such sleepiness can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea.

Your brain rests during sleep.

False: The body rests during sleep, not the brain. The brain remains active, gets recharged, and still controls many body functions including breathing during sleep.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep you should get out of bed and do something.

True: If you wake up in the night and can't fall back to sleep within about 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Do not sit in bed and watch the clock. Experts recommend going into another room to read or listen to music. Return to bed only when you feel tired.

Getting too little sleep may impact weight.

True: How much a person sleeps at night can impact their weight. This is because the amount of sleep a person gets can affect certain hormones, specifically the hormones leptin and ghrelin, that affect appetite. Leptin and ghrelin work in a kind of "checks and balances" system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. When you don't get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat, and increases ghrelin levels, stimulating your appetite so you want more food. The two combined can set the stage for overeating, which in turn may lead to weight gain.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 30, 2015
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