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Sleep Disorder Myths

continued...

Teens need more sleep than adults.

True: Teens appear to need more sleep each night, compared to an average of 7-9 hours each night for most adults. The internal biological clocks of teenagers can keep them awake later in the evening and wake them later in the morning.

Insomnia is characterized only by difficulty falling asleep.

False: There are one or more of the following four symptoms 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. Various things in the environment can cause daytime sleepiness such as the temperature of the room, food, and your focus on the task at hand.

During sleep, your brain rests.

False: The body rests during sleep. Despite this fact, the brain remains active, gets recharged, and still controls many body functions including breathing. When we sleep, we typically drift between two basic sleep states, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) 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: Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is a symptom of insomnia. Thinking of something relaxing may help to induce sleep. However, most experts agree that if you do not fall back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed. You should go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity such as listening to music or reading. Don't watch the clock. Return to bed only when you feel tired.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on January 02, 2015
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