Experts: Be wary of common misunderstandings about sleep

Experts: Be wary of common misunderstandings about sleep


March 21st is World Sleep Day, and the Chinese theme is “Healthy Sleep for Everyone”. The recently released “White Paper on Sleep of Chinese Residents in 2023” shows that Chinese residents sleep an average of 6.75 hours, fall asleep after midnight on average, and sleep duration at night is generally short. Do you have trouble sleeping? What are the common misconceptions about sleep? How to get high-quality sleep? Science and Technology Daily interviewed relevant experts about this.

 Understand sleep knowledge and improve sleep quality

How much sleep is appropriate? Li Yun, director of the Sleep Medicine Center of Shantou University School of Medicine, said: “People of different ages need different sleep durations. Middle-aged people generally need 7-8 hours. In reality, many people are anxious because they cannot meet this target.”

The duration of insomnia varies from person to person. “Actually, 7-8 hours is just an average level. Everyone’s sleep varies from long to short. For example, people who carry the short-sleep gene only sleep 5-6 hours a day without affecting their mental state; while people who carry the long-sleep gene do not You may need to sleep for about 10 hours.” Li Yun said that research shows that for people who carry short-sleep genes and long-sleep genes, as long as their sleep quality is high, their sleep duration will not have a negative impact on their physical and mental states.

Li Yun said that regular sleep is very important, and irregular sleep will disrupt the biological clock. “Regular sleep does not mean that you must go to bed and get up at a certain time every day, but that the time for going to bed and getting up should be relatively fixed, and it can fluctuate by about half an hour. For example, if you go to bed at 11 o’clock on the first day, and at 11 o’clock on the next day, It’s okay to go to bed at 10:30 or 11:30.”

In reality, many insomniacs choose to go to bed early and wait for sleepiness. “Staying in bed if you can’t sleep, staying in bed if you haven’t slept well. Both of these practices will damage your sleep.” Li Yun said, “Get up if you can’t fall asleep, and wait until you feel sleepy before going back to sleep. This can help the brain to establish a relationship with the environment. Conditioning – the bedroom and bed are for sleeping, thereby promoting sleep.”

A proper nap is good for the body, but many people don’t know that taking a nap for too long can damage sleep. A previous study by Guangzhou Medical University showed that for people who get enough sleep every night, taking a nap of no more than 1 hour a day is good for heart health, but napping for more than 1 hour may increase the risk of death by 30%. “Taking too long a nap will lead to lack of energy in the afternoon and ‘overdraft’ of sleep at night.” Li Yun said, “It is best to take a nap for about half an hour, and half an hour of closing your eyes to relax is fine.”

Deep sleep is called “golden sleep” and can effectively relieve fatigue. Does less deep sleep mean that sleep quality is not high? “Some people are very worried when they monitor their deep sleep for 2 hours. In fact, there is no need, because deep sleep only accounts for 20%-25% of sleep time. It is necessary to understand sleep knowledge as comprehensively as possible to avoid the consequences of half-knowledge. Anxious.” Li Yun said.

Appropriate exercise can help you sleep, but you must control the time of exercise. “Avoid strenuous exercise, such as exercise with a heart rate exceeding 120 beats, within 3 hours before going to bed. Strenuous exercise will excite the brain and affect falling asleep.” Li Yun said that exercising in the evening can help promote sleep at night.

Avoid food before going to bed and do relaxation training

Can drinking alcohol hypnotize you? “Alcohol may help fall asleep, but as alcohol is metabolized and decomposed in the body, it will damage the quality of sleep in the second half of the night.” Li Yun said.

Fan Chunlei, an associate researcher at the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that drinking a small amount of alcohol before going to bed can cause central nervous system excitement and is not conducive to sleep. Although heavy drinking has a short-term hypnotic effect, drowsiness will disappear after 3-4 hours, and it will also cause symptoms of sympathetic nervous excitement such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. On the contrary, it is easy to wake up and even suffer from insomnia.

Does drinking milk help you sleep? Milk contains tryptophan, which helps the body synthesize melatonin and serotonin. But the tryptophan content in milk is actually very small. “Moreover, drinking too much liquid food within 2 hours before going to bed can lead to excessive nocturia.” Li Yun added.

Coffee, tea, milk tea, fruit tea and sports drinks all contain caffeine, which excites the brain. Li Yun told reporters: “The human body generally takes 6 hours to metabolize caffeine, so try not to drink caffeinated drinks within 6 hours before going to bed.”

“Playing with mobile phones before going to bed will not only compress sleep time, but the blue light from the screen will also cause a decrease in melatonin secretion and affect sleep quality.” Li Yun suggested doing some relaxation training half an hour before going to bed, such as listening to white noise or light music, foot baths or aromatherapy. . At the same time, a sleeping environment with suitable temperature (21℃-24℃), suitable humidity, and relatively quiet and dark should be created.

As of now, there are more than 100 known sleep diseases. “The departments that treat sleep diseases are mainly psychiatry, respiratory, neurology, otolaryngology, etc.” Li Yun said that people with severe sleep disorders need to go to the hospital for individualized treatment in time.


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