3 Important Myths And Facts About Sleep

1- We Should Not Sleep In Evening (Sunset)

A- Propensities

Therefore, it is said that people must never sleep in the evenings which shall promote lethargy and Tamasic tendency. When all people are made of three propensities namely Sattva, Rajas and Tamas meaning positive, aggressive and lethargic aspects, the last one namely Tamas is said to be promoted more when an individual sleeps in the evenings.

B- Not benefit for Health

Generally, out of our personal experience, we might note that we shall not find comfortable to sleep during the evenings. Once we wake up after a nap in the evenings, we shall feel tired and also might not enjoy a good sleep during that night too.

C- Increase Digestion Problem

Sleeping in the evening is said to affect the digestion too. Therefore, if we are health conscious, then it is better to avoid sleeping during that time and spend the time purposefully in other useful acts instead.

D- It’s not our Culture

Behind most beliefs and practices, the culture has woven some aspects of convenience, some aspects that provide a conducive setting for the daily routines and occasional observances. The kind of life people have been living down the ages in India has not viewed evenings as times to sleep.

2- Sleeping In Complete Darkness Can Improve Your Health

In our modern world, many people stay up far too late on their smartphones, tablets, and computers, and this comes at a very hefty cost. Not only does technology keep our brains stimulated at night, but it also can disrupt our sleep, even delaying it for hours past our bedtime. Bedrooms today become a den for games and entertainment, but not so much a good night’s rest.

Exposure to light at night might not seem like that big a deal to you, but remember that before the advent of modern technology, we basically had two lights guiding us at all times – the sun and the moon. These natural lights helped us to see during the day, and lull us to sleep at night. We became accustomed to these natural patterns, waking with the sun and falling asleep with the moon.

However, now that we’ve moved far away from nature, we have an abundance of artificial lighting, and while this might help us get work done and see in places that have little sunlight, it’s doing a lot of damage to our brains and overall health. Indoor lighting, of course, doesn’t compare to the power of the sun, but it actually emits more light than the moon and stars. This leads to poor sleep if we use artificial lighting too close to bedtime.

HOW SLEEPING IN COMPLETE DARKNESS CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

First, we’ll go over why using artificial lighting too close to bed can damage your health. Melatonin helps us to relax and get ready to sleep, but the blue light from smartphones and tablets actually suppresses this hormone. Melatonin lowers blood pressure, glucose levels, and body temperature, which help us to prepare for a restful sleep.

With the proper amount of melatonin in your system, your cortisol levels will also remain relatively low, allowing you to relax and get to sleep. However, artificial lighting actually raises your stress hormones at night, and frequent exposure can cause a plethora of health problems, including excess body fat, weight gain, inflammation, insulin resistance, and heart problems. It can also contribute to insomnia and even affect hormones responsible for the regulation of your appetite.

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So, by keeping your room dark at night, you not only will get to sleep faster and wake up feeling more rested, but you’ll also have a lesser risk of developing health problems due to excess nighttime light exposure.

In fact, studies have shown that light exposure before bedtime shortens melatonin duration by 90 minutes in comparison to dim light exposure. Furthermore, keeping lights on in the room while you sleep can suppress melatonin levels by more than 50%. 

So, a good rule of thumb is to simply turn off electronics a few hours before bed, and dim the lights in your room. Make it a relaxing environment for sleep so that when bedtime comes, you actually feel like falling asleep.

If you still need more evidence to shut off your phones and bright room lights leading up to bedtime, a 10-year study  of over 1,670 women exposed to bright light before bed found that they had a 22% greater chance of developing breast cancer compared to those who slept in complete darkness. The researchers concluded that hormone disruption due to melatonin suppression likely caused the cancer to develop.

Furthermore, people who do shift-work have a higher risk of developing cancer as well. In some studies, researchers found that nurses who rotate overnight shifts have a greater chance of developing breast cancer compared to those nurses who work during the day.

Even dim light at night can causes issues, though. Chronic exposure to dim light in the evening leads to depressive symptoms in hamsters, such as drinking less sugar water that they normally would have interest in. When researchers took away the dim lights at night, they found the depression went away.

Chronic low light in the evening also disrupts the immune system response..

So, if you have night lights on, lights from your computer or phone, or even a street lamp outside, consider covering them with a blanket or getting black-out curtains for your windows. 

Finally, exposure to lights before bed can lead to weight gain due to disruption in hormones and a shift in our biological clock which controls our eating times. In studies with lab mice, they gained more weight when exposed to light before bed despite exercising and eating the same amount as the mice who didn’t have light exposure.

 

3- Risks of Eating Before Bed

The period of time between dinner and bedtime is the danger zone for many. It’s the time of day you get to relax, and many people reach for a favorite snack to enhance the simple pleasure of doing nothing. While eating a healthy, balanced snack before bed can actually improve your sleep capabilities and overall wellness, eating too much or certain foods before bed can pose problems.

Weight Gain

The biggest myth surrounding nighttime eating is that eating too close to bedtime makes you gain weight. This is not true. Eating more calories than you burn makes you gain weight, whether you eat them early or late. Of course, many people who snack before bed choose high-calorie foods such as ice cream or potato chips, but it’s the calorie content of these foods, not the time they were eaten, that causes weight gain. And overeating at night can disrupt sleep, increasing your appetite the next day. To dodge these risks, aim for healthy, balanced meals and snacks throughout each day. If you’re hungry or restless before bed, go with a healthy option, such as oatmeal or a banana with almond butter.

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Sleep Disturbance

If you have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep, pay attention to your eating habits before reaching for the sleeping pills. If your last meal was hours ago, hunger pangs may keep you awake. In this case, a modest-size, filling snack, such as fiber-rich cereal with milk, before bed, may help you sleep better. On the other hand, going to bed immediately after a big meal can interrupt sleep as well — the bloated feeling may keep you from falling asleep, and digestive upsets can wake you up later in the night. Spicy and fatty foods can trigger heartburn, another sleep disrupter. Foods that promote relaxation contain carbohydrates and protein, says the National Sleep Foundation. Nutritious examples include whole-grain toast with lean turkey or peanut butter and low-fat yogurt with fruit.

Diabetes

Diabetics can find themselves on the fence about snacks before bed. Eating the wrong thing too close to bedtime can lead to high blood sugar in the morning, but not eating anything before bed can lead to morning hypoglycemia. If you feel hungry late at night, but have eaten enough, eat a low-calorie, sugar-free snack such as gelatin or baby carrots. If you’re just feeling “snacky,” chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. These options give you flavor to satisfy your cravings while having a negligible impact on your body. For a more satisfying option, have a protein-rich food, such as cottage cheese, with a fiber-rich carbohydrate source, such as a small serving of whole-grain crackers. If you eat late at night to avoid having low blood sugar in the morning, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication to avoid this situation.

GERD and Acid Reflux

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition marked by frequent acid reflux, the American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends avoiding food for three hours before bed to allow digestion to get under way before you lie down. Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the bottom end of the esophagus doesn’t constrict properly, allowing stomach acids to rise — you experience this process as heartburn. Sitting up uses gravity to help keep the acid down, but lying down to sleep allows it to flow unrestricted, making symptoms worse. By allowing the three-hour time span between food and bed, you give your stomach time to get on with its work and settle down. By the time you recline for the night, most of the acid activity should have died down and you should experience fewer symptoms. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated also helps force the acid to fight against gravity while you sleep.

Sources : speakingtree , powerofpositivity , livestrong

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Nooredin Asghari

Nooredin Asghari

Interested in research in the field of health, Blogger in the field of health. I enjoy learning and teaching about nutrition, fitness, public health and weight loss.

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