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Myth-Busting Sleep Facts: What Really Helps You Sleep

There are countless theories and old-wives’ tales out there about what helps you get to sleep. We did some research to find out which theories work, and which do not. Read on to find out what really helps you sleep…

Drinking alcohol

Although alcohol may help you to drift off, the body cannot get an effective night’s sleep while processing alcohol. This is because alcohol prevents the body from going into REM sleep, meaning it does not get the benefits that REM sleep provides to the immune system or the brain. Therefore, drinking alcohol to help you sleep is not advised.

Drinking warm milk

There may be some truth in this theory. Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan which can help to produce serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is synthesized in the brain to make melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us sleep. However, there is some research that suggests that drinking milk does not have an effect on sleep as the other amino acids in the drink cancel out the effects of tryptophan. We recommend giving it a try and seeing if it works for you!

Counting Sheep

We have all heard the theory that counting sheep helps you to drift off, but is it true? Although this technique may have worked on worried sheep herders back when the story began, it is unlikely to work in the modern day. A great alternative is to practice breathing techniques such as the 7-11 rule. Breathe in for 7 seconds, pause, and then breathe out for 11. Exhaling for longer than you inhale is a proven method of putting your body into a restful and restorative state, making it easier to nod off.

Banning Caffeine

There are some theories that claim banning caffeine is a must when struggling with sleep. However, although caffeine can hinder sleep, it is not always necessary to cut it out altogether. Start by avoiding caffeinated drinks 4 – 5 hours before you plan to go to bed – this should give your body adequate time to process the caffeine before you go to sleep.

Do you know of any old wives’ tales that really do work? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!