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Does Counting Sheep Really Help You Sleep?: 6 Sleep Myths, Debunked.

From old wives’ tales to tips and tricks on social media, the world is full of advice for how we sleep. From tips to get a better nights sleep to apparent facts about what could or will disrupt how easily you enter the land of nod, you might find yourself wondering just how many of them are actually true. Does counting sheep really help you drift off? Are daytime naps your worst enemy for a good nights sleep? We’re digging a little deeper and debunking some of the most common sleep-related myths, below.

Counting Sheep Helps You Fall Asleep

The idea that counting sheep will help you fall asleep is one of the oldest in the book, so surely it must work? Well, the reality is that while it can help, in most cases, it doesn’t. A study conducted by Oxford University actually revealed that it appeared more likely that imagining a tranquil scene would help you fall asleep faster than counting sheep. The repetitive and monotonous motion of counting sheep jumping over a fence may not require enough mental energy to tire the brain out, whereas the act of visualising a more in-depth, tranquil scene could use more brain power and actually speed up the process of becoming tired and falling asleep.

You’ll Sleep Better On A New Mattress

Pictured: Lux Small Double4ft 1400 mattress

The truth behind this statement will ultimately depend on a few different factors, including whether your original mattress was good enough in the first place. A worn down or old mattress can cause aches, pains and general lower the quality of your sleep overall and in these cases, a new mattress could definitely improve the quality of your sleep. Similarly, if you bought the wrong mattress for your sleeping habits originally, a new one that caters for how you sleep and the levels of comfort you need could help you fall asleep faster, make you feel more rested as you wake up and reduce the risk of aches.

Alcohol Means Better Sleep

Whether you’ve done your fair share of drinking, or you’ve heard it on the grapevine, sleeping after drinking can sometimes feel like one of the deepest sleeps we’ve had. The reality is very different – while drinking a lot will make you tired and potentially knock you out faster, your sleep will often be fragmented. Even if you don’t fully wake up, alcohol can reduce the likelihood of reaching deeper levels of sleep, where dreams typically occur, and leave you feeling less rested as you wake up.

Daytime Naps Will Ruin Your Sleep

When it comes to naps, there seems to be two main types of people – those who swear by them and believe that naps are heaven-sent, and those who refuse to nap in fear of ruining their sleep. The myth at play here is that naps during the day will disrupt how well you sleep at night, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Those who suffer from insomnia may find that naps impair their sleep at night but for most of us, a nap can be as effective and as powerful as drinking two cups of coffee. A 20 minute nap alone can help give you a much-needed recharge and energy boost to get you through the rest of the day.

Cutting Out Caffeine Improves Sleep

The idea that cutting out caffeine will help you sleep better is another difficult one to prove or bust – in reality, some of us handle caffeine better than others and some will be more affected by our daily intake. The energy-boosting qualities of caffeine can lead to difficulties falling asleep at night if you’re drinking high caffeine drinks in the evenings, but a coffee in the morning or during the middle of the day is unlikely to have any huge impact on your nightly slumber. If you find that you’re struggling to drift off, cut out caffeine around 4-5 hours before you typically go to bed and see if it helps.

Warm Milk Helps You Drift Off Faster

Scientists and nutrition experts seem pretty torn on this one, but there does appear to be some truth to the theory that warm milk can help you sleep. As standard, milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan which works in our bodies to produce serotonin in the brain. Seretonin goes on to synthesise and create melatonin, which is the chemical that ultimately helps us to fall asleep. By that knowledge, milk, warmed or otherwise, should help to lull us to sleep. However, scientists also claim that the chemical make-up of milk features other amino acids that might counteract tryptophan, ultimately preventing us from ever feeling the benefits. In our opinion, it’s worth a shot to see if it works for you.

Whether you’re in need of a new bed for a better nights sleep or would like advice on where to start, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team, today.