Facts About Sleep

1. Myth: Everyone needs 8 hours of sleep.

Fact: Eight hours is only the average. Sleep needs range from 3 hours to over 10 hours. Think back to before you developed insomnia. How much sleep did you need to feel refreshed and rested at that time (fill in amount here: ______hours)? This number will be close to the amount of sleep you need.

2. Myth: Lack of sleep may have serious consequences on your health.

Fact: There is no evidence that anyone has every died from lack of sleep. Excessive worry about insomnia may be more detrimental to your health than loss of sleep.

3. Myth: When I have trouble sleeping I should stay in bed and try harder.

Fact: The harder you try to produce sleep at will, the less likely you are to succeed.

4. Myth: Sleeping pills are an effective way to manage a long term sleep problem.

Fact: Sleeping pills may actually perpetuate sleeping problems.

5. Myth: Sleep needs and quality of sleep stay the same throughout one’s life.

Fact: As we age total time in bed increases, but total sleep time decreases. With age arousals during sleep increase. Deep sleep decreases and light sleep increases with age. Many seniors sleep in two or four hour episodes rather than one consolidated sleep period. Sleep problems in seniors are often related to other medical problems or medications used for these problems. However, the sleep of seniors can often be improved with treatment.

6. Myth: Insomnia is a rare problem.

Fact: Insomnia is a widespread problem affecting nearly everyone at some point in their lives. It is perhaps the most frequent health complaint after pain. Nine to ten percent of the population report chronic insomnia.