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Myths about sleeping at night: Is sleeping naked unhygienic?

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Berlin (dpa) – As different as people are, so is the way they approach their night’s rest. Some sleep a lot, others just need a little sleep in comparison. There are many myths around the subject. Which of these is really true? A fact check on the day of the dream on March 18.

Say: If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s best not to look at the clock all the time.

Acts: It is right! If you have trouble falling asleep and you constantly look at the clock and calculate how many hours you can still sleep until you wake up, you create a stress factor. Therefore, the German Society for Sleep Research and Medicine (DGSM) advises against it.

Especially when falling asleep is difficult, you should not start with arithmetic. “The pressure of having to sleep creates a tension that can intensify the sleep disorder,” says the DGSM. He advises not to stay awake in bed, but to get up again and distract yourself if you have trouble falling asleep.

Say: Sleeping naked is unhygienic.

Acts: Not necessarily! However, anyone who sleeps naked under their covers should pay close attention to bed hygiene, explains Hans-Günter Weeß, head of the sleep laboratory at the Pfalzklinikum in Klingenmünster. “People lose one to two liters of water when they sleep. If you don’t pay attention to hygiene, all kinds of creatures like mites can form in the bed.”

Therefore, he recommends that naked sleepers change their bedding at least once a week. What clothes are ideal for when you sleep fully clothed? According to the sleep expert, it is essential “that you do not freeze or sweat, because both are stress factors and affect sleep.”

Say: You need to get enough sleep after a vaccination.

Acts: It is right! If there is lack of sleep after a vaccination, the immunization will be weaker. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in the US found that people who slept less on days they were vaccinated against hepatitis B developed poorer immune protection.

Anna Heidbreder, member of the board of directors of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine, also states: “It is true that one must actively ensure a restful and sufficient night’s sleep before and after a vaccination.”

Say: Sleeping too much can cause paralysis.

Acts: Incorrect! This phenomenon is known as sleep paralysis. This feels like paralysis and can last for several minutes, explains Weeß. The condition is frightening for those affected because they cannot estimate how long it will last.

Normally, however, one touch is enough to free the person in question. Weeß gives the thumbs up: “Sleep paralysis is partly a continuation of REM sleep while awake.” During REM sleep, when most dreams occur, people become paralyzed from harming themselves or others.

Say: Lack of sleep is not healthy, sleeping too much is not.

Acts: Incorrect! Koalas that get up late should not be taken as a role model. Because just as lack of sleep is permanently detrimental to health, according to a recommendation from the European Society for Sleep Research, it is equally useless to rest too much. Society considers adults who sleep more than nine hours to be too much.

A study conducted by the Heart Surgery Center in Athens, Greece, shows that sleeping too much can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke. However, conditions such as depression or sleep apnea can also cause you to stay in bed.

Say: Everyone needs six to eight hours of sleep.

Acts: That’s not quite right. Each person has an individual dream and therefore also an individual need for sleep. About 80 percent of people need six to eight hours of sleep a night. “Many people don’t even know how many hours of sleep they need. You wake up with the alarm clock,” explains Weeß.

That’s why his recommendation is: Don’t set an alarm when you’re on vacation and find out how many hours of sleep your body really needs. According to Techniker Krankenkasse, the general rule is: if you don’t feel sleepy during concentrated work during the day, you’ve had enough sleep.

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