Researchers at New York University tries to set the record straight about some of the most common and incorrect myths people have about sleeping.

Rebecca Robbins and her colleagues at NYU Langone scoured 8,000 sources online to collect some of the most popular beliefs regarding sleep habits.

With the help of sleep experts, the researchers then ranked these misconceptions depending on how unfounded they are and how much they can affect people's health.

Sleeping For Five Hours Or Less Is Not Healthy

One of the most interesting points of the study discusses the impact of not getting enough hours of sleep every night.

Girardin Jean-Louis, a professor at NYU Langone Health's Department of Population Health and senior study investigator, noted how many people think that it is all right for them to get less than five hours of sleep every day. He said it is the most worrisome assumption that they have found.

People need to get between seven to 10 hours of sleep daily, depending on their age. This is to help them stay mentally strong and active throughout the day ahead.

One-Third Of Americans Do Not Get Enough Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is starting to become a particular concern for many Americans. In 2014, a study by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention showed that as much as one-third of people in the United States sleep for fewer than seven hours on average each night.

When broken down per state, less than 30 percent of people in Colorado, South Dakota, and Minnesota get to sleep for fewer than seven hours. Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of those living in Hawaii and Kentucky have the same average length of sleep daily.

The CDC recorded the highest percentages among Americans living in states along the Appalachian Mountains, as well as those in the southeastern United States. The lowest percentages, on the other hand, were found in states in the Great Plains area.

Short sleep duration was most common among adults between the ages of 45 and 54 (39 percent), followed by those between 35 and 44 (38.3 percent). It was least common among 65-year-old Americans and older (26.3 percent).

Men (35.5 percent) are slightly more likely to sleep for fewer than seven hours compared to women (34.8 percent).

Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (46.3 percent) were the most susceptible to short sleep duration, followed by non-Hispanic blacks (45.8 percent), and multiracial non-Hispanics (44.3 percent).

About 33.4 percent non-Hispanic white Americans were likely to sleep for fewer than seven hours.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of the world's population are said to be sleep deprived, according to the organization World Sleep Day.

Health Risk Of Shorter Sleep Duration

In the NYU Langone study, the researchers found that sleeping for five hours or less each night increases an individual's risk for adverse health consequences. These include cardiovascular disease and even early death.

This is supported by data from an earlier study involving British civil servants. It showed that short sleep duration can lead to a nearly doubling of death risks associated with sudden illnesses.

Researchers at Harvard University published an article on its Healthy Sleep website warning people about the health risks of not getting enough sleep. Some of its long-term effects on health include chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

The article also cautioned the public about habitually sleeping for more than nine hours since it may also be a sign of poor health.

Common Myths About Sleeping

Here are other things that most people get wrong about sleeping:

  1. Falling asleep "anywhere, anytime" is okay.
  2. The brain and body can handle less sleep.
  3. Snoring is harmless.
  4. Drinking alcohol can help people fall asleep.
  5. Staying in bed with eyes closed will lead to sleep.
  6. It does not matter what time of day to sleep.
  7. Watching TV in bed helps the body prepare for sleep.
  8. There is no need to get out of bed right away.
  9. Being able to remember dreams is a sign of a good night's rest.

The findings of the NYU Langone study are featured in the journal Sleep Health.

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