We’re supposed to spend one third of our lives catching zzzs, so we’ve had enough experience at this point to call ourselves bona fide experts. But some of our most basic assumptions—REM sleep is the most important; if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, you’re not sleeping well; you shouldn’t sleep with the TV on—aren’t exactly true. We asked the real sleep experts to pull back the curtain on our biggest misconceptions. Get their take below.
1. You can get by on less than seven hours per night.
“Some rare people truly can, but the overwhelming majority need the proper seven to eight hours that we recommend. The initial consequences may be subtle, such as slightly delayed reaction time, increased irritability, or craving more junk food. Long term, the consequences of lack of sleep can be higher blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” — Daniel Barone, M.D., sleep medicine specialist at New York-Presbyterian
2. Waking up in the middle of the night means you’re not sleeping well.
“The truth is that we go through stages and cycles of sleep throughout the night, and it’s normal to wake u…