Eleven main myths about sleep

Sleepers have a lot of holidays: March 1 was World Sleep Day, initiated by the World Mental Health Fund, and today, March 21, is another World Sleep Day - in the framework of the World Health Organization (WHO) project on sleep and health.

At a press conference on the eve of the event, according to the WHO, the Russian somnologist, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, academician of the IAS, professor Yakov Levin refuted 11 myths about sleep.

Myth one: in a dream, the brain rests. In fact, the brain works with the same tension as during wakefulness: it analyzes the events that have occurred, checks the state of internal organs and draws up possible scenarios for the development of events in the future. Thus, only the muscles are resting, but the point of sleep is not at all to give them rest. Its main function is to allow the brain to do all the work mentioned above.

The second myth: there are prophetic dreams. The professor claims that this is complete nonsense. This, by the way, is just the case when science requires sacrifice - when he recently said this on the set of a TV show, the ladies in the studio almost hammered him with hefty dream books. In fact, a person sees in a dream possible scenarios that the brain is working through. He immediately forgets most of them. How prophetic the dream turns out to be depends solely on the analytical abilities of the sleeper: “Someone already guesses from the first page of the detective who the killer is. And someone needs to read the book to the end. " Therefore, wipers rarely dream of "prophetic" dreams, and mathematicians often.

The third myth: there are people who never sleep at all. They say that there are a lot of such non-sleepers among yogis. In fact, science does not know a single such person in the entire history of observations.

The fourth myth: there are people who suddenly fall asleep and then cannot wake up for many years. If sleepers, according to myths, live somewhere in Tibet, then sleepers for 20 years live mainly in Russian villages. “People from remote villages constantly call our center to tell them that they have some grandmother who has been sleeping deeply for several years. We begin to ask - how does your grandmother go to the toilet, how does she eat? They say: "With our help." What kind of a dream is this? " - said Yakov Levin.

Myth 5: you can sleep well on weekends. In reality, an extra hour of sleep on the weekend does more harm than good. Sleeping is not very harmful, but it is even more harmful to be out of schedule. “If you don't sleep much and get up at six in the morning, then at least make sure to get up every day at this time - not earlier and not later, ” warns Levin. Sleep in advance for a few days, as well as full, will not work. The body will use up the received energy charge on the very first Sunday - you just go to bed later than usual. “A few years ago, Americans noticed that on Monday morning the number of accidents on the road was several times higher than on other days. We began to find out what was the reason. It turned out that on weekends, Americans slept longer on average by 1 hour and 20 minutes and went to bed an hour later, ”said the somnologist. Because of this, a life cycle failure occurred, health worsened and attention on the road decreased.

The sixth myth: if you work after three days, you can sleep in three days. Science has proven that if a person does not sleep for at least a single day, the body will suffer significant damage: all biochemical parameters change, including the biochemistry of the brain. These indicators are restored on the second or third day, but a complete recovery of the body still does not occur - in the United States, people were examined who, due to their work, did not sleep 24 hours a week for six months. It turned out that they are five times more likely to develop diabetes mellitus, hypertension and two dozen other diseases.

The seventh myth: that sleepwalkers walk in a dream. Say, they can go out the window instead of the door or play the piano, and some even have sex, after which they do not want to recognize children conceived in an unconscious state. All these facts are really proven by science. However, "sleepwalking" is an extremely rare phenomenon. Most sleepwalkers do not go anywhere in their sleep - they just sit on the bed and, after sitting for a while, lie down again.

Myth eight: the dreaming phase alternates with the phase when we see nothing at all. Previously, it was believed that a person sees dreams only in the rapid phase of sleep. It has now been proven that the slow phase is also accompanied by dreams. But that's why it is slow, in order to slow everything down - if in the fast phase we see a full-fledged movie, then in the slow one - pictures and photographs.

Myth Nine: All sleeping pills are harmful. Modern drugs, unlike old ones, are harmless, the professor assures. We just need not to confuse old drugs with new ones - after all, the production of outdated drugs has not been canceled either. For Russians, by the way, sleep disorder is a matter of everyday life: “We live in a country of turmoil, and we have the right to have a bad dream, ” Levin said to Yakova.

Myth ten: without sleep, a person dies on the fifth day. Indeed, if you do not let an animal, such as a rat, sleep, then on the fifth or sixth day it will die. But man is not like that. After five days, he does not die - he begins to sleep with his eyes open. “You can keep him awake, wake him up - he will walk, talk, answer your questions, do some work, but at the same time do it all in a dream, ” said the somnologist. After waking up, such a person, like a lunatic, will remember absolutely nothing.

Myth eleven: women sleep longer than men. “A huge amount of research has been carried out on this topic, ” said Yakov Levin. - Some studies have shown that women actually sleep 15-20 minutes longer than men. Other studies gave a completely opposite result - it turned out that it was men who sleep longer, and for the same 15–20 minutes. In the end, the scientists agreed that men and women have the same sleep duration. " Only pregnant women sleep longer.

At the same time, different sexes have different attitudes towards sleep. A man usually thinks he slept well; the woman, on the other hand, often declares: “Oh! I slept so badly! " However, research shows that the quality of sleep is about the same for both.

It has been proven that sanguine people sleep the longest - 8-9 hours. They are so impressionable that as soon as they watch a porn movie before going to bed or experience some other emotional shock, the duration of the REM sleep phase, during which the brain digests the information received, immediately increases. Well, melancholic people sleep least of all - they often need 6 hours to get enough sleep.