Don't hit the snooze button on the facts: New study dispels sleep myths

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Many of us know good sleep can be hard to get. But a new study says some of our ideas about sleep are all wrong.

We asked some locals how many hours of snooze they get in each day. Danielle Erdmann, a Fargo mom of three kids says she gets whatever she can.

"It might be five hours of sleep, some nights it might be eight or nine," she said.

Many of us know five hours of sleep isn't great. The National Institutes of Health says lacking in good sleep can lead to anything from heart disease to diabetes.

But did you know: too much sleep can also cause problems?

Researchers at NYU Langone Health pored over thousands of websites to dispel some common sleep myths—one being, you can never have too much sleep.

Ben Enney, a sales manager at Fargo's Comfort King, literally makes good sleep his business.

"Too much sleep can be just as counterproductive as not enough," he said.

And what about snoring? Not so harmless, says the study.

The locals we interviewed say they don’t snore—but their spouses do.

"My husband does...he tells me I do, but I don't believe him," Erdmann said.

"She snores,” mattress shopper, Tom Junkert, said. “But to my knowledge she hasn't said anything about me snoring at night."

According to the Mayo Clinic, snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea—where breathing stops and starts.

And then there’s the snooze button.

"It's my favorite button," Erdmann said.

But the study says contrary to popular belief, it shouldn't be.

"When you wake up and come out of your REM sleep, if you go back into it, it basically starts you over again...they keep trying to restart that REM sleep," Enney said.

One might think remembering your dream is a sign of restful sleep—but the study says the opposite. The idea being you should sleep long and deep enough that you don't wake up until that dream is a distant memory.

And how about training yourself to sleep less?

"I suppose I could if I needed to," Junkert said.

"As life has it, I have children and so I have to get up,” Erdmann said. “So I would go quite a bit of time, multiple days where I would just sleep three, four hours."

The Fargo mom of three says she doesn't think she trained herself to sleep less, so much as just overmedicated with caffeine. According to the study, that's because training yourself to sleep less is not actually a thing.

“And then there would be a couple days where I would just crash and sleep for lots and lots of hours," Erdmann said.

And one more myth? Staying in bed to try to fall asleep. Experts say if you find yourself wide awake in bed for more than 15 minutes you should get up and do some restful activity. Otherwise, you could associate your bed with insomnia.