busting sleep myths


Busting some popular Sleep Myths! How much sleep do you think you need?

Last week I shared a blog post about Revenge Bedtime Procrastination & how you can make the most of your days so that you feel ready for bed at night. If you missed it – you can read about it here. 

Inevitably, when I talk about sleep there’s always going to be the ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, the ‘I’ll catch up on sleep later”, and the ‘but I feel fine getting 5 hours a night” folk…  Today’s email is for you! 

First – the ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ crowd… 

Listen to this Ted Talk with Mathew Walker if you need a kick in the butt (he’s always easy and enjoyable to listen to – breaking down info in a way that is easy to digest). He also starts with a great hook, “Men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more.”

They will also have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior. Lack of sleep will age a man by a decade in terms of that critical aspect of wellness. And we see equivalent impairments in female reproductive health caused by a lack of sleep.  


For the ‘I’ll catch up on my sleep debts later’ folk:

Hard truth – turns out we can’t just catch up on sleep debt 😭. 

As fave sleep expert Matthew Walker puts it, sleep is not like the bank. You can’t accumulate debt and then hope to pay it off at a later point. Studies have shown that despite the extra sleep on weekends, participants were only able to recover 25% of their sleep debt. So, snoozing on the weekend can help offset some of the negative impacts but you can never undo the fall out to your brain and body that happened from past sleep deficits. 


For the ‘but I feel fine (underslept)’ folk:

Studies show we can’t always tell we are being impacted by a lack of sleep. 

Participants who were under slept by 1-2 hours /night showed obvious decline on objective markers of cognitive performance (e.g. attention span, memory, reaction time, problem-solving ability, etc.) but felt they were performing just fine nor did they feel fatigued. 

I’ll also counter with, you just don’t know what you don’t know. If you think your energy, mood, performance, etc. is good on 6-7 hours/night, how good could you feel on a consistent 8?

Fun Fact:

A 2012 study found that watching familiar shows restores our sense of self-control. 

This may help explain those of you who feel they have to have an episode of Friends playing (for the 1000th time) in the background in order to fall asleep. 

When things feel familiar, they feel safe and secure, which is needed for sleep.

And it may help restore that sense of control we didn’t feel during the day. 

Nonetheless, try to keep screens out of the last hour before bed or at least wear those blue light blockers.

✨ STAY TUNED for my next blog where I will highlight supplements for sleep or an active mind at night, some fave sleepy time herbal teas, and a few other goodies. ✨

And finally, for some fun…

What is your favourite ‘familiar’ show?

  • Friends
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Gilmore Girls
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Office
  • Seinfeld
  • This Is Us

Share your fave in the comments below and let me know what go-to show I may have missed!

Don’t forget to grab the “Make Sleep Your Super Power” free ebook for more tips on how to get a good night’s rest. Click here to download the book. 

Sweet Dreams!

- Dr. Willow

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I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.


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Between my wait listed practice, building my Wild Collective communities, and being Mom, I don't email often, but I'm working behind the scenes to bring you major value and I'd love to be able to tell you about it when it is ready (along with some more personal shares).