Bed with a book and cup of coffee sitting on top of it

Old wives' tales about sleep

February 16, 2021

Author: Josie Sivigny

Sleep is a complicated subject, so it’s not surprising that it’s generated its fair share of old wives’ tales. Of course, like anything, slumber do’s and don’ts are pretty personal, but that hasn’t stopped most of us from buying into the questionable advice that’s been passed down through the generations.

So, if you’re like me and treat these tales as truths, (still afraid to jump into the pool within 30 minutes of eating, anyone?) it might be necessary to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to these generational sleep suggestions.

Top view of a charcuterie board along with a bottle and glass of red wine

You’re more likely to have a nightmare if you eat cheese before bed.

Quite possibly the most bizarre tale of them all, it seems like there might be some truth to this. Here’s the logic: cheese can trigger indigestion, which can interrupt sleep, which can lead to… you guessed it, nightmares.

And not to get too dark, but in rare cases, when mixed with specific medications, a rare phenomenon called the “cheese reaction” can cause an acute attack of hypertension. Now that sounds like a true nightmare, asleep or not.

Man and woman sleeping in bed holding hands

You swallow eight spiders a year while sleeping.

Just thinking about this is probably enough to keep you from ever falling asleep again, but there’s great news—the likelihood of this being a true claim is basically non-existent. It turns out the old adage “they’re more scared of you than you are of them” is the strongest case for negating this old wives’ tale.

It also seems unlikely thanks to the fact you’re probably breathing out or exhaling with some force, so unless we’re talking tarantulas (don’t let yourself even think about this) a spider probably couldn’t even get close to climbing in. Comforting.

Two women laying on their backs with cucumbers on their eyes

You need your “beauty sleep”.

Next time someone tells you that you sleep too much, let them know it’s all thanks to this tale, which is more or less true. It’s pretty easy to understand why—sleep allows your body the time it needs to regenerate. From cortisol to collagen, many of the elements you need to look and feel your best get to work while you’re collecting zzz’s.

It sounds like Sleeping Beauty was really onto something here.

No matter what you believe when you lay your head down at night, there’s one thing that’s indisputable: a great mattress can contribute to a great night’s sleep… even if you did happen to order the cheese plate for dessert.

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