Jan 13 / Amanda Slinger

Sleep Myths Everywhere

One of my media highlights in 2023 was an interview on The Today Show (Australia) with Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo in which we shared some laughs exploring and busting a few sleep myths.

Unpacking the true science behind sleep is something I take great pride in doing and which I thoroughly enjoy.

🔬 Partly because I’m a scientist - I’m familiar with reading and interpreting research papers.
👩‍⚕️ Partly because I’m a nurse - I care about presenting accurate health information.
🕵‍♀️ And partly, because I’m an armchair detective (you’d never want to watch a thriller or crime show with me!) - I’ll dig and dig to get to the truth.

Where do all these myths come from?

Well, sleep science is an exploding space with research labs around the world exploring everything from the link between sleep and degenerative brain disease to red light and endogenous melatonin.

There seems to be a new piece of sleep research for me to explore and unpack each week.

Empty space, drag to resize

Whilst most sleep research is quality peer-reviewed work from across the globe (with Australian universities leading the charge), there’s some not so great research using very small sample sizes, not-so rigorous controls, and without peer-review. To add to the mix are questionable interpretations of research papers by others who then go on to publish misleading articles and posts… many sleep myths are born in this environment. 

Another source of myth-making is when a new research paper is released that debunks or advances a previous research paper, yet online sources of sleep information aren’t updated to represent the new findings. So, the old truths continue to circulate and advice becomes conflicted and confusing for everyone.

The myth-creating source that annoys me the most 😠 is when an opinion or idea on something becomes a ‘popular opinion’ for all the wrong reasons… someone of influence, notoriety or fame says “it’s so”.

Empty space, drag to resize

So, as another new sleep myth is born... my phone will be ringing with another request to join Karl and Sarah on The Today Show (#notcomplaining).