Sleep Myths

Dr. Lisa Shives, medical director at Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, separates fact from fiction when it comes to getting your Z's.

"I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere, so I don't have a sleep problem."

    FALSE (People without sleep problems usually take an average of 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. Individuals who fall asleep in less than 5 minutes are likely to require some treatment for sleep disorders.)
As we get older we need less sleep.
    FALSE (We all need basically the same amount of sleep. The elderly, however, may have specialized problems that preclude them getting the sleep they need.)
Only overweight men get sleep apnea.
    FALSE (While men older 40 are most prone to developing sleep apnea, some 12 million Americans of various ages are thought to suffer from the disorder, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.)
Insomnia is just a symptom
    TRUE (Insomnia is not always a final diagnosis. It can be a symptom of Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome.)
Drinking an alcoholic beverage or having several drinks at night will help you fall asleep.
    FALSE (As a depressant that slows brain activity, alcohol may initially make you tired, but you will end up having fragmented sleep. In addition, being tired intensifies the effects of alcohol. Alcohol also aggravates snoring and sleep apnea.)
Many children are not properly diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
    TRUE (Many are instead being diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral or learning problems and put on stimulants. A significant percentage of these are thought to have an underlying sleep disorder.)

For more information on sleep visit

Dr. Shives will be speaking at The Big Sleep Show on Friday at the Rosemont Convention Center. For more information visit

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