Varangkana Petchson / EyeEm

There’s almost nothing more important for the human body than sleep. According to research, our body needs sleep to feel mentally rested, recharge all of its systems, and stave off disease.

Of course, there are countless old wives’ tales on how to nod off and sleep straight through the night. Never take naps. Only sleep on your side. Drink warm milk before bed. With so many methods, how do you determine what’s true? Women’s Health chatted with Alex Dimitriu, MD, who’s double-board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine. (Just think of the rest he must get!) Keep reading to learn how to maximize your night’s sleep and kick any unhelpful habits.

The Myth: Keeping cool will help you sleep better.

True. Our body uses a process called thermoregulation (the ability to internally regulate temperature for comfort and survival) to help us get the best sleep possible. “The more we can cool off in our sleep, the deeper and more restorative sleep we get,” says Dr. Dimitriu.

Courtesy Serta Arctic

Having the right temperature is key when it comes to quality sleep. In a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 70% of respondents said having a “cool” space had the biggest impact on getting a good night’s rest. If it’s a bit more difficult for your body to thermoregulate, don’t sweat it. Some mattresses are designed to help you stay cool. The Serta Arctic mattress features exclusive Reactex® technology that provides 15x better cooling power*, and layers of premium, high density memory foam for cool, comfortable support. Add in a cooling pillow—the Serta Arctic Cooling Memory Foam Pillow has double-sided cooling technology—and you’re well on your way to a truly luxurious (and most importantly, cool) night’s sleep.

The Myth: The more sleep, the better.

False. You’ve probably heard, “You’re just not getting enough sleep.” While adults should aim for seven to nine hours each night, it is possible to sleep too much. “There is some evidence that abnormally long sleepers actually have shortened life spans,” he shares. What is abnormally long? Longer than 10 hours, according to the doc. The caveat is it’s actually healthy to sleep in when you are recovering from an illness.

The Myth: Tuning in to your circadian rhythm can mean better sleep.

True. The circadian rhythm is an internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. It repeats roughly every 24 hours. “[Our bodies get better sleep] from a predictable pattern,” says Dr. Dimitriu. Paying attention to your own internal clock will tell you when it’s time to rest—and your sleep will benefit if you listen to it.

The Myth: Hanging out in bed helps your body get ready to sleep.

False. Dr. Dimitriu recommends keeping your bedroom strictly for sleeping. “No eating, no working, no arguing, and certainly no stressing in bed,” he says. Additionally, he says to nix the screens an hour or two before bed. “Devices and overly interactive technology or discussions can be stimulating and make it harder to fall and stay asleep.”

The Myth: Sleep positions don’t matter for a good night’s rest.

False. There are many reasons why we need to mind what position we sleep in. “Sleeping positions can affect the quality of your sleep.” says Dr. Dimitriu. “At a minimum, some people with a tendency to snore or experience sleep apnea will sleep much worse on their backs than their stomachs.”

Courtesy Serta Arctic

The position you sleep in can even affect the health of your back and neck. In addition to its cooling technology, the Serta Arctic Cooling Memory Foam Pillow is five inches thick, providing head-cradling, pressure-relieving support for side and back sleepers. And since sleep positions vary per person, consider your body’s physical needs as you drift off to dreamland.

For more ways to upgrade your sleep, head to Serta.com.

*15x benefit exists while the phase change material is active. Results based on the difference in heat absorbed by Serta Arctic and Serta Perfect Sleeper Luminous Sleep mattresses while the phase change material is active.

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