50 Interesting facts about sleep

A list created by: Lee Sonogan

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“Sleep is God. Go worship.”
― Jim Butcher, Death Masks

Sleeping or just sleep is important for your physical health. Without it we would be more prone to heart and blood vessel issues. Sleep is used to heal and repair, also to refresh your mind. In more recent years the science of sleep has gotten more interesting as new information has been found and more questions/theories are discussed about the true nature of sleep.

  1. Your brain can be just as active during sleep as it is when awake
  2. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise
  3. Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep
  4. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses
  5. When applied patiently and systematically, sleep deprivation is said to be the single most effective form of coercion and torture
  6. Pain tolerance is reduced by sleep deprivation
  7. Humans spend a third of their life sleeping (25 years or more)
  8. Newborn babies sleep on average 15-16 hours in a 24 hour period.
  9. Most parents lose between 400 and 750 hours of sleep in each child’s first year.
  10. Two thirds of a cat’s life is spent asleep
  11. A snail can sleep for 3 years.
  12. Humans can survive longer without food than they can without sleep
  13. Research on sleep began only in the middle of the 20th century
  14. There are at least 84 identified sleep/wake disorders
  15. It’s thought that up to 15% of the population are sleepwalkers
  16. The REM or the Rapid Eye Movement sleep was first discovered in 1950’s
  17. Slow-wave sleep appeared about 180 million years ago. REM sleep is believed to have appeared 50 million years later. Humans most likely developed a monophasic sleep/wake pattern in the Neolithic period (10,000 B.C.).
  18. During sleep, the brain “consolidates” memories and skills, meaning that the brain strengthens, reorganizes, and restructures memories during sleep
  19. We usually spend more than two hours each night dreaming. We dream at least four to six times a night
  20. Gamers are more likely be able to control their dreams
  21. Upon five minutes of waking, 50% of a dream is forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% of it is forgotten
  22. Sleep experts have discovered a direct link between people’s favourite sleeping positions and their personalities
  23. Creative person sleep more but not as well.
  24. Drinking coffee before bed delays your internal body clock by 40 minutes.
  25. Sleeping under a weighted blanket can improve your sleep and has even been proven to help those who suffer from insomnia and anxiety.
  26. Believing you’ve sleep well, even if you haven’t, is believed to improve performance.
  27. Cool your room down to between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit for the best quality sleep.
  28. Having a regular massage is shown to improve sleep.
  29. Yoga is proven to help you improve sleep.
  30. Meditation has been shown to improve sleep.
  31. Relaxing classical music has been proven to help you fall to sleep.
  32. Research shoes you will sleep better during a new moon and worse during a full moon
  33. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even knowing it.
  34. One in five adults fail to get enough sleep.
  35. Mild snoring is nearly universal – almost everyone is likely to snore at one time or another.
  36. Light exposure, even just to the glowing numbers on an alarm clock can cause sleep disturbance even if it doesn’t wake you up.
  37. The average person wakes up about six times per night.
  38. Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.
  39. Scientists have determined that counting sheep is ineffective for putting oneself to sleep. Evidently it is too boring and imagining a calming landscape generally works much better.
  40. An experiment in 1998 found that a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.
  41. Before alarm clocks were invented, there were “knocker-ups” who went tapping on client’s windows with long sticks until they were awake.
  42. It’s impossible to sneeze while sleeping.
  43. We lose over a pound of weight during sleep by exhaling.
  44. The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.
  45. Falling Half-Asleep Is a Real Thing
  46. Sleep sex and eating are real problems
  47. Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs. 12%).
  48. Sleeping directly after learning something new will improve your ability to remember it effectively.
  49. Over the course of your life, it’s likely that you’ve taken a nap of 3-30 seconds without even realising it. These are generally referred to as ‘microsleeps’, and often, they take place while your eyes are open.
  50. Most of what is known about sleep now has been learnt in the last 30 years

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

All information on this list was based on science and studies of sleep. I heard an interesting theory about dreaming in REM sleep. Memories of a dream are usually forgotten but, are they still there? What if you still have those dream memories and just do not know how to access them. Then what if the dreams locked in your mind are secretly influencing your thoughts and actions and you do not even know it?

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