Every human being has one thing in common – sleep. In fact, this is one thing that all life forms have in common. Possibly because it is so common that we do not really think of it much but we should. We often think that we have overslept and that we have wasted much of time but that’s not true! Without sleep we cannot function properly. All of us need a minimum amount of sleep but this ‘minimum’ can differ from person to person and it is also different when compared to animals. Let us learn 40 interesting sleep facts and we are pretty damn sure that you will be surprised. Ready?
Interesting Sleep Facts: 1-10
1. Any human being spends 1/3rd of his/her lifetime sleeping. So, if a person lives for 75 years, he or she spends 25 years sleeping.
2. Lighting up a bright light right behind the knees can actually reset the sleep-wake clock of a person’s brain. This was shown in an experiment conducted in 1998.
3. People think that sleeping can led to weight gain. On the contrary, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain of 0.9 kilograms or 2 pounds in just under 1 week.
4. No one can ever sneeze while sleeping.
5. In Japan sleeping at work is not punishable. In fact it is very much acceptable and employers look upon it as exhaustion caused by hard work.
6. Ever found it difficult to get out of bed in morning? Many people face this problem and there is a medical term for this. It is known as Dysania.
7. In a study it was found that people sleep well during New Moon and poor sleep during Full Moon.
8. If you just believe that you have slept well even if you really didn’t do that, it can help to improve your performance at work.
9. More calories are burned while sleeping that while watching TV.
10. Nightmares while sleeping can be caused by beta blockers, migraines, sleep deprivation and even heart conditions.
Interesting Sleep Facts: 11-20
11. Sleep deprivation actually affects brain and leads to slow reaction and impaired judgment.
12. Babies sleep more. A study found out that the brains of babies utilize up to 50% of the glucose in their bodies, which is actually why they need more sleep.
13. Humans are only mammals on this planet that willingly delay their sleep.
14. On an average, a healthy human adult requires 7-9 hours of good sleep to perform optimally. Some can actually perform optimally with just 6 hours of sleep. On the other hand, some people will require at least 10 hours of sleep for optimal performance.
15. Lack of sleep leads to lack of appetite because the levels of leptin – a hormone responsible for regulating appetite falls.
16. At night if you fall asleep in 10-15 minutes after going to bed then you are not deprived of sleep but if you fall asleep in less than 5 minutes, then you are sleep deprived.
17. In 1965, Randy Gardner went without sleeping for 11 days straight. That was a world record but there is a controversy regarding this. Some people believe that it was Toimi Soini from Finland who managed to pull 11 days and 12 hours.
18. Only a close medical supervision can tell whether a person is really sleeping or not because some people can sleep with their eyes open without even realizing that they do so.
19. Many people find it difficult to wake up in Monday mornings. This is caused by what is known as Social Jet Lag caused by altered sleeping schedules during the weekends.
20. A person can feel tired because of a number of reasons but at 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM people naturally feel tired even if they don’t do anything that can lead to physical or mental tiredness. This is why people usually feel like taking a nap after lunch.
Interesting Sleep Facts: 21-30
21. Scientists believe that 15% of people are sleepwalkers.
22. It is believed that sleep deprivation is one of the major contributing factors to some of world’s major disasters like Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Challenger Space Shuttle etc.
23. Finding it difficult to fall asleep is not the only indicator for insomnia. Unable to fall back asleep after waking up too early, waking up tired, frequently waking up between sleep are all indicators of insomnia.
24. Our brain never rests when we sleep. In fact the brain maintains the vital functions of the body such as breathing. It also gets recharged while we sleep and our body rests.
25. According to World Health Organization, shift work in which normal sleep routines go haywire can potentially cause cancer. In fact shift work has been classified as IARC 2A carcinogen.
26. Sleep debt (missing out on a few hours of sleep every night) grows pretty quickly but one can actually catch up on it by sleep extra hours later.
27. If you stay awake for 16 hours straight, your performance falls as much as it falls when the blood-alcohol level in your body is 0.5%.
28. In 17th century, people used to wake up in the middle of the night and spend an hour or two either reading, praying, love making (sex) or socializing. After that, they would go back to sleep!
29. Memories that we make during the day get strengthened when we sleep however, for this to happen, continuous sleep is necessary.
30. Sleep deprived people get too optimistic. Sounds good right? Wrong! Sleep deprivation make people neglect negative consequences and reduces alertness which always ends up in a bad way.
Interesting Sleep Facts: 31-40
31. In a sleep deprived state, you can go on functioning normally for some time but once you lose your focus, you will find it difficult to get back on track.
32. Humans are probably the only species on planet Earth that cannot shut down half of the brain while sleeping and use the other half to stay alert. Dolphins are known for doing this. There are other animals who can do this too for instance ducks!
33. Our internal body clock is designed to be the way it is and no matter how much we try we cannot alter it dramatically. So, if you are a night owl, you will probably stay that for the rest of your life. This happens because of a protein that lives in our cells and prevents us from altering our body clocks dramatically.
34. It is not really necessary to have 8 hours of continuous nap. You can actually have two naps a day and that’s perfectly fine.
35. Blind people have more trouble with sleep than those who can see. This is because blind people are unable to make out the difference between daylight and night. Daylight is very important for maintaining circadian rhythm. Nearly half of all blind people suffer from this disorder which is known as ‘non-24 hour sleep-wake disorder’.
36. In WWI, a man from Hungary got shot in his frontal lobe as a result of which he failed to sleep ever again. Thus, he spend a sleepless life for the rest of his life.
37. David Atchison became the President of United States for 1 day in 1849 and he spent most of that day sleeping!
38. A study showed that in adolescents both daytime functioning and sleep improve if the school starts at later hours. This is because adolescents are late risers but unfortunately, most of the schools have early morning hours, which is why many adolescents feel sleepy and tired at school.
39. There are many Tibetan monks who are known for sleeping upright.
40. Parents of newborns lose 6 months of sleep in the first 2 years of the lives of their children. So see, our parents sacrifice a lot for us…even their sleep!