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40 Unique Sleep Facts We Bet You Didn't Know

Sleep facts to stop counting sheep

Just how much do you know about sleep? We spend roughly a third of our lives catching zzz's. That's approximately 25 years! Scientists and researchers all across the globe are continuing to learn more and more about sleep every day, providing us with many interesting facts.

We all need to sleep. We all crave sleep. And yet many of us don't get enough of it! We hope you're well rested because you'll want to stay tuned.

Here are 40 unique sleep facts we bet you didn't know:

  1. Most parents lose between 400-750 hours of sleep in each child's first year, which is about 44 days. It's no wonder new parents are so tired all the time!
  2. For the average person, it takes about 10-15 minutes to fall asleep at night. If you fall asleep faster than that, you're likely overtired and sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation affects many parts of your life, so be sure to evaluate your sleep patterns.
  3. There are many stages of sleep, but we don't always progress through them in order while we're sleeping. Most people move from stage 1 to stage 4, and then bounce back and forth between the others throughout the night.
  4. REM sleep or rapid eye movement wasn't discovered by doctors until the 1950s. This discovery was a huge leap forward in sleep science.
  5. Newborn babies spend 65% of their sleep time in REM sleep.
  6. Some sleep pills and sleep aids suppress REM sleep over time. It can be very unhealthy, so it's best not to use sleeping pills for an extended period.
  7. Any dreams we have during REM are extremely different than those we have during non-REM sleep. REM dreams are way more vivid since brain activity is heightened.
  8. Scientists have yet to be able to prove if animals dream or not. However, scientists discovered that they have very similar sleeping patterns as humans do.
  9. Snoring only occurs in non-REM sleep.
  10. Humans can take short "cat naps" with their eyes open and maintain perfect balance. Therefore, only doctors or a medical professional can 100% tell if someone is awake or asleep. (Crazy right?)
  11. Sneezing while asleep is impossible.
  12. Leonardo da Vinci used 15-minute power naps and slept for just 15 minutes every 4 hours.
  13. The record for the most prolonged period without sleep is 11 days by a California student named Randy Gardner in 1964. He experienced extreme sleep deprivation including symptoms such as hallucinations, slurred speech, blurred vision, paranoia, and memory loss. Others have died staying awake this long.
  14. No one knows why we dream or what purpose they have. There are several theories such as helping our memory to sort through daily experiences, to clean out unneeded information, or to live out fantasies. We may never be fully confident why we dream.
  15. Sleep deprivation symptoms start setting in after you've been awake for 17 hours. The symptoms of sleep deprivation are very similar to those who have a blood-alcohol level of .05%.
  16. Any noises you hear at night in the early hours and last few hours of sleeping can negatively impact your immune system, regardless of if they wake you up or not.
  17. Any amount of light exposure can cause sleep disturbances without you even realizing it. (Yes, even those tiny glowing numbers on your alarm clock.)
  18. For your body to fall asleep, your body temperature has to decrease a small amount. If the temperature in your room is too hot, this can keep your body temperature from reducing, resulting in not being able to fall asleep. The next time you can't sleep, turn the thermostat down a few notches or wear lighter clothing.
  19. Only 12% of people dream entirely in black and white, and only 15% of people regularly sleepwalk.
  20. Hypnic jerks are the sensation you have when you're half asleep, falling, and jerking yourself awake as you land.
  21. Diabetes, heart disease and obesity all have been linked to sleep deprivation.
  22. Sleep experts have found a direct link between people's favorite sleeping positions and their personalities.
  23. 50% of your dreams are forgotten after just five minutes of waking up. After another five minutes, 90% of our recollection is gone.
  24. The majority of our dreams are entirely silent and entirely image based.
  25. 4.7% of drivers have admitted to nodding off while driving their cars, and that's just the number of people who've accepted it.
  26. Driving sleep-deprived is more dangerous than drunk driving.
  27. Gamers are way more likely to be able to control their dreams.
  28. Believe it or not, we grow about 8mm every night while we're sleeping. It's because our cartilage discs are squeezed (like a sponge) by gravity during the daytime when we're standing or sitting. When we wake up, we shrink back down to our previous size.
  29. A giraffe only needs 1.9 hours of sleep per day, compared to Koalas who need 22 hours per day.
  30. A quick 6-minute nap every day can improve your memory significantly.
  31. Two-thirds of a cat's life is spent sleeping! This should come as no surprise to cat lovers.
  32. Have you ever woken up on a workday precisely at 6:29 am, and then your alarm goes off a minute later at 6:30 am? It's known as your "natural alarm clock." It enables people to wake up when they want or need to unconsciously. It's caused by a burst of the stress hormone called adrenocorticotropin. Researchers say its due to the anticipated stress of knowing they have to wake up by a particular time.
  33. Researchers in Britain developed a pair of glasses that can reset a person's body clock. It does so by projecting a ring of bright light into the eye that simulates the sunrise. These glasses are used by soldiers who need to stay alert. They allow someone to go without sleep for up to 36 hours, without experiencing any adverse side effects of sleep deprivation.
  34. Women need an extra hour of sleep more than men do.
  35. Pain tolerance is significantly reduced by sleep deprivation.
  36. The healthiest sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  37. After five nights of partial sleep deprivation, three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six do when you've had enough sleep.
  38. "Pulling an all-nighter" reduces your ability to remember any new facts by 40%.
  39. Sleep deprivation will kill you way faster than food deprivation. Neither is right for you, but sleep is way more important in the short run.
  40. When adults are sleep deprived, they get sleepy. When children are sleep deprived they become the opposite, hyperactive. Lack of sleep in kids can also result in ADHD behaviors.

We hope you've enjoyed our list of unique and exciting sleep facts. Getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy life. So make sure you're getting at least seven to nine hours of quality zzz's every night!

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