Sleep is the one thing we all have in common—some of us do it more than others. But most of us sleep a third of our lives away. Infants get roughly 16 hours of sleep, teens need nine hours and as adults, we need seven to nine hours each night. Scientists thought this nightly ritual to be somewhat of a mystery—at least until 25 years ago.
So today, we thought we'd explore some fun facts about how to get a good night’s sleep that you're sure to find interesting. Some may even surprise you!
What You Didn't Know About Sleep
- You suffer from sleep deprivation if it takes you five minutes or less to go to sleep. It should actually take you 10-15 minutes to fall asleep.
- The National Sleep Foundation reports that no more than 15% of our society are sleepwalkers. Interestingly, the idea that you shouldn't awaken a sleepwalker is false; it may be very dangerous for the sleepwalker if you don't wake them.
- Have you ever wondered why you're not as peppy after lunch? It's because there are two times a day you're at your sleepiest: 2:00 am and 2:00 pm.
- If you're a new parent, be prepared to lose 400-750 hours of sleep within the baby's first year. Yikes!
- There are people who suffer from parasomnia. This is when the person makes abnormal movements while they're sleeping; some even sleep drive or commit a crime.
- No other mammal besides humans readily prolongs sleep.
- Do you find it difficult to crawl out of bed every morning? You have dysania. It's a very real condition that's telling you there's an underlying problem such as depression, a nutrition deficiency or it might be a type of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- According to a study, prior to the invention of color TV, only 15% of humans dreamt in color; now, over 75% of us do. Curiously, though, seniors tend to dream in black and white.
- It's common for a deaf person to use sign language while they're sleeping.
- In the 1600s, it was common for people to get up in the middle of the night. Back then people would sleep in two parts with one or two hours in between for doing things. They would socialize, read, be intimate or pray.
- Have you ever been half asleep and felt like you were falling and jerked yourself awake? There's a name for that—hypnic jerks and they won't cause you any harm. No one knows why they happen but it could happen more frequently if you have a caffeinated drink, are anxious or do a workout before bed.
- In Japan, finding an employee asleep at their job isn't as much of an issue as it is in the states. Why? Businesses view it as a sign of fatigue from being overworked.
- Denying yourself of food won't kill you as fast as depriving yourself of sleep. Clearly, depriving yourself of either of these isn't good for you; but sleep is more vital of the two.
- If you're mourning the loss of a loved one or friend, chances are you'll suffer insomnia. This normal stage of grief will be interrupted if you ingest a sleeping pill.
- One of the largest disturbances of our sleep is the 24-hour internet.
- Why are you always tired on a Monday morning? It's due to your changed sleeping schedule on the weekends and there's actually a name for it: social jet lag.
- There are many causes of insomnia: mental or physical illness, family history, exercise routine (or lack thereof), stress, shift work, sleeping/living arrangements, and diet.
- People who are blind at birth don't see their dreams; but rather dream in sound, touch, smell, and emotions. Of course, if the person goes blind later in life, that may change what they dream about.
- If your blood alcohol level is .05% your alertness and performance are lowered. But did you know those things are also decreased if you stay awake for a solid 16 hours?
- Five minutes after you wake up, half of your dream is forgotten; ten minutes after you've awakened, you won't remember 90% of your dream.
- A few centuries ago in English factory towns, it was a job of one person to go around and knock on everyone's windows to awaken them for work.
- Getting half the amount of needed sleep greatly lowers your pain tolerance.
- Most people think insomnia means the loss of sleep every night. But really insomnia is the inability to concentrate, irritability, drowsiness, headaches and other issues you suffer from the following day.
- It has been established through research that when you have a nightmare, fear isn't the major emotion. It's likely to be confusion, sadness or guilt.
- To help with digestion, it's best to sleep on your stomach with your hands above your pillow. Are you suffering from heartburn? Try sleeping on your left side.
- When you rent a car, some companies have a statement in their contract requiring you to vow that you won't drive their car on less than six hours of sleep.
- It was always believed by scientists that we only had dreams during REM sleep. However, research now shows that we might dream the whole time we're sleeping. Yet there's a big difference in dreams during non-REM sleep and REM sleep.
- Performing a workout routine before going to bed or periodically might keep you awake. Yet a regular workout can enhance your sleep.
- If you deprive yourself of sleep you could wind up being hungry. Why? Levels of the appetite-controlling hormone called leptin will decrease.
- In 1953, Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman and Dr. Eugene Aserinsky made the huge discovery of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep; thus, propelling sleep science onward.
Bonus: Animal Sleep Facts
- Due to their underbite and short snout, the English bulldog is the only dog to be afflicted with a breathing disorder called sleep apnea.
- Elephants lay down while in REM sleep and stand up during non-REM sleep.
- As they sleep, sea otters clasp hands so they won't drift apart. Aww, how sweet!
- One side of a dolphin's and whale's brain goes to sleep as the other side stays awake. This is so they can come to the surface for air.
Nest Bedding is Ahead of the Curve
Scientists may not yet understand a dream's purpose or why we dream—and may never figure it out. Perhaps it's to sort out our day's experiences and store them, aid our memory or just unload the unneeded "garbage" of the day from our tired brains. In any case, sleep scientists are learning more each day about sleep, getting closer to solving the mystery of sleep itself.
As long as scientists keep exploring it, we'll keep giving you a good night's sleep. So rest easy. Of course, having the right mattress will help you get a good night's sleep. Please contact us for more information.