There’s one thing we share in common as a world population…we all need sleep. Except Elon Musk apparently. But everyone else needs it. In fact, most of us love it. But that’s about all we share. Check out these crazy sleep facts to learn more about just how wildly diverse sleep can be.
General Sleep Facts
We are the only mammals that delay sleep
Need to get caught up on work? Busy social life? We often put of getting rest, so we can do more during the day. Other mammals, on the other hand, sleep when they get tired. Imagine that…and we think humans are so smart. One of the main reason for excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation. Makes sense to me.
You can live without food longer than you can live with out sleep
We can live for 3-4 weeks or even more without food. But according to the Harvard Business review, after a week without sleep we’d be almost completely able to function. Of course, there are exceptions. Having troubles getting good sleep, here are 6 tips to get you better sleep tonight.
The record for staying awake the longest is 11 days
A Californian named Randy Gardner achieved this record in 1964. That’s 264 hours – without coffee or any other stimulants. We don’t recommend trying to beat this one. In addition to the harmful effects of extreme seep deprivation, there have been reports of death as a result of attempting to stay awake this long. So go to bed!
We spend around 1/3 of our life sleeping
Based on the average 75 year lifespan, that’s 25 years. 9,125 days! Or 219,000 hours. Remember the movie Ben-Hur? It was 3 hours 32 minutes. In the time you spend sleeping, you could watch it almost 62,000 times. Of course, we don’t recommend this.
Like to sleep high?
No, not that kind of high. We’re talking about high altitude. It sure won’t help your sleep. The lower levels of oxygen affect your breathing, which in turn disturbs your sleep. If you have to sleep at high altitude, you can expect your body to acclimate in about 2-3 weeks, so then you might get some decent shuteye. And if you’re a regular flyer, you could be at even greater risk of sleep deprivation. So don’t think you can catch up on your shut eye while you fly.
Ever felt a sudden jolt wake you up?
You’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to be suddenly awoken by the feeling of falling. It usually happens just as you’re falling asleep. It’s known as an agogic or myoclonic jerk. It’s a completely involuntary jerk which abruptly wakes you up. Common causes are anxiety, caffeine and physical activity before bedtime It’s also more common with people that have irregular sleep schedules, so get your sleep!
Here’s a sign you might be deaf
It’s not uncommon for the hearing impaired to use sign language in their sleep. People with deaf sleep partners have reported seeing them use sign language in their sleep. If it’s as crazy as some of the things I’ve heard my partner say while sleeping, I’d love to hear it…or see it, rather.
Blind people have dreams that are out of sight
People born without sight have vivid dreams that focus on taste, touch and smell. Those that lose their vision after the age of 5 will continue having visual dreams, but the frequency and clarity of the dreams will decrease over time.
Mellow out with Melatonin
Studies have shown that melatonin can help you fall asleep fast meaning longer, possibly deeper, sleep. Check out these other useful sleep aids, so you can get better rest and feel more energized during your day.
Poor sleep can increase your appetite
If you don’t get good, regular sleep it affects your body. Lack of sleep decreases leptin and increases gherlin levels in your body. Leptin and gherlin are hormones that regulates your appetite. So the less sleep you get, the more hungry you will feel. Your cravings for fatty, high calorie foods can increase by as much as 45%. This all leads to overeating and eating the wrongs foods which in turn leads to weight gain. The good news – if you’re getting enough rest, you won’t feel so hungry which will help you maintain your weight or maybe lose a couple of pounds. Heck, I’m going to start sleeping 18 hours a day. Skinny Town – population of 1 here I come.
Hate getting out of bed in the morning?
Dysania, also known as clinomania, causes sufferers to find it almost unbearable to get out of bed in the morning. Now, most of us don’t like getting up in the morning, but people that suffer from this REALLY don’t like it. Depression and anxiety can cause this, so if you think you suffer from dysania, talk to your doctor. But if you’re like me and just crave the coziness of your warm bed, quit hitting the snooze button and get up. It’s time to face the day.
You can’t be Sleepy. And Sneezy.
Or Doc. Those are the Seven Dwarfs. But you also can’t sneeze while you’re asleep. There’s always exceptions, but typically we don’t breathe in enough air to irritate the nasal mucosa, which is responsible for us sneezing. When we sleep, our brain doesn’t typically process the urge to sneeze, and if it does, we wake up first and then sneeze. Gesundheit!
Talking a walk in your sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 15% of the population sleepwalk. While it can be harmless, you may want to wake up your partner if you find them wandering the house in a sleepy haze. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to wake up someone that is sleepwalking.
Married couples do it in separate beds
Face it – sleeping with someone in your bed can be tough. The kicking, tossing, turning and stealing the sheets…it can make for a rough night. Surveys have shown that 1 in 4 married couple actually sleep in separate beds. Can you say, “I Love Lucy?”
Sleep you way to the Big “O”
Apparently, some Dutch researchers did a study and found that sleeping with your socks on can increase your ability to reach orgasm. Talk about sleep that’ll knock your socks off.
Sleeping in the nude can be a liberating experience. About 8% of Americans sleep this way. While about 30% of of people in the UK choose to forgo clothing. In a recent poll, 2/3’s of Millennials stated that they preferred sleeping without clothes. Add bonus – those sleeping in the nude reported more active sex lives and getting better sleep than those who chose PJ’s.
Believe in yourself. Believe in better sleep.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology concluded that people who told themselves that they slept well performed most positively on tests. Even if they hadn’t slept well.
Sleeping on your stomach can aid with digestion. Your hands should be outstretched – sort of a modified-free fall position. Laying on your left side is said to reduce heartburn and lower blood pressure while you sleep.
Japanese employees sleep on the job
Many Japanese companies encourage their employees to take naps during regular breaks, which has improved productivity. Studies have shown that taking a nap can help improve your brain function and work rate. In addition to a good night’s sleep, naps are a great way to boost your energy and relax your brain.
NASA, we have a sleep problem.
According to NASA, the perfect nap should last 26 minutes. Your ideal nap length may vary. While some people don’t need them, others find it mandatory in order to make it through the day. Teenagers, on the other hand, nap most likely because they don’t get enough sleep at night. Party animals.
Sleep your way to jail in North Dakota
Well, maybe not jail, but apparently it’s against the law to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on in the 39th state in the Union.
POTUS – President of the United Sleep
David Atchison allegedly became President of the United States for one day – March 4, 1849. While the exact details are a little shaky, at best, it was said that “President” Atchison spent the majority of his big day in bed…sleeping. Over-achiever.
Go to bed. Get your grow on.
It’s not uncommon to grow in your sleep. Well, actually the pressure on your discs in your vertebrae releases allowing them to expand slightly. Once you get out of bed, gravity takes over, and they re-compress. So looks like you can’t get rid of those lifts anytime soon.
Wanna get knocked up?
Long before alarm clocks were invented, there were people who would go around knocking on doors and windows to ensure people got up – typically for work. They were known as “knocker-ups.” Think about it…they actually got paid to knock people up. Now, that’s a job.
Forget eyes wide shut
Some people actually sleep with their eyes open. It’s not common, but about 10% of the population sleeps this way. Whether fully or partially open, they are actually asleep. I think this is why I could never get away with anything with my parents. Not only did they have eyes in the back of their heads, they slept with their eyes open. Probably best.
Early to bed, early to rise until you make enough money to do otherwise
Early risers, or morning people, are more likely to be successful. Now, I’m sure some of you will disagree, but I’m speaking in general terms. So bear with me. Morning people tend to procrastinate less. In addition, they tend to have better moods and be happier. Typically, they’re also more proactive. All of this adds up to success in the business arena, as well as life in general.
Sleep Position Facts
How you sleep says a lot about your personality
Your sleep position may reveal more than you’d think…or want. For example, those that sleep in the fetal position are likely to be very sensitive people. People that sleep on their backs are usually quiet, reserved and have high expectations for themselves. Side sleeps are typically more relaxed and social. Learn more about what your sleep position says about you.
Same side. Different night.
Research shows that around 40% of Americans sleep on the same side of the bed each night. Guess we’re just creatures of habit.
Gen Xers and Millennials are free-falling
Reports show that many of them say this is the most comfortable position to sleep in. That’s right. Legs and arms outstretched. Talk about bed hogs.
Assume the fetal position
In Great Britain, approximately 41% of the people sleep in the fetal position. While in the US, 47% of people sleep this way. Of these, women are more likely to assume the fetal position than men.
Least favorite sleep position
According to research, the log position is the least popular sleep position. I can’t imagine why…who wouldn’t want to sleep on their side with their arms down? It makes me feel vulnerable just thinking about it.
Best sleeping position
Although most of us move from one sleep position to another while we sleep, the healthiest sleep position is said to be on your back. While you may feel “vulnerable” on your back, it is the best for your neck, back and spine, keeping them in a neutral alignment.
Not Getting Enough Sleep?
Falling asleep quickly is a bad sign
If you’re asleep within 5 minutes of your head hitting the pillow, you may be sleep deprived or be suffering from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Professionals say it should take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. If it takes you even longer to fall asleep, you may have somniphobia – a fear of sleep. Regardless, if you can’t seem to get to sleep, you may want to see a health professional who can help you get some much needed shuteye.
Don’t lose sleep because of snoring
The main cause of sleep deprivation (besides not sleeping) is snoring. Approximately 90 million Americans have their sleep disrupted due to snoring. 37 million snore on a regular basis. While this is no good for your health, it may also be a sign that you have sleep apnea. There are some great anti-snoring devices on the market, but if you think you have sleep apnea, see a medical professional.
Trouble sleeping? It could be all in your head.
Lack of sleep can make a huge impact on your overall mental health and wellbeing. And visa versa. Over half of Americans either don’t get quality sleep or lose sleep due to stress, depression and anxiety. And if you don’t get good, quality sleep it can lead to anger, sadness and additional stress. Talk about a vicious cycle.
You’re not drunk. You’re just tired.
Just one night of sleeplessness can impair your brain and its functions the same way alcohol does. Losing sleep can also affect your ability to process and store memories or events that occurred during the day. People who suffered from lack of sleep scored lower on tests of working memory (short-term memory). So try clocking more sack time.
Not getting enough sleep is a real pain
A 2009 study concluded that otherwise healthy individuals who were sleep deprived suffered from hyperalgesia, an increased sensitivity to pain. So not getting enough sleep really does hurt you the next day.
You could be killing yourself in your sleep
Studies have shown the sleep deprivation is a major contributor to major health issues, such as asthma, cancer and diabetes. In fact, just sleeping less than 7 hours per night could increase your risk and make you 12& more likely to die prematurely. In addition, weight gain, depression and an impaired immune system have also been reported. To learn more about the potential dangers and solutions to the age old problem of getting better sleep.
If you’re pro-sleep, be pro-active
In a survey of healthcare professional, 60% stated that they didn’t have an adequate amount of time to discuss issues with patients suffering from insomnia. 82% said it was the responsibility of the patient, as well as the care provider, to bring up insomnia symptoms during regular visits. Be aware that the likelihood of having insomnia increases with age. However, most times the insomnia is directly related to an underlying medical condition.
Driving tired is no accident
We’ve already talked about how being tired is similar to being drunk, and that can make an even bigger impact while you’re driving. According to a 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll, 36 percent of Americans have driven while drowsy or have fallen asleep while driving. The results of this could be deadly. In fact, more than 1,500 deaths a year occur in America due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. In New Jersey there is a law, Maggie’s Law, which makes it illegal to drive after being awake for more than 24 hours. So if you’re driving and feel tired, pull over. Take a nap. It may sound silly, but the consequences could be life altering.
NOTE: More car accidents are reported on the Monday following the Spring Daylight Savings Time change due to sleep deprivation.
Work at sleep. Sleep at work.
According to a 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll, 34% of those polled said that their employers allowed them to take naps during breaks. And 16% actually provided a place for them to do so. If you are a shift worker, your body never quite adjusts to the change in your sleep schedule which can lead to an increased risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.
Don’t let the changing days change your sleep
Known as seasonal affective disorder, the changing pattern of light and darkness that comes with the approaching winter can alter your internal sleep clock. So make sure you maintain a consistent sleep pattern. If necessary, get blackout blinds. Force yourself to go to bed and get up at the same times each day – even if your body is telling you otherwise.
Sleep Stage Facts
There are (5) stages of sleep that you experience each night as you sleep.
Stage 1: Non-rapid eye movement – your body is starting to relax and prepare for sleep. Your eyes are closed. You could awaken very easily at this point. If you were to awaken at this point, you would feel as if you were never asleep. This is the stage where you make experience the feeling of falling and jerk awake. This stage can last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Stage 2: You are now in a light sleep. Your heart rate slows and body temperature decreases as your body prepares for deep sleep.
Stages 3 & 4: These are the deep sleep stages with deeper and deeper sleep as you progress through the stages. NREM (non-rapid eye movement) occurs during these stages. If you were to awake now, you might feel disoriented or “out of it” for a brief period. This is the period where your body repairs and regrows tissue, strengthens the immune system and builds muscle and bones.
Stage 5: It’s dream time. Now, you are in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Respirations and brain activity increase. During this period, dreams occur due to the increase brain activity. Your brain is almost as active as it is when you are awake. Voluntary muscles become paralyzed, unable to move. This is your body’s way of protecting you from harming yourself. This is often the reason you feel like you can’t run or escape danger in a dream. The truth is your body can’t move. This period lasts roughly 90 minutes. REM sleep is proven to aid in creative problem solving. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sleep, so you can achieve the REM state.
Your sleep needs
Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep each day. However, some people are able to get by on as little as six hours of sleep without feeling drowsy while others may feel as if they need ten. Here are some interesting facts about different peoples sleep needs.
Women need more sleep than men
It’s no secret, but women typically multitask more than men, which means their brains are working overtime. This also means their brains need more time to recover during sleep. If they don’t get the sleep they need, they can suffer from mentally and physically.
Athletes sport more sleep
Like women whose brain are working overtime, physically active people, such as athletes, require more time sleeping so their bodies can re-energize and repair muscles. Athletes can also benefit from sleeping for up to 10 hours, which can improve their performance.
Time for sleep school
Young people from age 13-18 need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Let’s face it…their bodies are going through some major changes and all that learning in school requires extra brain power. So the more sleep they get, the better of they are. Sadly, studies show that most high school kids are not getting enough sleep with 2/3’s of them getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night.
Can’t get your kid out of bed?
It’s normal. During the teenage years, kids experience a changing sleep/wake cycle. Melatonin, which induces sleep, comes later in the evening. This is why your kid wants to stay up late, but somehow can’t seem to drag themselves out of bed in the morning.
Love math + logical = less sleep
People who enjoy math and statistics (right brainers) tend to get less sleep. However, left brainers or the more creative folks seem to sleep more. Unfortunately, the sleep they get isn’t as good. Maybe they could come up with a creative to solve that problem.
Why aren’t you asleep?
Most of us aren’t getting enough sleep each night. Sometimes, there’s just no way around it. However, there are several things you could do that would help you sleep better…tonight.
Turn of the electronics
Bright lights aren’t good for sleep. Nothing new there. But did you know the light emitted by your smartphone or tablet is even worse? Why? Well, it’s scientific. Lot’s of medical mumbo-jumbo that really isn’t important. What is important is that light, and blue light in particular, affect the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that helps you feel sleepy. So put the phone down.
Take a good hard look at your schedule.
What has to be done today. What can wait. Set limits. Don’t try to do so much that you can’t get to bed at a decent hour. When you really examine what’s important, you’ll find that you’re probably spending too much time wasting time.
Don’t work too much.
Who is really benefiting from this? Getting ahead in the corporate world is great but not at the expense of your health. It’s okay to say ‘NO’ sometimes. If possible, delegate work to others, and if you can’t do that, work on prioritizing tasks. You’ll probably find that you are wasting more time than you think.
Change your sleep gear, change your life.
When was the last time you replaced your mattress? How about your pillow? Check of the Top 5 mattresses, pillows, sheet sets, snore reducing devices and natural sleep aids on Amazon. Making one or more changes may just be the hack you need for better sleep. And with quick, home delivery, you could be sleeping better tonight!
Stop being a social butterfly.
If your social life is keeping you up until all hours, try to limit your outings to once or twice a week. While being social is an important part of life, you’ll probably find that you enjoy being out more when you do it less. Plus, you’ll feel better the next day.
Set a bedtime.
I know, it sounds like you’re a child again, but there’s a reason why your parents told you to go to bed. They knew that your body needed rest in order to function properly. So set a time when everything shuts off…TV, phone and your mind.
Want even more ways to improve your sleep? Here are 6 hacks that will get you better sleep tonight.