Sleep is one of the most fascinating and well studied phenomena out there. While we all know that we need sleep, there are certain things about sleep that remain a mystery. Like why, exactly, do we dream? And why do some animals require more sleep than others?
Many scientists have conducted studies into sleep to discover things like what happens if you shine a light on the backs of your knees? (Answer: it can reset the brain’s sleep/wake up clock) or how do deaf people dream? (Answer: with sign language).
Since sleep is such an interesting topic, and one that affects all of us, we thought it would be fun to come up with some of the most fascinating facts on that most wonderful state of sleep.
Most people dream but scientists have discovered that babies don’t dream for the first few years of birth. When people do start dreaming, however, magic can happen. In fact, some of the world’s most cherished inventions and discoveries first occurred in dreams. For example, Google, the sewing machine and the periodic table were all first envisioned in dreams. And James Watson first dreamt of the existence of the DNA’s double helix spiral form.
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Dreams can be either unsettling or exciting. If you are able to control your dreams, it is called lucid dreaming, and scientists have found that people who play video games are more likely to have this ability. On the other hand, it’s been found that violent dreams can be a warning sign of neurological disfunction and can be a precursor to conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, dementia or a signal of migraines or heart conditions.
Sleep time facts
We’ve all heard over and over that we need eight hours of sleep each night in order for our brains to complete its cycle. However, in France, people sleep an average of 8.83 hours each day. And if you are someone who truly has a difficult time putting your feet on the ground in the morning, it might not be because you’re lazy or dreading the day ahead, but actually suffering from a condition called dysania. This is the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
All animals sleep but some more than others. Giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period, but koala bears need about 20 hours each day and a python gets about 18 hours. A snail can actually stay asleep for three years at a time. The longest a human has gone without sleep is 11 days, and parents to newborn babies miss out on six months of sleep in the first two years of their child’s life.
In places where darkness is set half of the year — like Alaska or northern Canada, most people eventually adjust to a 48-hour cycle. Instead of wakefulness for 16 hours, followed by eight hours of sleep, they instead eventually stay awake for 36 hours of activity, followed by 12 hours of sleep. The reasons why this happens are unclear.
Sleep habit facts
Some people need to do the exact same thing to fall asleep each night, a kind of ritual that prepares their brains to power down from the day. Others can fall asleep anywhere as long as they’re tired.
Shift workers who are constantly adjusting their sleep times have an increased risk for chronic illnesses like cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. While caffeine might just be the most popular drug in the world, drinking it in the evening can disrupt melatonin production and have a negative effect on sleep.
Everyone has a preferred way to sleep. In America, 8 percent of adults sleep naked and 40 percent have always slept on the same side of the bed. It takes the average person seven minutes to fall asleep after their head hits the pillow.
We could go on and on. Sleep truly is a fascinating topic that we at M&N Mattress are passionate about.
If you would like to talk zzzzz’s with us, or have any questions on how you can get a better sleep at night, drop by our mattress store in Parksville. Our friendly staff loves helping people achieve their best possible sleep.