10 Most Interesting Facts About Sleep

10 Most Interesting Facts About Sleep

There is a lot that can be said about sleep. Whether it’s not getting enough or how to get better quality sleep, the quest for a great night’s sleep has been on almost everyone’s mind at one time or another. Sleep is one of those things that many people may not realize affects every other aspect of your life, even if it’s not glaringly apparent…at first.

Doing poorly at school, gaining weight, being clumsier, not performing well at work and having health problems can all be linked back to how much sleep you are getting (or not getting). There are many different tips and strategies that people use to try and get a great night’s sleep. 

10 Most Interesting Facts About Sleep

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What works for one person may not work for someone else, so expect to try a few different things before you find a routine and preferences that work for you. Below we’ve listed some facts about sleep that you may find interesting. Some are fun facts and others can be taken into consideration to possibly add to your own quest for the perfect night’s sleep.

Here are some products that can help with getting a great night’s sleep.

10 Most Interesting Facts

  1. People used to sleep in sections of time rather than all at once – Have trouble sleeping 7 ½ to 8 hours all at one stretch? Before there was electricity, people would sleep for a few hours and then wake up for periods of time where they would read, write, talk with others, pray or meditate before going back to sleep for a few more hours before getting up and staying up.
  1. Dreaming in Color or Black and White? – Before the invention of color television only 15% of people had dreams that were in color. Those numbers have jumped considerably with the addition of color TV and now 75% of people dream in color.
  1. The Effects of Social Jet-Lag – Surprisingly this has nothing to do with being in a friendly airplane. Social jet lag is the term that is used to describe that exhausted, draggy feeling you have on Monday mornings. Most people have different schedules they follow on the weekend which may or may not include staying up much later than they do during the work week. If you kept to relatively the same bedtime on the weekends that you do during the week, you probably wouldn’t have those dragging, hard to get going feelings come Monday.
  1. If You See Them in Your Dreams, You’ve Seen Them in Real Life – Ever wonder who some of the people are in your dreams? Even if you don’t recognize them, you have seen their faces before, even if it was just a glance in passing at the grocery store. Your mind stores so much information that you don’t even realize it is storing and that includes people’s faces.
  1. The Significance of 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. – Ever wonder why you suddenly feel REALLY tired after lunch or if you work third shift, and 2:00 a.m. rolls around, you’re struggling to stay awake? That is because there are two points during a 24 hour time period that people are the most tired and those times are 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  1. The Connection Between Your Personality and Your Sleep Position – There are many studies that have been done about what sleeping positions say about a person’s personality. Which position do YOU sleep in and how accurate is the personality description?
  • Fetal – This is one of the more popular positions that people adopt as they drift off to sleep. The fetal position is where the person sleeps on their side with the legs tucked up. People that sleep in this position are said to have a tough outer persona but are typically sensitive and shy to boot.
  • Yearner – Another popular position is called the Yearner, where the person is again, on their side, but their arms are stretched out in front of them. Yearners are typically very inviting people and are open to meeting others. They can be suspicious in nature and often you will find they have a cynical outlook. Even though they are slow to make a decision about something, once they have, getting them to change their minds is nearly impossible.
  • The Log – It may sound odd and even looks a bit rigid and uncomfortable as well. Log sleepers sleep on their sides with their legs extended straight down and their arms are extended down at their sides as well. Log sleepers love people of all kinds and are usually social butterflies. They can also be gullible and overly trusting which can lead to problems.
  • Soldier – If you sleep on your back with your arms straight down at your sides, you sleep in the Soldier position. It is not as common a sleep position but those who sleep in this position report getting the most sleep this way. If you’re a soldier sleeper, you may take yourself very seriously and really thrive on structure and order. They can be perfectionists and have high expectations of themselves and others too.
  • FreeFall – If you like to sleep on your stomach with your head turned to one side or the other and your hands near your pillow, you are a FreeFall sleeper. Freefallers are free spirits, social butterflies and can even be noisy or overbearing at times. Despite their seemingly outgoing personality, Freefallers can be hiding the fact that they are nervous and have a very hard time with criticism.
  • Starfish – Not a very popular sleep position, the starfish also can take up a lot of room to boot. Starfish sleepers sleep on their backs with their legs stretched out and their arms above their heads or at least up close to them. Starfish sleepers are loyal to the extreme and make their friends a top priority, going out of their way to help someone in need whenever they can.  They also love to listen and can be great for someone who needs to vent about something.
  • Soldier-Starfish – This is a back sleeper without the stiff, rigid, arms down of the Soldier position or the legs and arms sprawled wide like the Starfish. If this describes your sleeping position, you may have a tendency to be persuaded easily by others. They typically have a go with the flow personality and are really flexible.
  • Pillow Hugger – Sleepers in almost any position can be pillow huggers. Those who hug pillows while they are sleeping hold the bonds they have with relationships, friends and family very close and in very high regard. They love to please and will usually end up putting the needs of others in front of themselves in most cases.
  1. Daylight Savings Time Ending Lowers Accidents Thanks to More Sleep– There have been some studies that show that when daylight savings comes to an end in the fall, there are less reported accidents. This is due to the extra hour of sleep that people get due to the clocks being turned back.
  1. Your Alarm Clock Could Be Disturbing Your Sleep – Even if you are not aware of it, if your alarm clock faces where you sleep, the bright rays from the clock can disrupt the sleep cycle. What the light does is cause levels of a very important sleep chemical to decline, which can keep you from REM sleep and feeling rested. It’s better to turn your clock to face the opposite direction to prevent that digital light from interrupting you.
  1. Remembering Your Dreams After Waking Isn’t Easy – When you wake up, before 5 minutes have even passed, any dreams you may have had are 50% forgotten. Wait another 5 minutes and you will find that 90% of the dreams you had will be gone.  Want to remember those dreams? Get into the habit of writing them down as soon as you wake up. Keeping a notebook and pencil next to the bed can prevent you from forgetting some really cool and potentially helpful dreams.
  1. Going without Sleep is Worse than Going without Food – Sleep deprivation can have a both short and long term effect which is why it is so important for people to get enough sleep each night.

Short-term Effects of Sleep Deprivation:

  • Reduced Performance and Less Alert – People will notice that their performance falls off when they are sleep deprived. Even getting as little as 1 ½ hours less sleep one night can cause you to be 32% less alert.
  • Memory and Processing Ability – You will find that will less sleep you will forget things easier and have a harder time with processing information and even making decisions due to “foggy brain”.
  • Increased Risk of Auto Accidents – Driving while sleep deprived is very dangerous for you, your passengers and anyone else on the road in the same vicinity as you. If you know you haven’t gotten enough sleep, take precautions by riding with someone else or taking a cab. It’s better to have the extra expense than take a chance on falling asleep behind the wheel.
  • Increased Work Accidents – If you have a job that involves working with machinery or working in a factory, being sleep deprived means you have an increased risk of having work related accidents.
  • Less Quality of Life – It may sound melodramatic but think about how you feel when you are tired. Are you shorter tempered with your kids or pets? Do you miss your favorite TV show or movie because you fall asleep before it even reaches the half way point? Do you just feel “too tired” to even cook a decent meal?  When you are not getting enough sleep, your day to day life will definitely feel the effects.
  • Relationship Issues – If one of you is not getting the right amount of sleep, it can result in having difficulty within the relationship due to moodiness, lack of motivation to do anything, lack of motivation for intimacy and more.

Long-term Potential Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Weight Gain
  • Heart Attack or Heart Failure
  • ADD
  • Stroke
  • Depression or other Mood Disorders
  • Higher Mortality rate

Try not to let anxiety of developing one of these conditions prevents you from turning things around. The good news is that even with these dangerous medical conditions that can be potentially be caused by excessive and extended sleep deprivation; the negative effects can be reduced and even in many cases, eliminated by altering how much sleep you get.

Shoot for no less than 7 ½ hours per night of uninterrupted (as much as possible) sleep and you will notice drastic changes in your health of a positive nature, your well being will improve and your quality of life will as well.

Remember that good sleep is not just for adults.  It is extremely important that you ensure your children get a good night’s sleep as well. This can improve their moods, creativity, school grades, and over all well being also.

A well rested child is going to listen better, do better on their tests and just feel better which will make the family relationships more peaceful. If you have a hard time just deciding to go to bed, consider creating a regular bedtime ritual for yourself and then work on implementing it into your life every night.  There are a lot of really enjoyable things you can add to a bedtime routine that will make falling asleep easier, and make staying asleep and waking up refreshed even more of a reward and benefit. Bedtime rituals or routines can include sipping hot tea or warm milk before bed, eating a banana, taking a bath with some lavender essential oil or lavender scented soaps, listening to classical or soothing instrumental music, and anything else that may appeal to you.

The most important thing is consistency, commitment to getting more sleep (commitment is not the same as worrying about it which will just add to the issue of NOT getting enough sleep) and making it a priority that you respect and make sure others do too. Staying up late once in awhile, especially when you are a parent, is normal and unavoidable.  Routinely not getting enough sleep is not.

After an additional 5 minutes, 90% of recollection is gone. Sigmund Freud believed this was because dreams represent our repressed thoughts and so our brain wants to get rid of them quickly. However, it’s much more likely due to our brains simply being used much more as soon as we’re awake and so we forget much of what we’ve dreamed about.

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