We spend about one-third of our time sleeping, and we still do not fully understand this process. Why do we sleep? What happens to our brain while we are asleep? Can we evolve beyond the need to sleep?
Scientists have been focused on researching our most popular nighttime habit for decades, and we can finally say that we have a comprehensive list of astonishing discoveries. Here are some of the most memorable sleep facts that you might not know anything about.
1. Humans spend about one-third of their life sleeping.
We all need a good night’s sleep and an occasional nap to be able to survive the day. That said, if an average night’s sleep is eight hours long, a 75-year-old will spend 25 years sleeping. To be more precise, that is around 9,125 days.
Image Credit: Vegan Liftz
2. 75% of all people dream in color, while the rest of them have black and white dreams.
Believe it or not, before color television, only 15% of people dreamt in color. Today, we are all bombarded with an abundance of colorful art and media daily, and this reflects on our dreams as well. According to scientists, there may be a crucial period in our childhood when watching our favorite movies affected how our dreams were formed.
3. If you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, you might suffer from dysania.
Dysania is not recognized as a medical condition, but it can be a problem for those suffering from it. In short, dysania is when getting out of bed in the morning feels like an impossible task. It is a lot more than sleepiness because the amount of quality sleep during the night does not affect it.
4. While you are asleep, your body rests, but your brain remains active.
The body rests during sleep, but the brain remains very active. To be more precise, during sleep, the brain wave activity changes, and our nervous system responds more slowly to outside stimuli. The brain still manages to “recharge” during the night, but it does so while it still controls many important bodily functions like breathing.
5. According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 15% of all people are sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking is a behavior disorder that happens during deep sleep and causes the person to get out of bed, walk, and do other complex behaviors while asleep. Children between the ages of three and seven are at higher risk of experiencing sleepwalking, but it may also affect all age groups. The most common triggers include sleep deprivation, febrile illnesses, alcohol, and some medications.
6. The average person needs around seven minutes to fall asleep.
The first stage of sleep is known as the Alpha stage. An average person needs around seven minutes to reach it, before drifting into a deeper sleep. The Alpha stage is not solely limited to sleep. Those who meditate and pray can achieve this state of mind while being awake.
7. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder.
If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, then you might have insomnia. There are many causes of insomnia, but some of the most common include stress, external stimuli, changes to the sleep schedule, mental health problems, some medications, pain, and sleep apnea.
8. We all have an internal body clock that affects our tiredness.
According to scientists, our body knows exactly what time it is, even if we are not aware of it. If you have ever stayed awake during the entire night, you might have noticed that you were more tired at 4 am than at 11 am. The time between 3 am and 5 am is called the “dead zone” because that is when our body clock makes us feel dead tired.
9. People sleep better during a new moon than during a full moon phase.
According to a study conducted in Switzerland, the Moon can have a great impact on the quality of our sleep. The volunteers (who were unaware of the purposes of the study) needed the additional five minutes to fall asleep, slept for 20 minutes less, and spent 30% less time in a deep sleep during the full moon phase.
10. Humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep.
It seems that humans are the only ones who can delay sleep, and this was not always possible for us. As time passes and technology develops, we spend more time being distracted by cute dog videos or exciting tv shows, turning all of us into a sleep-deprived population.
The Bottom Line
Our brain is still a mystery. The more we learn about it, the more questions appear, especially when it comes to sleep. For example, we are not even sure why we need to sleep. What we know, though, is that we cannot live without it. At least not yet. And while we wait for the answer to this question, have a good night and sweet dreams.
Need more facts about sleep? Check out the infographic below. It was originally published by DisturbMeNot.
Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.