September 11, 2013

13 Things About Sleep That You Don’t Know

I’ve never been a good sleeper. When I was a child, I refused to take my afternoon naps. Then in university, I started getting insomnia. I knew it was bad if I finished reading a chapter of my history textbook, or praying the rosary, and I was still awake. Nowadays I’m still an insomniac and very poor napper.

Next time I have trouble sleeping, I’m going to re-read the following list of interesting sleep facts.

For example, did you know:

1. Sleep is Essential for Your Bones

Did you know that lack of sleep disrupts the delicate bone-building cycle in your body? During sleep, your body repairs all the daily wear and tear on your bones, and when you don’t get enough sleep, your bones don’t get repaired.

2. Giraffes Sleep Least – Koalas the Most

Of all animals, giraffes sleep the least, taking 5-10 minute naps that total only 1.9 hours day. By comparison, the koala sleeps 22 hours a day.

3. Lack of Sleep Can Kill You

You can go 2 weeks without food, but only 10 days without sleep before you die. (Other sources claim the world’s record is 264 hours awake, which is 22 days.)

4. Snore Surgery

A kind of surgery for snoring that tightens the soft palate and throat has an extremely long name: uvulopalatopharyngoplasty!

5. Sleeping Pills

The use of sleeping pills by Americans has doubled during the last 4 years.

6. Time Spent Sleeping

If you live the average lifespan of 78 years, you’ll spend 26 of those years sleeping, and 6 of those years dreaming.

7. Falling Asleep

Normal time to fall asleep is between 10 and 15 minutes.

8. Eyes Open

People can sleep with their eyes open for short naps. They may not even know it!

9. Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep-deprived individuals experience mental disturbances like paranoia and hallucinations, and also blurred vision, slurred speech, and memory lapses.

10. Sleeping Apart

About 1/4 of all married couples sleep in separate beds.

11. Dreaming in Color?

About 12% of dreamers experience their dreams in black and white, while everyone else dreams in color. Prior to color television, the percentage of black and white dreamers was higher.

12. Chronic Sleep Deprivation Harms Health

Sources say that some of the effects of chronic sleep deprivation (that is, sleep deprivation of a few hours a night that goes on for a long time, not a “marathon” of staying awake) include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of developing (or worsening) a stomach ulcer
  • High blood pressure

13. Growth

Growing animals and people need sleep to grow properly, because growth hormone is released during sleep.

On second thought, this list just might keep me awake!

What interesting facts about sleep do you know? Tell us about it below.

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Alexis Rodrigo