7 Interesting Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know
Sleep is the most important human function, yet there are so many distractions that keep us from getting the sleep we need and many interesting facts that make sleep fascinating. For example, humans are the only mammal that is willing to delay sleep. Animals, such as dogs and cats will sleep at any time. If they get tired, they just lay down and go to sleep. We as humans are not built that way. Also, the higher the altitude the more sleep disruption you are bound to have and those that don’t get enough sleep will most likely have larger appetites.
Photo by Aweisenfels, CC BY-SA 4.0
Out of the numerous interesting facts about sleep, outlined below are 7 of the most interesting. Of course, having the right mattress and mattress topper is the biggest help at getting the perfect sleep at night so check out http://www.thesleepjudge.com/ for some reviews on the best mattress toppers on the market. First, though, the 7 most interesting facts about sleep.
1.Lack of Sleep Causes Health Issues
Lack of sleep can break down your immune system causing you to become more susceptible to common colds, but over time the loss of sleep can lead to more serious complications. You could end up with memory loss problems, concentration issues, blurred vision, paranoia, hallucinations, high blood pressure, stroke, and other health issues. In fact, 90% of people with insomnia also have heart conditions.
Insomnia is normally associated with stress and bereavement. The reason is because your mind is not able to settle down like the rest of your body. You may be able to fall asleep, but you will awake to thoughts of life-changing events. To help with this, avoid caffeine, make sure you are in a comfortable place to sleep, grieve properly and try meditation. It is also important to note that insomnia is also more prevalent in women than men.
3. Amount of Sleep We Need
Newborns and teenagers need on average at least 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Elderly individuals aged 65 and older need on average about 6 hours of sleep each night. The rest of us aged 25-55 need on average 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Of course, we all react to sleep differently and some may need a little more or a little less, but this is the average based on scientific research.
4.10-20 Minute Naps are Beneficial
Taking a 10-20 minute nap if you become groggy during the day is actually extremely beneficial. The hard part is making sure you get up in that window of time before you fall into a deep sleep. Naps help improve sleep latency, fatigue, sleepiness and performance. In fact, you will wake up feeling refreshed with a sense of vigor and alertness ready to take on the afternoon.
5.Humans vs Animals
I talked about how much sleep we as humans need briefly in item 3. Animals also require a certain number hours of sleep, some more than others. For example, a dog needs on average 11 hours of sleep. Cats usually get about 12 hours of sleep, whereas a horse only sleeps 3 hours a day, and a bat typically gets 20 hours of sleep per day. Of course, this all depends on the type of environment the animal is in and if they tend to ‘nap’ more during the day. Either way, it is quite interesting!
6.Melatonin and Blue Lights
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our body’s natural alarm clock. Melatonin is actually used in sleep disorder cases such as insomnia. Studies have shown that blue lights, more than any other color, at night actually suppress the secretion of this hormone. The problem is that our new age devices, such as smartphones have short-wavelength-enriched light sources that are highly concentrated with blue lights. This means right before bed if we are playing on our phones we are actually affecting the levels of sleep-inducing melatonin. From now on, put down that phone well before bed!
7.Two Types of Sleep
There are actually two different types of sleep: Non-REM and REM. REM is Rapid Eye Movement Sleep which is when you are in your deepest sleep with active dreaming. Your eyes actually move back and forth at this time, hence REM. There are three stages of non-REM. The first stage is N1 (Transition to Sleep) which lasts about 5 minutes. Your body begins to slow down, but you are easily awaken. The second stage is N2 (Light Sleep) which lasts about 10-25 minutes where your eye movement stops completely and your heart rate relaxes as you calm down. The last stage is N3 (Deep Sleep) where you are at your deepest sleep and are hard to wake up. At this point you can enter REM sleep which lasts 70-90 minutes at a time. At this point you dream causing your eyes to move rapidly, your rate and blood pressure will rise and your muscles may become paralyzed. Hopefully you get 4-6 cycles of REM sleep a night.
There are many different interesting facts about sleep. These are just a few of the most interesting. There is more to learn about health, sleep cycles, animals, dreaming, etc.
Everyone has struggled to fall asleep at one time or another. But dealing with insomnia on a regular basis is something different altogether.