We spend about a third of our lives asleep, but how much do we know about it? Here are some valuable facts about sleep you might want to know.
In this article:
- Difficulty Waking Up on Mondays Can Be a Sign of ‘Social Jetlag’
- Falling Asleep Ideally Takes 10-20 Minutes
- Sleep May Be More Important than Food in the Short Term
- The Record for the Longest Period Without Sleep is 11 Days
- Insomnia is the Most Commonly Reported Sleep Disorder
- Sleep Deprivation Reduces Pain Tolerance
- People Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep Tend to Eat More
- ‘Hypnic Jerks’ is the Term for Sensation of Falling During Sleep
Facts About Sleep that Might Surprise You
In hindsight, sleep seems to be those things that are part of human nature. Not until 25 years ago, science has shed more light on the significant role of sleep in cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and emotional health.
Here we share some of the most interesting facts about sleep that will change the way you think about dozing off:
Difficulty Waking Up on Mondays Can Be a Sign of ‘Social Jetlag’
Social jetlag is the inconsistency in a person’s sleep pattern between the weekdays and the weekend. When you go to bed and wake up later on weekends than during the weekdays, your internal clock or circadian rhythm gets out of sync.
Social jetlag may result in disturbed sleep patterns, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a reduction in your performance level.
Falling Asleep Ideally Takes 10-20 Minutes
The process of sleep occurs in five different stages every 90 minutes. Ideally, it will take you 10-20 minutes to fall asleep. Drifting off happens within the first 20 minutes when your breathing slows down and becomes regular, and your body temperature decreases.
According to a study, taking longer than half an hour to fall asleep may decrease your sleep quality.
Sleep May Be More Important than Food in the Short Term
Food and sleep are essential for survival, and the lack of one may negatively affect health. However, this article from the Harvard Business Review suggests that sleep deprivation may result in more negative consequences to our survival than fasting.
The Record for the Longest Period Without Sleep is 11 Days
Randy Gardner, a then 17-year-old high school student, set the longest time without sleep in 1964. Gardner stayed up for 11 days and 25 minutes.
During the experiment, Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross of the U.S. Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit in San Diego reported that Graner exhibited sleep deprivation symptoms. These symptoms include moodiness, uncooperative behavior, irritability, hallucinations, slow speech, paranoia, and memory lapses.
After creating the record, Gardner slept for 14 hours and 40 minutes. Although it may be possible for some humans to stay awake for days, this is not advisable and may even lead to death.
Insomnia is the Most Commonly Reported Sleep Disorder
About one in four Americans experience acute insomnia, a sleep condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. People who have insomnia show drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
RELATED: How to Decompress After a Long Day
Sleep Deprivation Reduces Pain Tolerance
A research study conducted among pain-free participants showed that sleep-deprived individuals exhibited higher pain sensitivity levels than the non-sleep deprived group.
People Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep Tend to Eat More
A lack of sleep may increase calorie consumption. This mechanism is due to decreased leptin levels, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and energy levels. Some people may even experience an increase in junk food cravings when sleep deprived.
‘Hypnic Jerks’ is the Term for Sensation of Falling During Sleep
You have probably experienced this occurrence in your sleep: as you begin to drift off, your body jolts as if you are falling down. This sudden twitch that occurs during light sleep is called hypnic jerks.
Like hiccups, hypnic jerks are a type of involuntary muscle movement called myoclonus. The reason behind this is not specified, although scientists have some theories about its causes. Some experts believe that hypnic jerks result from poor sleeping habits, stimulants like caffeine, anxiety, and late workouts.
Which facts about sleep do you find most interesting? Let us know in the comments section below.