5 facts to shock and amaze you about the fine art of sleep!
Our lives are so busy and sleep is an integral part of our day-to-day. It just never seems like we get enough! It is something we do every single day, but how much do you really know about this crucial part of your day? Here are 5 facts we’ve compiled, guaranteed to shock and amaze you about the fine art of sleep and just how necessary it is to keeping your body healthy.
1. About 50-70 million adults in the United States have sleep disorders
Of the 50-70 million American adults with sleep or wakefulness disorders, 12-18 million suffer from sleep apnea. Studies have also found that insufficient sleep and insomnia are most prevalent in females. That said, about 1/3 of Americans claim to get fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, whereas scientists insist the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours nightly.
Not getting enough sleep can have serious, even fatal consequences. Between 5,000-6,000 of the car accidents that happen every year in the U.S. are caused by drowsy drivers. Professionals estimate that 25% of American adults don’t get enough sleep to be considered properly alert. About 43.7% of 18-25 year olds in the United States report falling asleep unintentionally during the daytime. Researchers have also found that sleepiness has caused at least $50 billion in loss due to decrease in productivity whilst feeling tired. Other problems associated with lack of sleep include poorer concentration, forgetfulness, neglecting of hobbies, neglecting of financial affairs and serious work interference.
2. Bright light shone on the backs of knees can reset your internal clock.
An experiment carried out in 1998 found that shining a bright light on the back of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock. This tactic is often used to combat jet-lag. Stepping out into the sun with the backs of our knees exposed has the potential to help you combat jet-lag and reset your internal clock. Although it may feel obvious to reach for the caffeine to fight the effects of jet lag, experts warn that this may actually have adverse effects because of their stimulant effects, they are not effective for successfully properly readjusting your body clock.
Jet lag is a common side effect of long distance travel. It is caused by the changing of time zones. A 2002 study found that jet lag is extremely common. The same study, carried out on International Business Travelers (IBTs) found that of all the common health problems recorded in the individuals, jet lag was the most frequently reported, affecting as many as 74% of these IBTs.
3. The official record for the longest time without sleep is 11 days and 24 minutes.
The official record for the longest period of time without sleep is 11 days. In 1964, Randy Gardner stayed awake for a total of 264.4 hours. The teenager and high school student from San Diego, California has his health monitored by professionals including Stanford University sleep researcher Dr. William C. Dement and Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross. Two classmates of his kept the logs. The study brought about some impressive and shocking information about lack of sleep that stunned the research team. Gardner was able to maintain relatively good health, even giving a press conference where he spoke without slurring or stumbling over his words and beating researcher William Dement at pinball in the tenth day.
He did however, suffer from moodiness, concentration problems, short term memory loss, paranoia and hallucinations. On the final day, he was asked to subtract seven repeatedly, but stopped at the number 65. When asked why, he stated that he had forgotten what he was doing. The Guinness Book of World Records has since stopped keep records of voluntary sleep deprivation due to the potential adverse and highly dangerous potential effects of such actions.
4. Deaf people can sleep talk too.
According to a few accounts, deaf people have the ability to sign in their sleep! This is particularly predominant in children, with many parents of hearing-impaired children reporting witnessing their child or children signing words in their sleep. Deaf people although they cannot hear, can, in most cases, still speak. This means that, although the words may not sound like words, they still can, and often do, make mumbles, moans and other sounds in their sleep just like anyone else.
Talking in your sleep is, in medical terms, referred to as “somniloquy”. Although you can talk at any point during your sleep, anyone listening in probably has the best chance of understanding you during REM sleep. Talking during deeper sleep often comes out more like gibberish. Even if what the sleep talker is saying makes sense, it is actually a product of the subconscious, and therefore the words have no real meaning and the person doesn’t know what they are actually saying.
5. Cats sleep for 70% of their lives.
Cats seem to always be sleeping…and they kind of are. Cats sleep for really large amounts of time that accumulate to about 70% of their total lives. Cats aren’t the only ones in the animal kingdom with particular sleeping habits. Dolphins has the ability to go for extended periods of time without sleep thanks to the fact that only one half of their brain goes to sleep at a time. Sea otter hold hand with each other so that they do not drift away from the other during sleep. Horses have the ability to sleep standing, and often do. Rabbits frequently sleep with their eyes open.
Whilst cats need a lot of sleep, giraffes on the other hand, do not. Giraffes only need about 5 minutes to an hour of sleep in every 24-hour period. A snail though, can sleep for a whole three years and koalas need some of the most sleep in the animal world, requiring up to 20 hours per day! One thing you’d probably be very happy to learn is that the story about eating spiders in your sleep is nonsense. The chance of ingesting the bugs in your sleep is just about 0%.