Sleep is something we all have in common, so naturally, this is something we all think we know something about. However, sleep seems to be a rather mysterious process because scientists and researchers all over the world are learning more and more about it every day and discovering things we never even dreamed about this process.
Unusual Sleep Facts
People are capable of taking short cat naps with their eyes open and while standing. So, only a medical professional or a sleep expert can actually determine if an individual is awake or asleep.
Rapid eye movement, also known as REM sleep was discovered in the 1950’s. This moment was a breakthrough in the field of sleep science. Although there are several stages of sleep, we do not have to progress through them in the same order. For example, we can experience stage one (light sleep) and proceed immediately to REM sleep, then return to stage 2, and basically just jump back and forth between all sleep phases. We also experience one sleep phase (such as REM sleep) multiple times during one night.
In the past, scientists believed we only dreamt in REM. However, new studies show that people may be dreaming the entire time during sleep. Another interesting fact is that the dreams we experience during REM are entirely different from the ones experienced in other sleep stages. REM sleep dreams are typically vivid and intense.
Although you may be confident that your dog or cat is dreaming every night, there is still no evidence that animals dream. Since we are mentioning animals, elephants can sleep standing up or lying down. When they are standing up, they are experiencing non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, they lie down.
Scientists still don’t know why we dream and what the purpose of our dreams is. Some researchers claim that we dream to help consolidate long-term memory. In that case, dreams sort through and store experiences, and basically clean out unnecessary information from our brain.
British scientists have designed a pair of glasses that can reset a one’s internal body clock by projecting bright light into their eyes. This right light should mimic the sunrise and completely reset one’s circadian rhythm. These glasses were used by soldiers and allegedly allow a person to go without sleep up to 36 hours without experiencing severe functional deficits.
Your mom probably always told you that you better make your bed, and keep your room tidy. However, a study conducted at the Kingston University suggests that sleeping on a messy mattress is actually healthier and may help you sleep better. The idea is that by making your bed you are trapping, sweat and moisture and creating an ideal environment for dust mites. Also, by making your bed, it can’t cool down properly. Leaving sheets exposed to air and sunlight will help the mattress dry out and cool, creating a slightly comfortable sleeping environment.
Noises at night do not only disturb your sleep but may also disrupt the function of your immune system. Light, as noise, disturbs sleep. Even the tiny glowing numbers on your alarm clock can make it harder to fall asleep or cause sleep inconsistency.
Quick Sleep Facts in Numbers
- 5 – If you need less than 5 minutes to fall asleep you are definitely sleep deprived. On average, people need at least 10 to 15 minutes to meet the Sandman. Falling asleep faster than you are supposed to indicate you are overtired.
- 17 – You only need to be awake for 17 hours to experience the symptoms of sleep deprivation. These symptoms are very similar to the ones experienced by an individual with a blood alcohol level of .05%.
- 65 – Newborn babies spend 65% of their sleep in REM sleep.
- 264 – World record for the longest period of time without sleep was set by a high school student in 1964, and it stands at 264.4 hours.
- 750 – Studies show that parents lose from 400 to 750 hours of sleep in their child’s first year.