25 Crazy Facts About Sleep

Posted by , Updated on April 13, 2014

Why do you sleep? Okay we know, it sounds like a pretty dumb question with a fairly obvious answer, but the truth is that scientists have not yet been able to fully figure it out. In fact, it probably should have been on our list of the 25 biggest mysteries of history. Over the last several decades though, using modern technology, researchers have been able to measure brain waves and find out a little bit about what is going on in our heads at night. It’s thanks to these trailblazers that we can bring you 25 crazy facts about sleep.
25

With an average lifespan of 6 – 8 years mattresses have plenty of time to gather some nasty stuff and one study even linked them to sudden infant death syndrome.

mattress
24

Another study showed that people getting only 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night have a longer life expectancy than those who sleep 8 hours.

23

Both whales and dolphins literally fall half asleep. Their brain hemispheres take turns so they can continue surfacing to breathe.

22

The world record for not sleeping was set by 17-year-old Randy Gardner in 1964 when he was awake for 264 hours and 12 minutes.

21

An adult bedbug can survive up to one year without feeding.

bed bug

20

In 2004 more than 35 million sleeping pill prescriptions were filled in America, a number that more than doubled from the previous four years.

19

Upon joining the European Union, Spain launched a campaign to get rid of its world famous siestas, or afternoon naps, in order to show that it was intent on integration.

18

Although people born blind don’t see images when they dream, they do have an increased auditory, tactile, and olfactory experience

17

Scientists haven’t been able to figure out why exactly we need sleep.

16

The average person wakes up about six times per night.

15

Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.

somniphobia
14

12% of people have black and white dreams. Before color television though, the number was 75%.

13

You can only dream about faces you have already seen.

12

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a surgical procedure used to fix snoring by tightening the throat. Possible side effects include changes to the tone of your voice.

11

If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep then very likely you are sleep deprived. The ideal amount of time is about 10 minutes.

10

Scientists have determined that counting sheep is ineffective for putting oneself to sleep. Evidently it is too boring and imagining a calming landscape generally works much better.

counting sheep
9

In 1998 scientists seemingly showed that shining a bright light on the back of a person’s knee could reset their biological clock.

8

When you die you will have slept about 1/3 of your life, which for the average person is approximately 25 years.

7

Not sleeping for 16 hours leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of .05%

6

The British military figured out a way to reset soldiers’ body clocks so they can go without sleep for up to 36 hours by simulating a sunrise on their retinas.

5

Every 90 minutes, during REM sleep, a burst of electrical activity flows through your brainstem which also happens to be when you experience dreams.

rem sleep
4

The average person spends 6 years of their life dreaming

3

That moment right before you fall asleep when all of a sudden you jolt wide awake has a name – it’s called a myoclonic jerk.

2

The Challenger space shuttle disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, and the 1989 Exxon oil spill were all caused to some extent by sleep deprivation.

Challenger Space Shuttle disaster
1

Almost everything we know about sleep, including the facts on this list, was all learned in the last 25 years

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