25 Cool Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain functioning and maintain your physical health. The damage from sleep deprivation might not hurt you instantly but it’s a safe bet it will harm you over time if it continues for a long time. For example, ongoing sleep deprivation can raise your risk for chronic health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and various heart problems. The ancient Greeks were the first people to realize the importance of sleep in people’s lives and for that reason they worshiped Morpheus (god of sleep and dreams), to whom they prayed for a good night’s sleep and peaceful dreams. Today, however, since the rhythms of modern life are more demanding and stressful than ever before, many people tend to suffer from insomnia (mainly due to stress and anxiety) or intentional sleep deprivation in an attempt to achieve more than a normal human being should in a day. In case you’re one of those people who don’t fully realize the importance of sleep, take a look at these 25 Cool Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know and we can promise you that you will make a few changes in your life starting today.

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In rare cases, people can die from insomnia. To be more specific, fatal familial insomnia is a rare genetic disease that prevents a person from falling asleep, eventually leading to death. The average survival span for patients diagnosed with FFI after the onset of symptoms is eighteen months. This very rare disease has been found in just twenty-nine families worldwide, affecting a total of seventy-eight people, and the first recorded case was an Italian man, who died in Venice in 1765.

20 commonsSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Women are two times more likely to have insomnia than men, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Experts speculate that the reason may have to do with female hormones. Sleepless nights and daytime sleepiness have been linked to hormonal changes in a woman’s life, including pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle.

19 flickr Alyssa L. MillerSource: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Image: flickr.com, Photo by Alyssa L. Miller

People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase. This explains why people who suffer from insomnia usually gain weight.

18 commons.wikimedia.orgSource: sleepfoundation.org, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Scientists still don’t know—and probably never will—if animals dream during REM sleep, as humans do.

17 pixabaySource: sleepfoundation.org, Image: pixabay.com

According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. In other words, and despite what your boss might tell you, the body never adjusts to shift work.

16 commons.wikimedia.orgSource: sleepfoundation.org, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

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