COOL FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT SLEEP 💤💤💤💤
LET’S TALK SLEEP.
The topic of sleep has always been something that’s fascinated us here at The Vurger Co.!
We’ve put together an easy guide to help you to understand a little more about sleep and how to optimise your own sleeping habits, along with some of our favourite facts about sleep that you may not have heard before!
What is sleep?
According to The National Sleep Foundation, “we tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But this is not the case; sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Exactly how this happens and why our bodies are programmed for such a long period of slumber is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists do understand some of sleep's critical functions, and the reasons we need it for optimal health and wellbeing.”
Why do we need sleep?
Although we don’t have any concrete scientific answers, researchers believe broadly that it’s to allow our bodies and most importantly brains to recover. In the daytime our brain cells build and create connections with other parts of our brain as a result of new experiences. While we sleep it’s believed that our brains do maintenance on these new formations, disposing of the unimportant ‘waste’ connections and making the important connections even stronger.
Prof Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York puts it well-
"You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."
How much sleep do we need?
At the time of writing, the recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 8 hours per night. However, the optimum amount of sleep for each individual can vary anywhere from 5-10 hours, depending on the person. As we get older we statistically get less sleep, although the actual amount we require doesn’t reduce greatly.
Did you know?...
1. The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. 🛏😴💤
2. If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, it’s likely that you’ve been sleep deprived.
3. The ideal time for a person to fall asleep in is between 10 and 20 minutes. If you take longer than this then it can mean you’re coping with too much stress or anxiety!
4. There are approximately 15 million snorers in the UK. 🙇 Need help on how to stop snoring?
5. Snoring affects 30 million people in the UK.
6. Figures from a recent survey found that men are louder snorers than women. 😴
7. Women sleep more than men. 💁 This is apparently because women are more likely to multitask, making the brain work harder and needing more time to recover.
8. Parents of newborn babies lose 6 months worth of sleep in the first 2 years of their child’s life. 👼 Unlucky, parents.
9. Sleeping on your front can aid digestion. 🤰Check out the pros and cons of each sleeping position here.
10. Humans are the only animals that choose to delay sleep!😳 Strange when you think about it, huh?!
11. Creatives Beware! 🎨🎭You supposedly sleep more, but not as well, and later in the night! Check out the results of this study.
12. The record for the longest period of time without sleep stands at 264.4 hours ⏰(11 days) and was set by a high school student in 1964. Don’t try this one at home, folks.
13. 12% of people dream in completely black and white. Before colour television was introduced, only 15% of people dreamt in colour! Older people are far more likely to dream in greyscale because of this reason. Perhaps one day soon no one will dream in black and white?!
14. Two thirds of a cat’s life is spent asleep, while giraffes only need 1.9 hours sleep per day.🐈
Check out this article for an awesome insight into how much sleep different species need!
15. We have no conclusive evidence as to whether animals dream or not. 🤔🤔🤔
16. No one yet knows why we dream or what purpose dreams serve but there are several hypotheses. It’s believed we dream to help our memory- to sort through and store experiences and to “clean out” the unneeded information in our brains, among other things.
17. There are many occasions where people have reported their deaf children or partners using sign language in their sleep.
18. We can dream ‘too much’. 💭💭💭Ever wake up feel super tired after a night filled with lots of dreams? It's because your sleep cycle is unbalanced. Your brain is exhausted from too much REM sleep and not enough slow wave sleep to re-energize it. Learn more about your sleep cycle here!
19. The sensation of falling when half asleep and jerking yourself awake is called a ‘hypnic jerk’. No-one is totally sure why hypnic jerks occur but they are considered to be perfectly healthy. However, they may be increased by anxiety, caffeine or physical activity close to bedtime. They are more frequent in young people and decrease as we get older.
20. It’s a myth that you shouldn’t wake someone while sleepwalking...👀👋
21. Sleep experts have discovered a direct link between people’s favourite sleeping positions and their personalities. According to Prof Chris Idzikowski, one of Britain's leading sleep experts, there are 6 different sleeping positions, and those who sleep in the foetal position (41% of people in the UK) “may appear tough but are actually sensitive souls right to their core.” Read even more about the professors study here!
22. Your sense of smell is decreased while you sleep. 👃 Fire alarms were invented because we can’t ‘properly’ smell smoke while we’re asleep. Many studies have shown that while noise can wake you up, smells won’t.
23. Those born blind dream with senses other than sight- such as smell, sound and feelings!
24. You get a little taller when you sleep! 🛏 You increase in height because the discs in your spine rehydrate without the weight of your body weight pressing down on them, which is what happens when you stand up.
25. Two thirds of us experience recurring dreams.☁
26. Fear is said not to be the main emotion in nightmares. Surprising huh? Researchers have actually found that it’s more often feelings of sadness, guilt and confusion.
27. Sleep deprivation and stress go hand in hand. The stress hormone Cortisol is one of the key players responsible for the fight or flight response—that jolt of energy you get when you feel super stressed or threatened that enables you to respond. Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to excessive levels of cortisol, and this can disrupt healthy sleep patterns, in turn making you even more stressed!
28. Humans can sleep with their eyes open. 👀Yes, we can in fact sleep with our eyes open, which makes it almost impossible for you to tell whether someone is actually sleeping or not.
29. In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. 🏃However, exercising vigorously right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult.
We love a bit of yoga here at The Vurger Co.- Here are some of our favourite yoga postures to aid sleep, from Annie Clarke.
30. People that are paid more tend to get better sleep.💰🤑 Not very surprising though!
31. Naps are good! 👍No, this is not a drill folks! Several studies (including one from NASA and one from Harvard) have found that just a 20 to 30 minute nap increases our alertness and our productivity. You need to make sure you’re hitting that 20 to 30 minute sweet spot though- too long and you’ll fall into a deep sleep that can leave you feeling even groggier- too short and you don’t have time to reach the correct restorative sleep phase! If you’re lucky enough to be able to lie down for 90 minutes, your body should have time to make it through one complete sleep cycle where you go from the lightest stage through the deepest stage of sleep and back again, so you’ll wake feeling refreshed. It’s believed sleeping for this long has been shown to boost memory and creativity! Woo!
32. Lucid dreaming is when we are aware that we have entered a dream state and are able to gain control over what happens in said dream! Cool huh?! Learn the ins and outs of lucid dreaming and how to make it happen for you here!
Our Favourite Books on Sleep 📖
THE VURGER CO. FAVOURITES
Other recommended reads:
Best For: Learning more about the science behind sleep and our health The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep- William C. Dement and Christopher Vaughan
Got some spare time?
Take this awesome quiz here to find out what kind of a sleeper you are!*
*Created as part of a project by Dreem and The National Sleep Foundation.
That’s all for now folks!
The Vurger Co.