21 Weird Facts About Sleeping You Probably Didn't Know About

I love sleep, but it’s admittedly a very odd thing we all have to do.

It can also be rather scary from time to time.

Of course, most of us have had a nightmare, but only a few of us will have woken up in the middle of the night, unable to move.

I mean just imagine it. You’ve gone to bed, then a few hours later your eyes are suddenly open and you can’t move. But you can still feel, hear, and see everything around you!

Your mind is awake but you can’t move, you panic and suddenly realize you’re awake in a nightmare.

It sounds like something straight out of a Stephen King novel, but it’s actually a common problem.

There are a lot of things that happen to us while we’re asleep and it’s both incredible and strange!

Seriously, who would have thought that sleeping would be so complicated?

1. Lack of Sleep Could Shorten Your Life and Make You Fat

Getting less than six hours sleep on a regular basis can drastically shorten your lifespan.

Just a week of sleep deprivation can cause you to gain two pounds in one week! Lack of sleep also causes food cravings, especially for sugary or salty foods, and for larger portions.

Lack of sleep also causes food cravings, and can even cause you to eat larger portions.

2. If You Feel Drowsy, You’re Likely Sleep Deprived

According to sleep experts, if you feel sleepy during the day, even during boring activities, then you haven’t had enough sleep.

Also, if someone falls asleep in less than five minutes after lying down, then they’re suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

Usually, it should take anywhere between 10-15 minutes to fall asleep.

3. Sleep Is a Wonderful Memory Aid

It’s been proven time and time again that sleeping right after you learn something new can drastically improve your ability to remember it!

4. Falling Half-Asleep Is Real 

For humans, it’s merely an expression, but for whales and dolphins, it’s actually a survival skill.

Both whales and dolphins literally fall half-asleep so they can continue surfacing to breathe.

5. Before The Alarm Clock

Before the alarm clock was invented, people were actually hired as personal alarm clocks to wake people up. They were called “knocker-ups” and they woke people up by knocking on your window with a long stick.

6. 19 Days Awake

The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes, so almost 19 days! 

This record was set during a rocking chair marathon!

The record holder, unfortunately, experienced blurred vision, slurred speech, hallucinations, and lapses in his memory.

7. Cats Love Sleep

Most of us spend one-third of our lives asleep, but cats actually spend a whopping 70% of their lives asleep.

8. Different Food Can Affect Your Sleep 

Caffeine isn’t the only thing that will keep you up at night. Protein can actually keep you awake and alert while carbs will make you sleepy.

9. You’ll Never Dream About Someone You Haven’t Seen Before

We’re only able to dream about faces we’ve already seen, either from a picture, on TV, or from a crowd of people, regardless if we remember them or not.

10. Dreams Fade Insanely Fast

Within five minutes of waking, 50% of a dream is forgotten, and within 10 minutes, 90% of it is forgotten.

So, if you want to remember a fun or weird dream, write it down as soon as you can!

11. Nightmares May Be a Symptom of Health Issues

The occurrence of nightmares could be a result of heart conditions, migraines, or even sleep deprivation!

12. Humans Can Delay Sleeping

Humans are the only mammals known to willingly and consciously put off going to sleep. This is an ability that is as helpful as it is detrimental.

13. Getting More Sleep Will Help Your Sex Life

Sleep deprivation has been consistently linked with a low libido and less interest in sex.

14. The Cure for Jetlag

During an experiment in 1998, they found that shining a bright light on the back of the knee can actually reset the brain’s sleep rhythm!

15. The Dreaming Process 

Certain types of eye movements during REM sleep actually match up with specific movements in dreams.

This suggests that the dreaming process is much like watching a film.

16. Elephants Can Sleep Standing Up 

Elephants tend to sleep standing up during non-REM sleep. But, when they’re experiencing REM sleep, they lie down!

17. Light and Noise 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise for you that light and sound are your worst nightmare when it comes to sleep.

Those small rays of light from your digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle, even if you don’t wake up fully.

Sound works in a similar way.

18. Babies Affect Parents’ Sleep Schedules

Surprise, surprise!

A newborn baby results in 400-750 hours of lost sleep for the parents in the first year alone.

Meaning, new parents will miss out on roughly six months of sleep in the first two years of their child’s life. Ouch! 

19. Caused by Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is bad news for everyone. Sleep deprivation can actually be dangerous as it caused many disasters like the Chernobyl nuclear accident. 

That was put down as the result of sleep-deprivation.

20. REM vs. Non-REM 

REM and Non-REM dreams are actually able to change your dreams.

The dreams differ quite a bit.

REM dreams usually feature bizarre plots, while non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with very little imagery.

21. Thinking You Slept Well Can Help

Just believing you’ve slept well, even if you haven’t, can actually dramatically improve your performance throughout the day. 

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