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22 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Sleep…

About Sleep

Is your bed one of your favourite places? Did you know us humans spend over 30% of our entire lives asleep – that’s over 25 years if you live to the ripe old age of 75! Despite this, the majority of us aren’t aware of what actually happens to our minds and bodies during this time.  

So, how much do you know about sleep? You may well invest in securing a better night sleep, with expensive items like luxury bed sheets, a luxury headboard or an expensive memory foam mattress, but do you ever think about snoozy facts? We’ve put together these fun and interesting facts about sleep you might not have been aware of…


We sleep for 30% of our lives. Okay, so we’ve already given you this one, but it’s pretty weird to this that us humans spend a third of our lives sleeping.


We can survive longer without food than they can without sleep. There are documented cases of a few people lasting 25 days without food, much longer than we can survive without sleep. The world record holder staying awake is Randy Gardner, a 17-year-old high school student who stayed awake for 264 hours – which is around 11 days –  for a science fair project in 1965.

While he was technically still awake at the conclusion of the project, he was totally dysfunctional by the end.


12% of people dream entirely in black and white.  This study revealed that before colour television was introduced, only 15% of people dreamt in colour whilst older people dream in black and white more often than younger people.


In 1894, Russian scientist Marie Mikhaïlovna de Manacééne conducted one of the first experiments on extreme sleep deprivation. She found that when she deprived puppies of sleep, they all died within four or five days, despite every effort to keep them alive. The younger the puppy, the more quickly it died.

Two-thirds of a cat’s life is spent asleep


Two-thirds of a cat’s life is spent asleep. While we spend a third of our lives asleep, our feline friends actually spend around 60% of there lazy life asleep.


If you have real trouble getting out of bed, it might not just be laziness. “Dysania” is the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning – and those suffering from Dysania find it particularly difficult. It is most likely to be a form of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


You did WHAT in your sleep? Unnatural movements during your sleep are called “Parasomnia”, and this doesn’t just refer to sleepwalking. People have even committed crime due to parasomnia, including sleep driving and even murder.


The word “sleep” actually derives from the Proto-European base *sleb, which means “to be weak,” and is related to “slack.”


This probably won’t come as a surprise to the mums and dads reading, but during the first two years of a baby’s life, their parents will miss six months of sleep on average.


Do you or a partner jerk when you’re falling asleep? Well, the sensation of falling when half asleep and jerking yourself awake is actually called ‘hypnic jerks’. There’s no real explanation as to why this happens, but they are deemed to be perfectly healthy. However, they may be increased by anxiety, caffeine and exercise before bed.


Trouble sleeping? Did you know that there are at least 84 identified sleep/wake disorders.


According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 15% of the world’s population are sleepwalkers.


It’s also a total myth that you shouldn’t wake someone who is sleepwalking.

Couple Sleeping on Opposite Sides of Bed


1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds. If you share a bed, then approximately 50% of your sleep disturbance is caused by your partner, so this may help you sleep a lot better.


Blind people still dream. People who are born blind still experience dreams involving things such as emotion, sound and smell rather than sight. Also, the timing of the blindness in a person’s life can impact what that person dreams about.


Within 5 minutes of waking up you will forget 50% of what you were just dreaming about. After 10 minutes, it’s likely over 90% of the recollection of your dream is gone. This is likely due to your brain simply being used much more as soon as we’re awake and so you forget much of what you’ve dreamed about.


What position do you sleep in? Research done by Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, revealed that 41% of the British population sleep in the foetal position – through 5 other sleeping positions have been identified: the log, yearner, starfish, soldier and free faller.


During the night, you will move back and forth between “quiet sleep” and “deeper, active sleep”. We go through four or five 90-110 minute rounds of this basic quiet/active sleep cycle each night. Where you are disturbed during these cycles affects your sleep quality and awakeness the following day.


If your normal nightly sleep duration is either unusually short, so less than four hours, or unusually long, more than nine or 10 hours, you have a higher-than-average risk of dying prematurely. Stick the recommended 7-8 hours!


Us humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep – all others simply go to sleep whenever and wherever there feel the need to. Maybe we should rethink our ways?


Do you suffer from bad indigestion? Apparently, sleeping on your front can aid digestion. Positioning your hands above your pillow so you’re in the ‘freefall’ position, will help you digest your food better and laying on your left side can apparently help reduce heartburn.


You don’t feel “fear” when you have nightmares. In fact, research suggests that it is most often feelings of sadness, guilt and confusion that are felt during classic nightmares, which kind of make sense.

Feel more intuned with your sleep now? Sleep is actually pretty fascinating when you like about it, right? Maybe you’ll dream a little better after reading these facts…

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