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Sleep Facts

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  1. Exposure to noise at night can suppress immune function even if the sleeper doesn’t wake. Unfamiliar noise, and noise during the first and last two hours of sleep, has the greatest disruptive effect on the sleep cycle.
  2. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lap
  3. One of the loudest snores recorded in Guinness World Records was 93 decibels (120db is a jet engine), by Kare Walkert of Kumla, Sweden, in 1993.
  4. If you fall asleep in less than five minutes at night it means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.
  5. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours of lost sleep for parents in the first year.
  6. Not all people dream in color. In fact, 12% of people dream exclusively in black and white. Additionally, people who become blind after birth can still see images in their dreams while those who never experienced sight have vivid dreams involving their other senses.
  7. Most mammals sleep for short periods of the day while human lives are broken into periods of sleep and wakefulness. However, our bodies are programmed for two periods of sleep: in the early morning (2-4 a.m.) and in the afternoon (1-3 p.m.).
  8. National Napping Day is March 14 and was first observed as an unofficial holiday in 1999.
  9. The appearance of facial skin can be improved by simply sleeping on the back. Side and stomach sleeping causes individuals to press wrinkles into their faces from constant contact with a pillow. Also, sleeping on one's back can help avoid morning puffiness from heat in the pillow.
  10. The word "apnea"  from sleep apnea comes from the Greek word meaning "without breath."
  11. Sleeping for too long increases cortisol in the skin leading to an increase in blemishes and acne. Sleeping too little suppresses the immune system leading to irritation such as rashes. Finding the right balance is essential to good skin health.
  12. It is thought that eating a lot of food too close to bedtime can cause you to have bad dreams. This is because eating increases your metabolism and signals the brain to be more active.
  13. Ninety percent of those suffering from fibromyalgia also have severe exhaustion or a sleep disorder. In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must express pain in 11 of 18 "tender point" sites on the body.
  14. Millions of travelers are affected by jet lag each year, but simple persistence can help decrease its effects. Margaret Thatcher, for example, has convinced herself that jet lag will not affect her. Individuals who are extroverted, exercise regularly and have a regular schedule are less likely to suffer from jet lag.
  15. Shift work sleep disorder is caused by an irregular work and sleep schedule often brought on by working night shifts and having very little time off. Shift work results in more than $70 billion per year in productivity and safety that results from reduced alertness. It is thought that the crew of the Challenger space shuttle were sleep deprived from working irregular shifts, which may have caused the flight's failure.
  16. Yawning has been observed as early as fetuses in the womb, but humans don't start responding to contagious yawning until about 5 years old.
  17. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is commonly misdiagnosed or completely overlooked. In adolescents, RLS is often diagnosed as growing pains; and in adults, RLS is commonly diagnosed as depression due to sleep deprivation.
  18. In 2011, 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled in America.
  19. Sleep debt is the accumulation of continuous sleep deprivation and is also known as chronic sleep loss. One in three Americans is carrying at least one hour of sleep debt.
  20. Contrary to popular belief, people do not actually learn new information during any stage of sleep, but rather, file important information and help it turn to memory. Authors and poets have reported waking up with fully written stories in their minds. Robert Louis Stevenson claimed to have thought of the plot for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his sleep. Samuel Taylor Coleridge fell asleep reading Purchas' Pilgrimage and awoke to find 200 lines of poetry in his head. The poem is the famous Kubla Khan. Giuseppe Tartini dreamed the devil played a beautiful piece of music. He attempted to write the violin piece once awake and named it "Trillo del Diavolo" or "Devil's Trill Sonata." These artistic creations were likely distortions of memories recovered during sleep that the artists perceived as dreams.
  21. According to a 2011 survey taken by the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of Americans use some sort of electronic device (cell phone, computer, television, tablet, etc.) within an hour of going to bed. Light produced by these devices slows the production of melatonin, increases alertness and pushes back the circadian rhythm. See the Poll Results
  22. Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon resulting in the inability to move or speak upon waking or falling asleep. It is referred to in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as a demon or "old hag" sitting on the chest of the victim preventing them from moving.
  23. The best time to work out is around five or six hours before planning to go to sleep. Exercising increases the body temperature and takes five to six hours to cool back down to its normal temperature. Cooler body temperatures make you feel sleepy.
  24. The fetal position is the most popular sleeping position. It can help alleviate snoring, stop sleep apnea symptoms, reduce acid reflux and prevent premature formation of wrinkles. It may also cause neck and joint pain in the morning.
  25. Only about 15 percent of cases of depression results in the person affected oversleeping. Most individuals with depression experience insomnia or some other sleep disturbing disorder.
  26. Charles Dickens took great pride in his sleep environment. He ensured that his bed was facing due north and he was exactly in the middle of his bed by measuring his distance from both sides. He went to these extreme measures because he felt that his efforts helped fight insomnia.
  27. Approximately 19 million Americans are affected by gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD or acid reflux). It is reported as the third leading cause of sleep disturbance in individuals between ages 45 to 64.
  28. Regular exercise offers many benefits including: increasing energy. reducing stress. improves immune system functioning. allows you to eat more, because of improved metabolism. strengthens the heart. helps fall asleep, and stay asleep longer.
  29. Driving while drowsy or sleep deprived results in the second leading cause of automobile accidents. The leading cause is alcohol-related accidents.
  30. Bruxism or teeth grinding is the most common sleep disorder affecting up to 90 percent of people with only about 5 percent with chronic Bruxism.
  31. Children and elderly individuals are first priority for flu vaccines as they are identified as at high-risk for infection. These groups also tend to be more sleep deprived, which lowers immune system functioning.
  32. Waking up feeling groggy is due to not getting enough sleep and attempting to wake out of stages of deep sleep. Most people hit their deepest sleep between 4 and 6 a.m., making it very difficult to wake up.
  33. During sleep, people tend to strengthen their emotional connection to memories. This may also help spur creativity, according to researchers at Harvard University and Boston College.
  34. Sleep talking, or somniloquy, occurs in around 50 percent of children and 5 percent of adults.
  35. Twenty-four percent of adults over 65 are diagnosed with four or more medical conditions, and, of those, 80 percent report having trouble sleeping.
  36. The word mattress is derived from the Arabic word matrah meaning "to throw down."
  37. Aromatherapy is proven to be one of the most ancient of natural sleep remedies as shown by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. They burned aromatic wood and used oils extracted from plants in honor of their gods.

There you have it! Over 30 fun facts about how we humans sleep.

Nothing can impact your sleep for better or worse than a great mattress. How about getting a quality mattress delivered to your door? Try Bed In A Box and check out our collection to see which is the best fit for you.