Sleep is an absolutely essential and indispensable part of a living being’s regime. Almost all mammals, birds, fishes and reptiles require a certain amount of sleep to function properly. Although, scientists haven’t deciphered the process entirely, here are 10 fun facts about sleep you need to know-
#1 You think you are sleeping
Well not really. While you think you are sleeping; your body is functioning to keep your relaxed and calm. During sleep, your body releases important hormones, cells repair themselves and brain recharges itself. There are many unknown facts about sleep. Sleep helps in stimulating your heart, it is very important for people with high blood pressure to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep to reduce the risks of heart disease. It also helps you reduce weight and grow taller. Sleep is like a temporary paralysis and can also get you sexually aroused.
#2 Sleep Requirements
There are numerous unknown facts about sleep requirements. Every individual and every age-group has a different sleep requirement. Babies sleep more because during their sleep; their muscle and other growth development takes place. It is advisable that babies sleep no less than 16 hours. Teenagers require 8-10 hours of sleep. Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep. Adults above the age of 65 years, usually need 6-8 hours of sleep. The disorder or inability is sleep is called ‘insomnia’. This is usually proportional to age. However, with the increase in the levels of stress among youngsters, rates of insomnia has also increased. Many also face the difficulty to get out of bed, this is called ‘dysania’. This could be a symptom of anxiety, depression or resistance to face daily life challenges. ‘Parasomnia’ is the disorder of unnatural movements during sleep. 15% of people also sleep walk. Not walking up a sleepwalker is a myth. Sleep paralysis is term commonly heard and faced by 8% to 50% of people. It is usually caused for sleeping in a fixed position, lack of sleep, migraine, anxiety, stress and trauma. Hypnic or hypnagogic jerk is a common phenomena faced by people during their sleep. This state is a temporary spasm in the body while one is drifting off to sleep. Another interesting fact about sleep is that, its lack can also cause the difficulty in coping with pain.
#3 Men dream of Men
Men often dream about other men 70% of the time while women dream about men and women equally. Also, women are able to recall their dreams better than men. Often men are taught to be strong and aggressive, whereas girls are taught to be calm and social. Dreams are influenced by such teachings. Hence, men happen to see themselves competing with other men.
#4 We only dream about known faces
You won’t ever dream about someone whom you have never met. We dream about faces that we have met once in our life (whether you remember the face or not). Another interesting fact is even blind people dream but their dreams involve their other senses like emotions, touch and sound.
#5 The psychoanalysis of dreams
Sigmund Freud, who is known as the “Father of Psychoanalysis”, in his book, “The Interpretation of Dream” talks about the theory of dreams. According to him, our dreams signify our repressed desires. These desires are controlled by our id, ego and superego which dwell on our conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious. Sometimes when we are unable to recall our dreams, it is our superego suppressing it. Another theory linked to the idea of dreams is the Oedipus Complex. It is based on a Greek mythology where the protagonist, Oedipus married his mother (without the knowledge that she was his mother). Basically, in this case, the son wants to replace his father and therefore, wants to compete or kill his father. These desires dwell in the subconscious and these propagate the dreams. This same complex in girls is known as Electra Complex, where she wishes to replace her mother.
#6 Do you dream color?
We understand that your dreams are not movies or photographs but only 12% have black and white dreams. The percentage has been on decline ever since color televisions came into existence.
#7 Who hardly sleeps?
While you may feel that your parents or grandparents hardly sleep, the truth is giraffe sleeps for only 1.9 hours. Koalas on the other hand sleep for 22 hours. Human beings spend approximately 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Cats spend almost 2/3 of their lives sleeping. Facts about sleep and its pattern in animals is very interesting. Whales rarely sleep. Dolphins sleep with one eye. Elephants sleep for three-four hours. Lions sleep for 18-20 hours and lioness for 15 hours. Bat sleep for 20 hours. Dogs sleep for 12 hours.
#8 Staying Up
There are numerous reasons why you want to keep yourself awake. Human beings are the only creatures that willingly delay sleep. British soldiers found a way out to keep themselves up for 36 hours. They wear special visors that focuses the brightness of sunlight onto the eyes and ensured they stayed awake.
The record of ‘longest time without sleep’ was made in the year 1964 by a student in San Diego, California named Randy Gardner. He stayed awake for 11 days 24 minutes.
Many use caffeine as supplement to control sleep. Coffee is one of the preferred drinks.
#9 Sleep or Food – Which is more important?
We bet you must have answered food, however, the correct answer is sleep. In fact an individual will die of food deprivation after 2 weeks while s/he will die of sleep deprivation in just 10 days. Sleep depravity can cause heart diseases, obesity, fatigue, depression, head aches and eating disorders. People who sleep less, usually tend to have a larger appetite.
#10 Personality check
Your sleeping position gives away a lot about your personality. People who sleep in the fetal position are said to be shy when you first meet them, therefore the crouched position which acts like a shell, basically defining their reluctance to open up at first. 41% of human beings adopt this position, majority of them are women.
People who sleep in the log position are usually social, friendly, carefree and trusting. These traits also make them gullible. 12% of human beings sleep in this position.
The yearner position sleepers are usually open-minded, yet cynical and suspicious at times. They are slow in making their decisions, but once they decide on something, they are stern-headed about it.
8% of human beings sleep in the soldier position. Such sleepers are reserved and quiet. They have high expectations about themselves and others around them. Also, they adhere to their morals strictly.
Freefall position sleepers are bold, open and playful. Despite their free spirit, they are not comfortable with criticism and happen to crave control.
People who sleep in the starfish position are helpful, loyal and kind. They prioritize their loved ones. They do not seek attention. Their reaching out arms signify their willingness to help and love.
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