10 Interesting Facts About Sleep

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Ah sleeping. Who doesn't love to sleep? We hit the pillow and drift off to dream land but what really happens when we sleep. Besides the obvious which is dream, toss and turn and drool, what other things go on in our bed while we are in a sleep coma?

I've always wondered about this and had to do a little digging on this one to find out what does go on. What I discovered surprised me. First and foremost, we all require sleep to survive, every single living being on the planet.   Without adequate sleep, our brain malfunctions meaning, we can't think properly.

Let me share some interesting and somewhat bizarre facts I found in my research.

1. Babies need 16 hours of sleep a day, adults over 65 only need about 6. They actually don't get that much and tend to take little naps several times a day. The average person should aim to get, and require, 8 hours sleep.

2. We only dream about people and faces we have already seen, whether or not we remember them when we are awake. Men dream about other men 70% of the time but women dream of men and women equally.

3. Dreaming is normal and 12% of people dream in black and white. Before we had colour TV, that number was much higher. People who don't dream have personality disorders (I want to look into this one more).

4. You will die from sleep deprivation before you starve to death.It takes about two weeks to starve to death but only 10 days to die from lack of sleep.

5. There is a link between your sleep position and your personality. People who like to sleep in the fetal position, for example, may appear confident however they are sensitive and somewhat insecure souls.

6. The higher the altitude, the harder it is to sleep. Because we are in a resting state in our sleep, our organs are resting as well, including the lungs though for those at higher altitudes, they have to work harder while we are sleeping which makes sleep somewhat disruptive.

7. It can take up to 15 minutes to fall asleep, if you aren't an insomniac, and humans are the only living species that will delay sleep for other activities. Animals know better and just go to sleep.

8. People who are in a higher income bracket generally are better sleepers and have no trouble falling asleep. (No surprise there, sweet dreams Bill Gates).

9. The average person wakes up about 4-6 times a night from things ranging from bad dreams to having to use the potty.

10. We spend about one third of our lives sleeping or approximately 25 years.

11. REM usually begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep and comes in bursts totalling 2 hours. It's said that though research shows that we only dream in REM it could actually be that we dream all night, though lightly, which might be the dreams we don't remember.

12. There is still no real valid explanation as to why men experience erections during REM though they believe it may be just due to a full bladder. With that said however, men and women can have orgasms while sleeping and these can be some of the best they've had (or maybe the only?)

13. Koala bears sleep about 22 hours a day with bats following close behind with about 19 hours. Giraffes on the other hand only get about 2 hours of sleep which comes in the form of 5 to 10 minute sessions.

14. When dolphins sleep, only half of their brain shuts down, with the other half required to stay awake to help with their breathing cycles.

15. Blind people experience sensory dreams meaning, sound, feel, touch and smell.

A few other fun facts are that 1 out of every 50 teenagers still wets the bed, 1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds (this apparently due to heavy snoring or night sweats) and we forget our dreams within 10 minutes of waking up.

Scientists still have no clue why all living beings require sleep to survive. Very interesting to say the least.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.