11 Weird, Funny, Scary, and Useful Sleep Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
Nothing is more normal or common than sleep. But how much do you really know about it? Test your knowledge with these 11 wild sleep facts.
Sleep can be an utterly mysterious thing. We need lots of it, spending about a third of our lives asleep. But there’s a lot about it that we don’t know, such as how dreams work, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re asleep. All that being said, there’s a lot we do know, too. If you want to learn some of the craziest sleep facts we’ve come across, scroll on down. It’s time for the 11 best sleep facts of all time (we think so, at least!).
11 Bizarre Sleep Facts to Ponder Tonight
You know that humans spend about ⅓ of our lives sleeping. But did you know that cats spend a full ⅔ of their lives asleep? Yes! On average, they sleep for 2 out of every 3 hours of the day. If you’re a cat owner, then you probably suspected as much…
1. Sleep deprivation is a serious subject with serious consequences. In fact, studies have shown that going too long without sleep has the same effect on the brain as drinking alcohol. According to the CDC, “Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. This is higher than the legal limit (0.08% BAC) in all states.” AKA, get some sleep. At least before you get behind the wheel.
Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. This is higher than the legal limit (0.08% BAC) in all states.
2. Ever wondered just how long a person can go without sleep? Well, thankfully somebody already tried it out so that we don’t have to. In 1964, a man named Randy Gardner set the record at 264 hours. That’s about 11 days without sleep. No thanks!
3. It is commonly thought that humans are the only animals that actually put off going to sleep. In other words, when any non-human animal gets tired, it just goes to sleep. We’re the only ones that delay sleep, whether for work or play or anything else. Maybe we have a thing or two to learn from our feline friends after all.
4. Believe it or not, sleep actually makes us taller. For a little while, anyway. Through the night, the human body grows a tiny bit — about half an inch, or even less. When we wake up, get out of bed, and start moving around, that extra height goes away as the body compresses again due to the normal effects of gravity.
5. For some people, dreams are actually in black and white. It’s thought that roughly 12% of all people dream exclusively without any color imagery.
For some people, dreams are actually in black and white. It’s thought that roughly 12% of all people dream exclusively without any color imagery.
6. Speaking of dreams, have you ever had a vivid dream only to wake up and remember practically none of it? This is actually the normal case for most people. Data tend to show that people forget more than 90% of their dreams shortly after waking up.
7. If you’ve ever been on the verge of falling asleep but jerked awake suddenly, almost as if you were falling, then you’ve experienced something called a hypnagogic jerk (also called a “hypnic jerk” or “sleep twitch” among many other names). These are basically muscle spasms, and they’re extremely common, being experienced by as much as 70% of the population.
8. Here’s another wild sleep fact: We still don’t actually know why we dream. You read that correctly. While researchers have theories, they still don’t really have a solid answer for why we dream when we’re asleep or what purposes it’s supposed to serve us.
We still don’t actually know why we dream.
9. According to at least one study, even people who were born blind, who have never been able to see the world, still have visual imagery in their dreams. That might be the most intriguing fact on this list!
10. While most of us need at least 8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested and functional, some people have a rare genetic mutation that allows them to sleep less and still function just fine. But don’t go getting your hopes up: it’s thought that only about one in every four million people has this version of the gene.
While most of us need at least 8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested and functional, some people have a rare genetic mutation that allows them to sleep less and still function just fine. But don’t go getting your hopes up: it’s thought that only about one in every four million people has this version of the gene.
11. We saved one of the most surprising sleep facts for last: Experts actually recommend that, if you haven’t fallen asleep after about 20 minutes of lying in bed, then you should get up and go do something else for a little bit. It might seem counterintuitive, but experts point out that it’s extremely important to associate your bed with sleep. So, if you’re not asleep but you’re lying in bed, it can actually exacerbate the problem. Tonight, if you’re not asleep in 20 minutes or so, get up and read a book for a few minutes, then try again. It’s important that you don’t watch TV or use your phone or computer. The light will only make falling asleep harder.
Sleep Facts for Better Sleep
For many, these sleep facts are a fun way to learn about sleep and dreams. But they can also be a helpful way for some people to get to sleep faster and have a healthier relationship with their sleeping routines overall. Next, we recommend brushing up on sleep hygiene to find out what you can do right now to get better rest and relaxation tonight. And if you need a little something extra, you can always add a new pillow or sheet set to the mix, too...