Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know…

Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know…
(Or Were Too Tired To Think About)
  1. Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.

  2. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.
    PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

     

  3. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night 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.
  4. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year
  5. One of the best predictors of insomnia later in life is the development of bad habits from having sleep disturbed by young children.
  6. The continuous brain recordings that led to the discovery of REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep were not done until 1953, partly because the scientists involved were concerned about wasting paper.
  7. REM sleep occurs in bursts totaling about 2 hours a night, usually beginning about 90 minutes after falling asleep.
  8. Dreams once thought to occur only during REM sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It’s possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.
  9. REM dreams are characterized by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery – obsessively returning to a suspicion you left your mobile phone somewhere, for example.
  10. Certain types of eye movements during REM sleep correspond to specific movements in dreams, suggesting at least part of the dreaming process is analogous to watching a film
  11. No-one knows for sure if other species dream but some do have sleep cycles similar to humans.

    OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay
  12. Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep but lie down for REM sleep.
  13. Some scientists believe we dream to fix experiences in long-term memory, that is, we dream about things worth remembering. Others reckon we dream about things worth forgetting – to eliminate overlapping memories that would otherwise clog up our brains.
  14. Dreams may not serve any purpose at all but be merely a meaningless byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations – sleep and consciousness.
  15. REM sleep may help developing brains mature. Premature babies have 75 per cent REM sleep, 10 per cent more than full-term babys. Similarly, a newborn kitten puppy rat or hamster experiences only REM sleep, while a newborn guinea pig (which is much more developed at birth) has almost no REM sleep at all.
  16. Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.
  17. British Ministry of Defense researchers have been able to reset soldiers’ body clocks so they can go without sleep for up to 36 hrs. Tiny optical fibres embedded in special spectacles project a ring of bright white light (with a spectrum identical to a sunrise) around the edge of soldiers’ retinas, fooling them into thinking they have just woken up. The system was first used on US pilots during the bombing of Kosovo.
  18. Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.
  19. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role.
  20. The NRMA estimates fatigue is involved in one in 6 fatal road accidents.
  21. 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.
  22. The “natural alarm clock” which enables some people to wake up more or less when they want to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. Researchers say this reflects an unconscious anticipation of the stress of waking up.
  23. imageneserik / Pixabay

    Some sleeping tablets, such as barbiturates suppress REM sleep, which can be harmful over a long period.

  24. In insomnia following bereavement, sleeping pills can disrupt grieving.
  25. Tiny luminous rays from a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle even if you do not fully wake. The light turns off a “neural switch” in the brain, causing levels of a key sleep chemical to decline within minutes.
  26. To drop off we must cool off; body temperature and the brain’s sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. That’s why hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep. The blood flow mechanism that transfers core body heat to the skin works best between 18 and 30 degrees. But later in life, the comfort zone shrinks to between 23 and 25 degrees – one reason why older people have more sleep disorders.
  27. A night on the grog will help you get to sleep but it will be a light slumber and you won’t dream much.
  28. After five nights of partial sleep deprivation, three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six would when you’ve slept enough.
  29. Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates like chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.
  30. Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode.
  31. Ten per cent of snorers have sleep apnoea, a disorder which causes sufferers to stop breathing up to 300 times a night and significantly increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
  32. Snoring occurs only in non-REM sleep
  33. Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal
  34. Some studies suggest women need up to an hour’s extra sleep a night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men.
  35. Feeling tired can feel normal after a short time. Those deliberately deprived of sleep for research initially noticed greatly the effects on their alertness, mood and physical performance, but the awareness dropped off after the first few days.
  36. Diaries from the pre-electric-light-globe Victorian era show adult
  37. Most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years.
  38. 18 to 24 year-olds deprived of sleep suffer more from impaired performance than older adults.

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Synch Your Body’s Clock – Sleep Like A Baby!

You CAN Train Your Body To Know When It’s Time To Sleep

When you go to bed, and when you get up, is the cornerstone to perfectly restful and totally refreshing sleep. Learn to sync your biological clock, so your body will know when to sleep and when to be alert.

Wake At The Same Time Every Day

A good night’s sleep actually starts in the morning. From the very first moment you open your eyes, light begins a brisk morning run down the optic path and arrives at the brain – the body’s biological clock. There it stimulates the creation of a morning buffet of hormones regulating growth and reproduction. This cerebral chemical brunch controls patterns of eating, sleeping, thinking, and even memory.

Sunlight Activates The Brain

Activating your brain at the same time every morning synchronizes your body’s biological clock. Your body then has a clear direction that at midnight it’s supposed to be asleep – at noon it’s supposed to be awake. Wake up at a different time every day and your biological clock stays out of sync. You feel groggy and hungover for hours. Even when you start to feel alert after that first jolt of hot morning Java, you still never achieve the mental edge you’re capable of.

Hit the Sheets Only When You’re Sleepy

Only go to bed when you’re SLEEPY, not just tired. Sleepy, as in your eyes are droopy and you keep losing track of what people are saying to you.

Get Up! Don’t Just Toss and Turn!

Sleeping from 11:00 PM until 2:30 AM, then tossing and turning until 4, before finally sleeping until 6, will give you eight hours in bed but only 4-1/2 hours of real sleep. That can actually inhibit your sleep drive and cause insomnia. To prevent that sleep issue, when you wake at 2:30 AM, get up and go into the living room and read a book. Being up increases your sleep drive desire, and make you sleepy enough to actually fall asleep when you return to bed.

A VERY Important Point

If you can’t sleep, DON’T stay in bed. A part of your mind will begin to associate the bed with being awake rather than sleeping. That can turn on a nasty “I’m-not-sleeping!” anxiety. This kind of anxiety can “rev your engines” when you get into bed. It’s one of the most insidious – and potent – causes of chronic insomnia.

Give Yourself at LEAST One Hour

Take one hour right before bed to prepare to sleep. You need this hour to wind down, prepare your mind, and transition from the one-who-can-do-everything into the one-who-can-sleep. Unfortunately, most people do not give themselves any sleep preparation time.

According to a 2007 poll, during the hour before bed 60 percent of us do household chores, 37 percent take care of children, 36 percent do activities with other family members, 36 percent are on the Internet, and 21 percent do work related to their jobs.

DANGER – Sunday Night Insomnia

Staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights and sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings is frequently the reward we give ourselves after a hard week at work. Yet that little gift – even as small as it is – is enough to upset your biological clock. When you go to bed early on Sunday – your body clock is out of sync – you will not be ready to sleep. As a result you will not be the rested, smiling, happy camper that your co-workers expect Monday morning.

Follow these simple guidelines and “Sync Your Body’s Clock – Sleep Like A Baby!”

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Sensory Deprivation Alleviates Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

If you don’t know what a sensory deprivation tank is, don’t worry. You’re not alone.  Primarily used for relaxation and meditation, there is some promising evidence that suggests that some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia could be treated or at least kept at bay by frequent sessions.


Flotation REST is a form of Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) that uses a shallow pool of heavy water about the size of a large bed. The water is made heavy by super- saturating it with Epsom Salt (MgSO4) to the point that a person floats on his or her back effortlessly on the surface of the water like a cork. The water is heated to skin temperature and the pool is enclosed in a lightproof, soundproof environment. This device, invented by Dr. John C Lilly, effectively removes external stimulation and creates a neutral environment that gives the feeling that one is floating comfortably in space.

Other symptoms like insomnia, depression, and anxiety are more speculative in their beneficial claims but there are studies connecting the decrease of stress and the decrease of each of these things as well. Another interesting link is the theory that fibromyalgia could be closely linked with the body’s lack of proper levels of magnesium, an element that is incredibly prevalent in the same medical-grade Epsom salt that is used in sensory deprivation tanks in order to increase buoyancy.

There is still much more study to be done in linking the effects of sensory deprivation tank therapy and fibromyalgia but there could be promising results on the horizon. More information can be found out about the Fibromyalgia Float Project here.

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