We all know that sleep is a very important part of everyday life. Most of what we know about sleep has come about in just the last 25 years. We might think we know all there is to know about sleep, but here are a few facts about sleep that may surprise you.
Dolphins are very unique in their way of sleep. One half of their brains are awake while the other half is asleep. This is called “unihemispheric sleep.” Dolphins also sleep for, 1/3 of their lives, just like humans.
The word “catnap” means short sleep. Some people take catnaps with their eyes open and may not even be aware of it.
When a person wakes up in the morning, half of a dream is forgotten in the first 5 minutes. 90% of the dream is gone within the first 10 minutes.
12% of people dream only in black and white.
People can survive longer without food than without sleep.
A snoring partner affects a non-snoring partner by waking the non-snorer an average of 20 times per night, making the non-snorer lose approximately 1 hour of sleep each night.
Our brains are more active during sleep than they are while watching television. Sleeping also burns more calories than watching television.
The phrase “good night, sleep tight” came from woven mattress bed frames that were tightened with a key when the ropes started to sag.
The largest bed ever made was in Great Britain. It was built in 1596, measured 11 feet by 11 feet, and could sleep 12 people comfortably.
The famous Charles Dickens was an insomnia sufferer. He claimed that he could fall asleep fastest by sleeping in the middle of the bed, facing north.
How many of these sleep facts did you already know? For more information on these fun sleep facts, visit HERE
Every night our routine is the same. We put on our cozy pajamas, wash our face, brush our teeth, and then climb into bed. But rather than close our eyes and think of all the wonderful things that happened in the day and then drift off to sleep, we grab for our smartphones or tablets and begin the scrolling marathon. We check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Reddit, Pinterest…. the list goes on and on. Before you know it, you just spent 30 minutes in Internet land when you could have been blissfully asleep.
But thanks to a study published by the journal Preventive Medicine, we now have a compelling reason to put the phone down – and not just at bedtime.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine released findings showing that young adults who spend many hours on social media during the day or who check in frequently are more likely to experience sleep problems. The study analyzed questionnaires of 1,788 U.S. adults ages 19-32 regarding the top 11 social media platforms:
“On average, study participants spent a total of 61 minutes per day on social media and accessed their various social media accounts 30 times per week.
“Nearly 30 percent of participants reported high levels of sleep disturbance. Perhaps even more telling? The young adults who reported the highest levels of social media use on a daily basis were twice as likely to experience sleep problems and those who spent the most time on social media throughout the week were three times more likely to have problems sleeping.
‘This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep,’ lead author Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt’s Department of Psychiatry, said in a statement. ‘[The findings] may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media.’”
For the full article, click HERE.
So put down those phones, log off the Internet, and enjoy the day. Keeping your phone out of your bedroom will help set up a more restful environment. For more tips on how to set up a sleep-friendly bedroom, visit our blog Tips for Creating The Perfect Sleep Environment.
Ever wonder where your city ranks for getting the best night’s sleep?
Here’s a study that has the answer. Find out if your city made the top 10.
“Sleep in the City” Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness
A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night’s sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep while Detroit was identified as the least likely city in which to wake up. New York City is notorious for being “the city that never sleeps.” Perhaps that’s why it was ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.
The analysis was based on five criteria, including:
- Happiness index
- Number of days when residents didn’t get enough rest or sleep during the past month
- Average length of daily commute
- Divorce rates
- Unemployment rates
Best Cities for Sleep
- Minneapolis, MN
- Anaheim, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Raleigh-Durham, NC
- Washington, DC
- Northern NJ
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- Austin, TX
- Kansas City, MO
Worst Cities for Sleep
- Detroit, MI
- Cleveland, OH
- Nashville, TN
- Cincinnati, OH
- New Orleans, LA
- New York, NY
- Las Vegas, NV
- Miami, FL
- San Francisco, CA
- St. Louis, MO
For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep overall. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night’s sleep. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.
For more information on this sleep study, visit HERE
Have you ever had trouble sleeping when you are in a new place? Do you toss and turn or easily wake when you travel or sleep somewhere other than your own bedroom? If so, you are not alone. According to a new study published in the journal “Current Biology,” it is a very normal occurrence for your first night’s sleep in new surroundings to be less than satisfactory.
Researchers at Brown University found that, similar to some animals, only half of the human brain “sleeps” the first night a person sleeps in a new environment. Research showed that the left hemisphere of the brain, the more logical and analytical side, was still actively “awake” throughout the night. The researchers believe that it is our brain’s way of “keeping watch” in unfamiliar territory. Though humans no longer worry about predators lurking in the darkness, our brains evolved during a time when that threat was very real.
So next time you are traveling or house sitting, plan accordingly, because your first night of sleep away from home will most likely not be as good as usual.
For more information, check out NPR’s article, “Half Your Brain Stands Guard When Sleeping In A New Place.”
We dedicate about a third of our lives to sleeping but why? This informative video from it’s OKAY to be SMART discusses the many reasons why we need to sleep, as well as the processes our bodies undergo while snoozing.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? One of the easiest ways to combat insomnia and sleeplessness is to utilize the benefits of natural essential oils. Whether you apply the oils topically, add them to a warm bath, diffuse them, or spritz* them onto your pillowcase or eyemask, certain essential oils provide relief for insomnia and aid in falling and staying asleep.
By now, many people know that lavender helps to soothe and relax tired minds and muscles. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.” It is also beneficial as a bug repellent and antibiotic, for all you avid campers.
This essential oil is one of my favorites for relaxation, probably because of its fragrant floral notes. It reduces stress and relaxes the nerves. I like to mix a couple drops of this with lavender or chamomile for added benefits.
Roman Chamomile has a sweet, fruity aroma. It has a calming effect, and is great to diffuse for a soothing and peaceful environment, i.e., one that promotes and supports sleep.
Bergamot is a good choice for someone who loves citrus scents, but it is much more calming than the more stimulating oils of grapefruit or tangerine. It is great for “clearing your head” in preparation for a peaceful night’s rest.
This essential oil is extracted from the root of the vetiver plant. It has a warm, earthy scent, and promotes sleep while also relieving stress and muscle tension.
* I recommend adding a couple drops of essential oil to a water-based spritzer so the oil does not stain your bed linens.
It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?
According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep! For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html