25 things you didn’t know about sleep
The best way to celebrate sleep might be, well, by sleeping. But a close second is World Sleep Day. On March 16 people around the world will honor sleep, making it a great day to learn more about its mysterious, restorative power. You can get started with a whole bunch of fascinating facts about our favorite daily ritual. Not only might you get a better night’s rest, you may never miss a sleep question at trivia night again.
1. Finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning really is a thing. It’s a condition called dysania.
2. It’s fairly common for English Bulldogs to have sleep apnea, thanks to their squishy faces.
3. People in ye olden times (think the sixteenth century and earlier), broke up their sleep into two segments during the night. They called them first and second sleep.
4. Studies show that you’re more likely to have a car crash on the Monday after changing to Daylight Saving Time. You can’t do much about the forced change in your Circadian rhythm, but you can go to bed a little earlier on the night of the time change to be extra alert. Or just skip the time change altogether.
5. As a cure for America’s national sleep deprivation epidemic, sleep experts have recommended we add siestas to our daily schedules. We’ll sleep to that!
6. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep to keep from floating away from each other. (Aww!)
8. People 35 and younger almost never dream in black and white, while people sixty-five and older have black-and-white dreams about twenty-five percent of the time. The common denominator? Childhood exposure to black-and-white TV.
9. Bottlenose dolphins give new meaning to “half asleep.” They shut down half their brains, along with the opposite eye. The other half stays awake to watch for predators and to signal them to breathe.
10. Experts say, if you don’t fall asleep after twenty minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing, like reading or gentle yoga.
11. Excessive internet use harms sleep because it encourages people to stay up later or use their devices in bed. Blue-light exposure further disrupts the sleep cycle, so use the iPhone’s Night Shift setting for better slumber.
12. Studies show that it takes five minutes longer to fall asleep on the nights surrounding a full moon, and you sleep twenty minutes fewer on those nights, too.
13. Cats sleep about fifteen hours a day, alternating between five-minute periods of deep sleep, and fifteen to thirty minutes of light dozing. They really do cat nap!
14. Almost half of Americans pray or meditate before going to sleep.
15. Nearly one-third of Britons sleep naked most nights.
16..Of the Americans with pets, more than half say they sleep with them.
17. You can convert your office into a nap pod Try an under-desk hammock or a desk that converts to a bed, and you could experience higher levels of focus and creativity. Once you wake up, of course.
18. Sleep hygiene is a variety of habits and practices that help you sleep well. Some of these might include a hot bath, winding down screen time early in the evening or reading a relaxing book. (Are you yawning yet?)
19. According to a recent study, seventy-one percent of Americans sleep next to their smartphones.
20. Writing down three things you’re grateful for before bed can help you sleep. #gratitude
21. For better sleep, avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and exercise during the day (but not too late in the evening—sorry, late-night gym rats).
22. Twenty-nine percent of workers report falling asleep or becoming very sleepy at work.
23. Sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.
24 A quiet trend is sleeping its way through the workforce. Companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Nike and Zappos are putting company-sponsored napping onto the daily schedule by adding nap rooms.
25. Researchers have compared a serious lack of sleep to being drunk. (Is a breathalyzer for sleep deprivation next?)
Whew! Now that we’ve learned all that new stuff, it might be time for a nap. You can improve your productivity, save your company money and celebrate World Sleep Day. A win-win-win.
Written by Kelley Walters
Want to learn more about sleep? Check out: