Research shows that you’ll sleep better during a new moon and worse during a full moon, although the reasons are unclear.
The record for the longest period without sleep is 11 days and 24 minutes. The record holder, Randy Gardner, exhibited concentration problems, short-term memory loss, paranoia and hallucinations.
The continuous brain recordings that led to the discovery of REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep were not conducted until 1953, partly because scientists were concerned about wasting paper.
Most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years.
After 5 nights of partial sleep deprivation, 3 drinks will have the same effect on your body as 6 would when you’ve slept enough.
Humans sleep on average around 3 hours less than other primates like chimps, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.
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.
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.
Our ability to react to smell changes when we’re asleep, as in they won’t wake us up. In a study conducted by Brown University, volunteers were exposed to scents during sleep. They showed an absolute lack of response to different smells ranging from peppermint to the same smoke they would have smelled during a house fire, even when fitted with a chin strap to force them to breathe through their nose.
Alcohol actually makes you sleep worse than better. While it will make you fall asleep faster and initially deeper, the difficulties come later in the night. REM sleep is greatly reduced after even just two drinks, and those who do manage to hit REM sleep are more likely to suffer from a nightmare. This increases the likelihood of being broken up by uncomfortable feelings later in the night.
Going on the previous fact, women tend to feel this more than men, as their bodies usually process alcohol faster.
Parents of new babies miss out on 6 months worth of sleep in the first 2 years of their child’s life.
Sleep walking is most likely to happen between the ages of 3 and 7.
Lack of sleep can cause weight gain of 2 pounds in under a week.
It’s impossible to sneeze while sleeping.
John Lennon sometimes liked to sleep in an old coffin.
Neuroscientists believe babies don’t dream for the first few years of their life.
Sleepwalking is evolving into more extreme things such as sleep-texting and ‘sleep-emailing.’ According to professors at New York University, the act of texting and answering alerts on our phones has become so ingrained in us that it’s crossing the boundaries between being asleep and being awake.
During WWI, a Hungarian man was shot in the frontal lobe, making it impossible for him to fall asleep. He continued to live a full, sleepless life.
In darkness, most people eventually adjust to a 48-hour cycle- 36 hours of activity followed by 12 hours of sleep. No one is really sure why.