We spend about a third of our lives asleep, so it’s pretty crazy how little most of us know about it. Which is why we set out to uncover some of the weirdest and most wonderful facts about sleep that will certainly take you by surprise…
- Night Owls vs Larks…
Do you struggle to go to sleep before the early hours of the morning? Research shows that some people – approximately 40 per cent of the population - really are genetically predisposed to both go to bed and wake up late. So it turns out they’re not just lazy after all…
- Sleep When Your Dead…
The longest anyone has ever stayed awake is 264 hours and 12 minutes. This world record was set in 1964 by 17-year-old Randy Gardner. He then slept for a solid 15 hours to recover.
- Sleep Paralysis
About 8% of the population will experience sleep paralysis – which is caused by two states of consciousness (asleep and awake) existing at the same time. It’s an extension of dreaming (REM sleep), and although terrifying, technically harmless.
It’s not possible to sneeze whilst sleeping, because the body relaxes part of our brain, including the part that triggers our sneeze reflex.
- Dreaming the Rainbow
Before colour tv was invented, only 15% of people could dream in colour. Now, 75% in the developed world claim to dream in colour, and a very small percentage of the population dream exclusively in black and white.
- The Stranger in Your Dream
Can’t place the people from your dream last night? Turns out you’ll definitely have seen them before, as we only dream of faces we’ve seen, even if we can’t remember them while awake.
You know that classic falling dream that makes you bolt awake? This actually has a name – hypnic jerks. Nobody is quite sure why they happen, but it’s thought it could be due to anxiety, caffeine or exercise close to bedtime.
- Drifting Off
The optimal time to fall asleep at night is about 10-15 minutes. If you fall asleep in less than 5, it’s likely that you’re sleep deprived!