20 Unexpected Facts About Sleep

20 Unexpected Facts About Sleep

Although sleep plays a large role in our lives, aspect of it still remains a scientific mystery. However, what we are certain of is the positive effects a proper nights sleep has on our bodies. Many of American aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deprivation. We have put together a list of 10 unexpected facts about sleep.

Sleep Facts You Should Know

How do The Sleep Requirements Of A Woman Differ From A Man?

Some studies suggest that women need an extra hour’s sleep a night compared to men. Not getting a full night’s sleep might be why women are more susceptible to depression.  Women are also more likely to have difficulty falling or staying asleep, which can result in daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and weight gain.

Sleep Is Important For Health 

Sleep is just as important to overall health as diet and exercise. Research shows that sleep plays a vital role in nearly every aspect of health, from diabetes to heart disease to depression. A proper night’s sleep is one of the most important lifestyle adjustments one can make, in addition to diet and exercise.

What Are The Major Causes Of Sleepwalking?

Insufficient sleep and irregular sleep schedules are major causes of sleepwalking in children. Sleepwalking is far more common in children than adults. Kids between ages 3 and 12 should be getting at least 10 hours a night.

Is It Possible To Tell Whether A Person Is In Sleep Or Awake?

It's impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. Some people have the ability to take short naps with their eyes open, without realizing it.

Survival Without Sleeping

 Humans spend a total of 25 years asleep during their lifetime.Most people can survive up to 2 months without eating, but only 11 days without sleeping. People have claimed to stay awake longer than 11 days straight, but the Guinness Book of World Records stopped keeping record on voluntary sleep deprivation because of the associated health risks. Sleep deprivation affects your overall quality of life, while putting your health at risk.

How You Can Repay Your Sleep Debt? 

 Though it may take some time, you can repay your sleep debt by sleeping an extra hour or two every night. (Don’t use an alarm clock if you don’t have to.)

Research From The UK On Sleep

Half of the pilots surveyed in a UK study admitted to having fallen asleep while flying a passenger plane. A third of these said that they had woken up to find their co-pilot asleep as well. UK pilots can currently go up to 18 hours without sleeping. Between 70 to 80 percent of sleep deprived pilots would not declare themselves unfit to fly out of fear of disciplinary action or being stigmatized by their employers.

Sleeping Hours Required For Maintaining The Life Expectancy Rate

Some sources say that sleeping less than 6 hours or over 9 hours per night reduces life expectancy. Research suggests that there’s a “sweet spot” for the proper amount of sleep, if you are concerned about living as long as possible. 

Sleep Helps in Building Immunity

Sleep provides essential support to the immune system. Getting sufficient hours of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defense that features strong innate and adaptive immunity, efficient response to vaccines, and less severe allergic reactions. Serious sleeping problems, including sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disruption, can interfere with the healthy functioning of the immune system.

How Altitude Affects Your Sleep 

Sleep at high altitudes is usually of poor quality. People who live in high altitude locations may adapt somewhat to thinner air, but it may still interrupt sleep because it requires the lungs to work harder to breathe. Those visiting high altitudes will definitely experience an increase in poor sleep as they are not accommodated to the change in atmosphere.

We Lack Sense of Smell While Sleeping

Interestingly, we do not smell while we sleep even though we think we do. The idea that we smell coffee in the morning only means that we have briefly awakened, and our sense of smell is awakened too. Generally, we smell nothing while we sleep, and any perceived smells may be dreamed.

Ideal Time It Takes to Fall Asleep 

Ideally it takes about 5 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. The average does not indicate any sleep problems if it takes more or less time for you to fall asleep. But, if you are falling asleep faster, it may indicate that you may be losing sleep, which is why you drift off quicker.

Some People Get a Black and White Dream

Not all dreams come in vivid color. On occasion you may dream in black and white like an old movie. Some people only dream in black and white. This phenomenon is believed to indicate a lack of emotion about the subject you are dreaming about. You’re simply detached from what is happening in the dream.

Humans are The Only Mammals That Can Detain Sleep 

Humans might be one of the only species that can’t keep half of their brain awake at a time. There’s a long list of animals that have the ability to sleep with only a part of their brain at a time. Dolphins, for example, can stay active for 15 days by only sleeping with half of their brain. This allows for them to stay on the lookout for sharks and make sure that they come up for air. Similarly, ducks can also sleep with half of their brain at a time. They sleep in rows, so the outer duck can be on the lookout and keep one eye open. While the inner ducks sleep with their whole brains.

Movements During Sleep Are Natural 

If you are an active sleeper, you may think that you are simply restless. But in fact, it is quite common to change sleeping positions frequently throughout the night. Most movement is with your arms and legs. Periodic limb movement does not disrupt natural sleep. The limb movements occur most frequently in light non-REM sleep. The repetitive movements are separated by fairly regular intervals of 5 to 90 seconds.  

Sleeping on Your Belly Can Improve Your Digestive Function

We all have a favorite sleeping position. But sleeping on your stomach may actually have some benefits. Gravity helps the waste travel from the small intestine to the large intestine. So, sleeping on your stomach aids the digestive process. If you have digestive issues, consciously sleeping on your stomach might help.

Sleep Deprivation May Reduce Pain Tolerance

In a recent study researchers found that a single night of sleep deprivation reduced a person's pain threshold by more than 15%. Good sleep helps you cope with pain more effectively and sleep loss makes pain worse. It confirms that sleep deprivation has a direct effect on how our brains process pain, leading to more intense pain the following day.

People Spend One-Third of Their Lives Sleeping 

We may feel like we are missing out on life when we sleep more, but the reality is that sleep is essential for waking health. Without good sleep, the quality of our life while awake is compromised. While we sleep one-third of our lives away, that only means we reap the benefits of that healthy sleep for the rest of the time we spend awake.

Sleep Deprivation Is More Deadly Than Food Deprivation

You may think that our bodies need food more than sleep, but it is just the opposite. Good sleep enhances the quality of our lives and keeps us healthy in a number of ways. While food is still essential, that period of fasting or that fad weight loss diet have less effect on your health than a good night’s sleep.

You Forget About Half of Your Dreams After Waking Up

It is during the deepest level of sleep, REM sleep, that we begin to dream. However, during this stage, many dreams are forgotten by morning. According to one theory about why dreams are so difficult to remember, the changes in the brain that occur during sleep do not support the information processing and storage needed for memory formation to take place.  

Final Thoughts

The more you know about your sleep, the more you can work to make sleep healthier. Just like diet and exercise, sleep is an essential part of how we live well. Know what makes you most comfortable when you sleep and how to achieve the right amount of sleep every night to improve your physical and mental well-being.

If you suffer with sleep apnea and are in need of a CPAP machine or other CPAP products, The CPAP Shop can help! Check out our website, or give us a call at 866-414-9700. Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to speak with you.


Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.