The science of sleep is a modern one – in fact most scientific information on sleep has been gained in the last 25 years. This is a list of 20 very interesting facts about sleep.
Facts 1 – 10
1. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses
2. Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode.
3. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.
4. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.
5. Dreams, once thought to occur only during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It’s possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.
6. Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates like chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.
7. Diaries from the pre-electric-light-globe Victorian era show adults slept nine to 10 hours a night with periods of rest changing with the seasons in line with sunrise and sunsets.
8. Most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years.
9. The extra-hour of sleep received when clocks are put back at the start of daylight in Canada has been found to coincide with a fall in the number of road accidents.
10. Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.