With sleep being such an important part of our lives, it only makes sense to study this valuable action. Today’s world of modern technology and abundance of data, allows us to better understand our dreamlands and how we are effected by them. Along the way we learn some interesting and random facts. The National Sleep Foundation presents many sleep studies including an article listing the most recent discoveries in sleep. We share these interesting statistics with you and expand on why some of the facts effect our sleep, usually for the worse.
Sleep Delays and Disruptions
Believe it or not, man is the only mammal that freely delays their sleep. Due to our willingness to delay our sleep, we often need more naps to make up for the lost sleep time at night. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. While some say they function without drowsiness, having only six hours of sleep. At around 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM we naturally feel tired and our alertness drops severely. There are some individual differences in the need for a nap. While the majority of adults and children could benefit from napping, teens desire an afternoon nap often due to not sleeping enough at night. Overall one of the primary causes of tiredness during the day is sleep deprivation which we self-impose.
Infants sleep a total of 14 to 17 hours a day, leaving them with about one to three hours at time awake. While infants learn to form a sleep schedule, it takes time and a routine. The same method can be applied to adults who keep a sleep schedule. If an adult works a night shift, the body struggles immensely to function, however the body does not ever completely adjust to a night shift routine. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise in keeping yourself healthy. According to the International Classifications of Sleep Disorders, shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.
Sleep for Health
As we stated before, regular exercise helps with sleeping better during the night. In the same way, people who do not get adequate sleep are likely to wake up hungry because their leptin levels (a hormone the regulates our appetite) decreases. Those who work night shifts have an increased risk of chronic illnesses such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases according to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.
Where You Sleep
Surprisingly, those who sleep at higher altitudes, specifically 13,200 feet or more find they have more sleep deprecations. Lower oxygen levels are the culprit to the sleep struggles. It is recommended to take a few weeks to adjust to the altitude and plan more time to sleep until adjusted. While sleep can happen practically anywhere, the NSF Sleep in America Poll presented that 34% of those who responded in their study stated their employer allowed for them to nap during breaks, and even provided a place for them to rest.
Regular exercise helps with falling asleep as well as contributes to an overall deeper sleep. However, on the contrary, infrequent exercise or doing aerobics right before sleep can make sleeping even more difficult. While eight out of ten people stated that they believe people misuse prescription sleep aids, caffeine is the most popular drug in the world. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, cocoa, chocolate and some drugs, so it is easy to see why this aid to avoid drowsiness takes the lead.
Animals and Sleep
From the most rested animal to those that function on just a few hours of sleep, the world of animal’s zzz is fascinating. For example, most of a cat’s life, two thirds in fact is spent asleep. That is a lot of sleep compared to the roughly one third of our life that humans sleep. Giraffes on the other hand need very little sleep a day, specifically only 1.9 hours. And, bats sleep most of the day receiving a total of roughly 19.9 hours of sleep.
Sporadic Statistics on Sleep
Through many studies we know that sleep is important for healthy routines, normal functions, and productive days. As more sleep studies take place, the more we learn about this wonderful one third part of our life.