March may come in roaring like a lion, but at night it’s as quiet as a little mouse. Sound like a good environment for sleep? We agree, but a surprising (and growing) number of people have trouble getting a full night of sleep. When you “hit the hay” and “sleep like a rock”, you’re doing one of the single biggest things that benefit your overall health and longevity. So, what do you do when you lose sleep or seem only able to grab a quick cat nap?
The third month of the year features two massive campaigns geared toward the importance of a good night’s rest.
- March 10 to 16. The theme for Sleep Awareness Week (SAW) this year is “Begin With Sleep,” which reminds folks that sound sleep is the foundation for achieving success in all areas of your life —personally, socially and professionally.
- March 15 is World Sleep Day, a daylong event that educates people about sleep problems, namely how they can affect a person’s life and, most importantly, how to manage them.
Keep reading below to kickstart your knowledge about healthy snoozing with a collection of fascinating sleep facts.
1. The amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person.
For most of us, a good seven to nine hours sleep is what’s needed to function healthily from day to day, but that’s not always the case for everyone. The National Sleep Foundation says that some of us can get by happily with as little as six hours, while others can’t rev up their engines properly until they’ve snoozed for a solid 10.
So how do you know what’s best for you? Sleep specialist and author Dr. Michael Breus suggests going to bed exactly 7.5 hours before your normal wake time. “If you’re not waking up five minutes before your alarm after a week, push your bedtime back a half an hour and continue to do so until you can wake up without your alarm.”
2. Healthy sleep is just as important to your waistline as diet and exercise.
Hormones that control hunger can get all out of whack if you’re not getting adequate rest, leading folks to gobble up more calories throughout the day to fill the void. Moreover, sleep.com says that people who are sleep-deprived are not only simply hungrier, but their cravings for high-calorie, fatty foods, like chips, candy and pretzels, can shoot up by a whopping 45 percent. Be sure to prioritize sleep right along with your diet and workout routine—just don’t exercise right before bed, because that could have a reverse effect and keep you up.
3. You’re not the only one getting frisky when you’re snoozing.
Sleep.org says that sexsomnia is legit, and that about 8 percent of people have sleep sex while they’re in lala land. The reason is unclear, but it could have something to do with thoughts about sex before bedtime.
4. Urban White Noise
When we think about sleeping in a big city, our mind immediately goes to honking horns and rowdy people yelling from the busy streets below. That’s why you might be surprised to learn that people in London report sleeping 52% better than those who live in lesser populated areas in the UK. However, one noise that doesn’t seem to be appreciated is snoring. Almost 45% of adults snore, and their partners blame this as the top reason they’re not sleeping better. That’s probably why 1 in 4 people don’t share a bed with their spouse.
5. Don’t stay up and drive.
The Cleveland Center’s Sleep Disorder Clinic says that being up for 16 hours straight zaps your performance just as much as if you had a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent. That’s only .03 points below the legal limit!
6. Our dreams are crazy elusive.
Dreams are one of the most mysterious aspects about sleeping, which may have something to do with the fact that most people can’t remember 99 percent of them. The website Dreams says that most people forget 50 percent of their dreams five minutes after waking up, and then as much as 99 percent is gone after another five minutes. Good luck trying to keep that dream journal!
7. We sleep a lot.
Dreams, a British Web site about sleep, tells us that the average human spends one-third of their life sleeping. That’s a lot of time, but when you compare this to cats, it’s nothing. Cats spend two-thirds of their life sleeping…which sounds like a lot more than a catnap.
8. Ever jolt yourself out of sleep? There’s a term for that.
We’ve all experienced that scary sensation of jolting ourselves out of sleep while dreaming about something like falling from a tall building. That’s called a “hypnic jerk,” and, while it is typically deemed perfectly healthy and normal, it may be increased by anxiety or too much caffeine before bedtime. Another interesting fact: Young people are the most common victims of hypnic jerks, and the phenomenon decreases as we age.
9. The position you sleep in may say something about your personality.
British sleep expert and professor Chris Idzikowski claims to have identified six different sleeping positions and how each one says something about a person’s character. For example, he claims that people who sleep in the fetal position, curled up in a ball on their side, are sensitive and shy. Sleep spread-eagle style on your back? You’re probably a good listener and tend to make friends easily. Check out more of what he says here.
10. The moon may affect how well you sleep.
It’s not clear why, but research suggests that people get better shut eye during a new moon and sleep worse during a full moon. Maybe it’s because we’ve got one eye open for werewolves?
11. A nap a day keeps the heart doctor away.
Brand new research out of the American College of Cardiology gives us one more reason to catch a catnap during the day. People who took advantage of a midday snooze were more likely to have a noticeable drop in blood pressure compared with those who didn’t nap – and a drop in blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack. The benefits of midday sleep are generally on par with other lifestyle changes, such as salt and alcohol reduction. But make sure not to sleep too much in the middle of the day. Not only might it annoy your coworkers, but it could also potentially disrupt your nighttime sleep.
Remember to keep vybe urgent care centers in mind if you have trouble sleeping, are experiencing chronic tiredness or are just feeling plain old icky. We’ll fix you up so you can get back to being, and feeling like, a much better you.