EVERYONE KNOWS SLEEP IS GOOD, BUT DO YOU KNOW THESE SLEEP FACTS?
Famous investor Warren Buffet apparently values highly a good night of sleep, once saying:
"When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night's sleep for the chance of extra profits."
But you don’t need megabucks to understand the value of quality sleep. Most human beings instinctively know that sleep is vital to a normal existence, and most of us happily spend nearly a third of our lives in a sleeping state. But that may be all many of us know about sleep.
Compared to its pursuit of other topics, science was relatively late in making sleep a major field of study. But sleep researchers are now uncovering some of the mysteries of the sleeping state. Check out these sleep facts:
- Sleep problems are estimated to affect about 70 million Americans or every age, race, and socioeconomic level.
- In 1910, most people slept 9 hours a night, but recent surveys show the average adult now sleeps fewer than 7 hours.
- Sleep allows the brain to form pathways necessary for learning and creating memories and new insights.
- Sleep is divided into two stages: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, which has three stages, ending in deep sleep.
- Deep sleep is considered the “restorative” sleep necessary for feeling well-rested and energetic during the day.
- Science is learning that a chronic lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infections.
- When people who lack sleep are tested on a driving simulator, they perform just as poorly as people who are drunk.
- One study found that one-fifth of night shift workers had a car crash or near-miss in the preceding year because of sleepiness on the way home from work.
- A study showed when healthy young men slept only 4 hours a night, their insulin and blood sugar levels matched those seen in people who were developing diabetes.
- One study suggests sleep is needed for creative problem-solving. Author Mary Shelley said the idea for her Frankenstein novel came from a dream.
- Dreaming occurs in REM sleep, when the mind is active and the body occasionally is in motion.
- During non-REM sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure progressively slow.
- Stage 3 non-REM sleep triggers the release of growth hormones, contributing to growth in children and boosting the repair of cells for people of all ages.
- In one study, sleep-deprived volunteers given the flu vaccine produced less than half as many flu antibodies as those who were well rested and given the vaccine.
- Naps are not a waste of time, but they are no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Avoid taking them after 3 p.m.
- Do not lie in bed awake. If you cannot sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel tired.
|Recommended Amount of Sleep
|16–18 hours a day
|11–12 hours a day
|At least 10 hours a day
|9–10 hours a day
|Adults (including the elderly)
|7–8 hours a day