20 Things You Need To Know About Sleep!

World Sleep Day is just a few days away! With the nation hopefully obtaining some restful slumber on the 15th March, at Saltrock, we’ve decided to find out a little more about the fascinating topic of sleep. Here’s what we discovered:

  • Brains need sleep! A good night’s sleep helps individuals retain information and remember more, according to recent research. If you want to be in top condition mentally, sufficient sleep is essential.


  • Boost your immune system by getting enough sleep. It’s amazing the many mental and physical benefits which sleep can have: warding off disease is just one advantage of getting a solid 6-8 hours a night.


  • The health advantages of sleep go on: it’s been found to protect individuals from obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Who’d have thought that something so enjoyable could actually be good for you, too!


  • You know how cats are some of the most chilled creatures on the planet? It’s probably due to all the sleep they get. Not only does a cat spend around two-thirds of every day napping, naps have also been shown to decrease stress – what’s not to like?


  • Humans aren’t as lucky as cats when it comes to getting shut-eye. The average human only spends 1/3 of their life asleep: cats sleep for double this, spending around 2/3 of their life asleep!


  • If you thought the effects of sleep deprivation are felt after a day or so, it’s time to think again: apparently the lack of mental acuity and poor mood which is symptomatic of sleep deprivation sets in after just 17 hours!


  • Fish do sleep! Although the way that fish sleep is different to that experienced by mammals, fish certainly do sleep. When you look in the tank and notice that a fish is virtually stationary and slow to respond to external stimuli, it could well be napping!


  • With insomnia a national epidemic, research shows that one of the things which may be to blame is light pollution. Whether from exterior sources (such as street lamps or car headlights) or from gadgets in the bedroom, studies have shown that there is a clear link between light pollution and insomnia.


  • You don’t have to be woken by a noise for it to affect your sleep quality: noise can disrupt the quality of your sleep even if it doesn’t rouse you to consciousness.


  • “Inemuri” - sleeping whilst present, is a Japanese concept that revolves around sleeping in public being socially acceptable. The 24/7 lifestyle of many workers means that catching forty winks on the tube or even in the office, is seen as a sign of a hard worker. Who has time to leave early or sleep late when there is work to be done?


  • Is sleeping outdoors a healthy option? Certainly if you visit Norway, you might think so. Babies are routinely left outside in their prams or buggies to sleep, in the belief that it is healthy for them. Even when the temperature drops as low as -5°C, you’ll still see babies outside, snugly wrapped up and enjoying the cooler air.


  • Perfected by the Balinese, fear sleep is a learned response that sees people fall asleep rapidly when faced with something they fear. It’s a behaviour which makes sense, as sleeping is known to reduce feelings of fear and stress.


  • First sleep and second sleep: although we currently aim to have between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night, the idea of a single sleep is a modern one. Contemporary reports of sleep habits during the middle ages and before show that people divided their sleep into two: after four hours of sleep or so, people rose in the middle of the night and enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, before retiring again for “second sleep”.


  • Are you a tired new parent? Apparently most parents lose between 400 and 750 hours of sleep during the first year of their life with a fresh addition to the family.


  • Men sleep better than women! Not only do women actually need more sleep than men to stay healthy, they also seem to get less of it. Hormonal fluctuations may be to blame, as well as a natural tendency to sleep more lightly.


  • The average bedtime for adults during the working week is 10.43pm! We thought that this was late, considering that around 90% of adults surveyed said that sleep was one of their favourite activities!


  • Around 30% of the UK’s population are sleep deprived, according to a report produced by the Mental Health Foundation.


  • Hammocks are a healthier alternative to beds: not only does sleeping in a hammock ensure that you’re in the perfect sleeping posture (on the back with the head inclined by around 30 degrees), but research shows that people nodding off in a hammock get to sleep faster and enjoy a better quality of sleep than when using a bed.


  • Humans can sleep standing up! Although horses are probably the best known animal for upright snoozing, humans are capable of sleeping whilst sitting or standing. Not as good at it as birds or other animals, it’s nevertheless perfectly possible to catch a few zzzzz whilst vertical.


  • Too hot or too cold? The best temperature for restful slumber is around 17-18°C. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of a slightly cooler bedroom: a warm bedroom will almost certainly make it difficult to drop off.


    With insomnia and other sleep problems affecting significant numbers of the population, World Sleep Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the problems poor-quality sleep can cause, as well as take steps to ensure that your own sleep hygiene is as good as it can be. Visit http://worldsleepday.org/ to find out more about World Sleep Day, as well as get some top tips for ensuring that your sleep quality is as good as it can be. Sweet dreams!