Alaska Sleep Education Center

6 Sleep Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on Oct 11, 2021 12:50:40 PM

Tired sleepy young woman sitting at her desk with books in front of laptop.

Did you know that if a person has an average lifespan, which is around 72.6 years, that individual will have had around 229,000 hours of sleep? That is around one-third of your life. Many people don't spend much time thinking about how they can improve their sleep and overall health. It's important to have a mattress and a bedtime routine where you know you'll get the best night's rest. Sleep is restorative and gives your brain and body time to regain energy while promoting the natural healing process.

If you need to know why it's important to get more sleep or want to get tips for achieving restful sleep, here are six facts about sleep that you probably didn't know.

Being Awake Too Long Increases Hunger Sensations

When your body is in a deep state of sleep, the hormones in your body naturally adjust to managing your hunger. If you are sleep-deprived, your body will release more leptin, which is a hormone that makes you feel hungry. Not only does a lack of sleep make you crave food more, but you may also find that it will be more difficult to stop eating and drinking foods and beverages that contain sugar. If you're not getting enough rest, your sugar cravings could increase by up to 45%.

Getting adequate rest every night makes you feel more alert in the mornings but proper rest can also make it easier for you to stick to a healthy eating plan. When you're well-rested, you're less likely to reach for processed foods and sodas which can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

 

People Take Short Naps When Standing or Sitting

We unknowingly take short naps throughout the day. These moments, called "microsleep" recharge our brain and give us the mental energy we need to handle the tasks of the day. While these small naps can be energizing, they are very dangerous if they occur when you're behind the wheel. Also, it's important to note that you have a natural urge to want to take a nap daily around two in the afternoon. This helps you keep your circadian rhythm intact and ensures that you are sleepy a few hours after sunset.

 

People Procrastinate When It Comes to Sleep

Humans are the only being who put off going to sleep. This may mean that animals and other creatures have an advantage over us in this regard. Animals can fall asleep right away but we tend to delay sleep to watch a movie or TV show or read another chapter of a book. Doing this repeatedly can throw off our natural sleep patterns and cause serious health problems including the inability to lose weight quickly.

 

Sleep Improves Your Memory

When you get adequate sleep, you'll likely notice that your memory is better. According to research, sleep makes it easier for your brain to put together important information which helps to stimulate your memory. If you're trying to stay up all night to complete a work project or study for a big test, you're probably doing yourself more harm than good by depriving yourself of sleep. If you've got a big day coming up, get as much sleep as you can the night before.

 

Some People Are Afraid of Sleep

It may sound strange but some people suffer from a disorder called Somniphobia which is the fear of sleep. People with somniphobia are afraid that they will pass away in their sleep. If you have this condition, it is common to feel anxious when you see that it's getting dark outside. This can cause you to intentionally keep yourself awake for as long as possible.

 

Sleep Deprivation Can Be Deadly

It's common knowledge that you can die if you go days without eating, but not getting enough sleep can be fatal as well. The official record for a person who has gone the longest without sleep is 264.4 hours. Randy Gardner is the record holder; Gardner was a high school student who wanted to see how long he could go without sleep as a science experiment.

Research indicates that your body will start to react negatively to lack of sleep after only 24 hours of not sleeping. When you're deprived of sleep, your brain will start to develop cognitive issues. This means you'll likely have a hard time making decisions and processing your thoughts if you go even a day without sleeping.

Sleep is essential for your overall well-being and health. Even though humans spend a lot of time sleeping, there is still so much we don't know about the process of sleeping and everything that goes on in our brains and bodies when we're sleeping. To make sure you're in the best health possible, it's best to get between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly.

Oftentimes sleep deprivation can be treated with good sleep hygiene practices. These practices include personal habits such as: sticking to a bedtime routine, getting regular exercise, making healthy eating choices, avoiding alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, getting ample exposure to sunlight during the day, and practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime.

Sleep hygiene also includes modifying one's sleep environment to optimize quality sleep such as ditching electronics before bedtime, keeping the room dark and quiet, keeping the room cool, and making sure the bed is as comfortable as possible.

If sleep deprivation may be caused by a sleep disorder it may be time to schedule a consultation with a sleep clinic for a sleep study. Sleep studies can help get to the root of sleep problems and offer a variety of therapy treatments to help sufferers get the sleep they need.

If you live in Alaska and are experiencing chronic sleep deprivation that you believe is due to a sleep disorder, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic by clicking the link below to schedule a free consultation.

Chronic Drowsiness

Topics: tired, sleep habits, cpap machines

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