But despite our national collective insomnia, the field of sleep research is a relatively young one, with most of what we know about sleep has only been discovered in the past 25 years.
To help educate your patients about sleep deprivation and communicate just how much chiropractic care will help, we’ve assembled these 35 fun and interesting facts about sleep.
In part two of this blog, we’ll bring you more practical tips on how to sleep better, including regular chiropractic treatments.
We encourage you to share both of these with your patients, audience, and social media followers!
1. Surveys reveal that 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 report "rarely or never get a good night's sleep on weeknights."
2. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of Americans say that they’re not getting enough sleep during the week, and 60% say that they have problems sleeping on nearly a nightly basis!
3. 1 in 3 American adults doesn't get enough sleep according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, defined as at least 7 hours per night.
4. 45% percent of Americans report that insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
5. Women tend to have more difficulty sleeping well than men. In fact, 49% of women (compared to 40% for men) having trouble falling asleep and 56% of women (48% for men) have trouble staying asleep.
6. Being sleep-deprived affects your body about the same as being drunk. Being awake for 16 hours decreases your performance the same as if your blood alcohol level was .05% (the legal limit is .08%), and one sleepless night is the equivalent of having a few alcoholic drinks.
7. But if you go 22 hours without sleep, your cognitive and reactive impairment will be comparable to being legally drunk.
8. A chronic lack of sleep in our society has been linked to higher rates of illness, disease, and obesity, as well as declines in cognitive function and job performance.
9. If you’ve ever felt yourself drifting off in the middle of the day, you probably were asleep. In fact, human beings can take little cat naps with their eyes open without realizing it.
10. Fatigue peaks twice a day, at 2 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is why you’re sleepy after lunch – not because you just ate.
11. What can cause insomnia? A variety of conditions, including stress, living arrangements, sleeping position, family history, shift work, diet, exercise, looking at too many electronic screens, and other lifestyle habits can all contribute to insomnia.
12. Going without sleep increases hunger, thanks to an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin.
13. Some rental car contracts make you agree not to drive on fewer than 6 hours of sleep.
14. Speaking of sleep and driving, statistics show that traffic accidents are reduced drastically thanks to the extra hour of sunlight when daylight saving time ends.
15. Adults and children react differently to sleep deprivation. While adults are sluggish and have low-energy when sleep deprived, children actually get hyperactive.
16. Human beings can die of sleep deprivation, although there are several theories to how long it will take (of course, clinical studies would be inhumane, so true non-sleep subjects are hard to find) and why the body and brain will pass.
17. However, it is estimated that you can probably go longer without food than you can without sleep before expiring!
18. The record for the longest period without sleep is 11 days, set by a California student named Randy Gardner in 1964.
19. These days, professional sports teams are utilizing monitoring devices to improve and increase the sleep their athletes get. In fact, it’s been shown that even 40 minutes extra of good sleep a night can reduce injuries by 60% and illnesses like colds and the flu by 54%.
20. The average human being spends about one-third of their life sleeping.
21. Don't dismay if you aren't falling asleep immediately at night, as it should take you 10-15 minutes to drift off, ideally. However, if you do crash out within 5 minutes or less, it may be a sign that you are sleep deprived.
22. Of course, a big component of sleep is dreaming, a fascinating phenomenon still not fully understood by scientists.
23. Did you know that while the vast majority of people experience dreams in color, about 12% of all adults dream only in black and white? But before the advent of color television, movies, etc., only 15% of the population dreamt in full color! Dreaming in black and white is still more prevalent among older Americans and those who take in less color media.
24. People who were born blind experience emotions, sounds, and smells in dreams rather than images, and deaf people often dream in sign language.
25. We also know that more than half of all adults report having occasional nightmares.
26. Most dreams entail familiar things in our lives, like people, places, and everyday situations that are normal. In fact, bizarre, remarkable, and fantastic dreams are pretty rare.
27. Researchers have found that the leading emotion expressed in our nightmares is not actually fear, but sadness, guilt, and confusion.
28. We also don’t remember our dreams very long or very vividly after waking. According to research, 50% of your dreams are forgotten within 5 minutes of waking up, and after 10 minutes, you’ve forgotten 90% of more about your dreams.
29. If you're wondering why your teenager stays up all night and can't get out of bed until noon, teenagers have a different body clock than adults, which keeps them from feeling sleepy until 11 p.m. or later.
30. Is a marital bed good for ZZZZs? In fact, 1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds. If that's you, don't worry – both sleep experts and relationship experts say that's not necessarily unhealthy.
31. Research shows that people sleep better during a new moon, but are unsettled and don’t sleep well during a full moon. One theory is that the full moon’s gravitational pull disturbs our sleep patterns, although scientists haven’t been able to confirm the reason.
32. “Hypnic jerks” is the term for the sensation of falling or moving violently while you’re half asleep. While hypnic jerks are perfectly healthy, anxiety, caffeine or exercise too close to bedtime may make them more prevalent.
33. These days, people with the disorder sleep apnea can get nightly relief using a CPAP machine. But did you know that the first suck CPAP was made from a vacuum cleaner?
34. According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 15% of all people are sleepwalkers – or one in eight. And contrary to popular myths, it’s not unhealthy or dangerous to wake someone up who is sleepwalking.
35. While sleepwalking is common in many people, a disorder called Parasomnia can be dangerous. That’s the medical condition for someone who has unnatural movements or actions during their sleep, and there are cases of people driving their car, committed crimes, or even murdering someone while fully asleep!