MedSpring Viewpoints

10 things you never knew about sleep

With Daylight Saving Time you may be feeling the effects of adjusting your sleep schedule.

Most of us barely get enough rest as it is so adjusting your schedule can throw one more wrench into your routine. Turns out, a lack of Zzzz’s poses health risks too.sleepy

This study shows that if you get 6 or less hours of sleep a night you are 12% more likely to experience a premature death.

Here are some more sleep facts to support those nap pods requested for the break room. Find out how much you need, to what happens when you don’t get it. Spoiler alert: you don’t turn into a zombie, but will likely act like one.

  1. Most adults need between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep. Only 3% of the population have a special gene that allows them to function well with 6 hours or less of sleep a day.
  2. If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep then it’s very likely you are sleep deprived. The ideal amount of time is about 10 minutes.
  3. Taking naps is counterproductive when you are changing sleep schedules (i.e. just after daylight savings time).
    • Do not nap at all during the day so that you can fall asleep at the    appropriate time later.
    • If you do nap, consider taking a power nap, no longer than 20 minutes. Or try a coffee nap (yup, this is a thing) and drink a cup of coffee just before you take a nap.
  4. Because your body drops in temperature when you fall asleep, you can trick your body into thinking it’s time to sleep by simulating a temperature drop.
  5. Sleep can affect your weight since it controls your hunger.
  6. REM sleep and dreaming are an important part of your slumber, since they stimulate the brain regions associated with learning.
    • Infants spend more time in REM sleep than adults, likely to aid in brain development.
    • 12% of people have dreams in black and white. Before color television though, the number was 75%.
  7. Not sleeping for 16 hours leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of .05%.
  8. An estimated 30%-50% of the general population have insomnia, occurring in women more often than men.
  9. Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities each year in the US.
  10. Consistently not getting enough sleep can lead to negative side effects:sleep-elf-meme
    • Fatigue, lack of motivation and concentration
    • Moodiness and irritability
    • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
    • Inability to cope with stress
    • Weakened immune system
    • Impaired motor skills, increasing risk of accidents
    • Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems

Getting rest is an important factor in staying healthy, so add this to your “apple a day” list!

Sweet dreams.

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