10 Fun Facts About Sleep

Everyone sleeps, but how much do we really know about it? Much of what happens once we fall asleep is still a mystery. Why we need sleep, why a lack of sleep can hurt our health and why we dream are all topics of research that still don’t have conclusive answers. While even the sleep experts at Vicks still have more to learn, here are 10 fascinating facts about sleep!

1. The longest someone has gone without sleep is 11 days, 25 minutes.

While still in high school, a student went 264.4 hours without sleep, for which he won first place in the 10th Annual Great San Diego Science Fair in 1964. When asked if he’d do it again, Randy gave a resounding “no.” Others claim to have beaten Randy’s record, but none of their attempts were done under strict observation, like Randy’s was, so there’s no way to know if they’re legitimate.

2. Elephants sleep less than any other animal.

You may have heard that an elephant never forgets, but scientists aren’t sure why. It’s thought that humans process memories during REM sleep. Elephants, on the other hand, have only a few seconds of REM sleep a night, and they only sleep for about two hours.

3. Tigers and infants sleep the same amount.

Most human infants need about 16 hours of sleep a day – about the same as a full-grown tiger! But the sleepiest animal in the world is the koala, which spends about 22 hours a day snoozing.

4. Daylight savings can be a killer.

When the clock springs forward, we lose an hour of sleep and the number of fatal heart attacks rises. When the clock falls back, we gain an hour of sleep and the risk of heart attacks lowers. Just goes to show that losing just an hour of sleep can have a drastic impact on your health.

5. Seven minutes is key to falling asleep.

The average person falls asleep in just seven minutes. If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, you’re probably exhausted and sleep deprived. If you spend quite a bit longer than seven minutes trying to fall asleep on a regular basis, consider ZzzQuil.

6. Think you don’t dream? Think again.

Humans usually have between four and seven dreams a night. Many sleep scientists believe dreams help your brain process the events of the day and help transition short-term memories to long-term ones, so dreams are incredibly important! If you think you don’t dream each night, it likely just means you’ve forgotten your dreams by the time you wake.

7. There are many sleep-specific words you’ve probably never heard.

Somniphobia is the fear of falling asleep. Oneirophobia is the fear of nightmares or dreams. Clinomania is the irresistible urge to stay cozy in bed all day, while dysania is the word for that feeling when you’ve just woken up and really don’t want to get out of bed.

8. Every face you see in your dreams is a face you’ve seen in real life.

Your brain doesn’t have the ability to create new faces. Instead, it uses faces you’ve already seen. If you think you saw a new face in your last dream, you actually saw a face that you had a glimpse of in real life — even if it was only for the briefest moment.

9. Color TV colors your dreams.

Children dream in color more often than adults, and people who watch lots of colorful television shows dream in color more often than those who don’t. A good percentage of the population only dreams in black and white.

10. Insomnia is not just a human problem.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 6 percent of the world’s population has insomnia, and women are about twice as likely to suffer from it than men are. But there’s evidence that pets, and even insects, can experience insomnia. They tend to gain more fat, learn more slowly, and lose their balance — all similar to the effects humans can suffer when they’re sleep deprived.

Did you learn something new from these strange facts about sleep? The sleep experts at ZzzQuil are always researching and investigating how to make sleep more restful.