When we are consumed by stress, frustration and tiresome work, what do we want most? Certainly, more than a nap. We need sleep! This is the only time when we are not bound to anything of this world, this is the only time when we dream about things, big or small, scary or funny. Science has proved that sleep is as essential to human beings as food, water and air. But what do we know about sleep? Do we know how much we sleep in our lifetime? Hardly, I assume. So if my assumption is right, here are some facts about sleep.
- There are different stages of sleep , ranging from light sleep to deep sleep with periods of REM(Rapid Eye Movement) in between, during which we dream.
- 1953 was the year when the connection between REM and dreaming was discovered. It was found that this connection begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep and it occurs in bursts totalling about 2 hours a night or 20% of one’s total sleep time.
- Babies can sleep upto 21 hours out of 24 hours of a day while children and teenagers sleep for about 10 hours a night. Adults make up their sleep time for 7-9 hours whereas people over 65 of age are satisfied with 6 hours Older people also have less deep sleep and REM sleep than young people.
- The need for installing “dead man’s handle” was felt in trains for drivers that needed to be held at all times so that in case the driver falls asleep and loses his grip, the train would stop.
- Polyphasic sleep consists of short naps of few minutes instead of long period of sleep. Various famous people like Leonardo da Vinci and Winstin Churchill are believed to have suffered from polyphasic sleep.
- It is found that atleast 30% of adults snore. As a result many inventors have developed anti snoring gadgets to solve this problem which inlcude mouth or nose devices that alter breathing by blasting the snorers with sounds, giving them electrical shocks or shaking their beds.
- In 1977, during a rocking chair marathon, Maureen Weston of Peterborough , UK, stayed awake for 449 hours as a result of which she suffered from hallucinations but was otherwise unharmed. Extreme sleep deprivation, that is, insomnia is hazardous for health.