13 sleep-related facts you (probably) didn't know!

If you’re anything like the OTTY team, you’ll have a backlog of amazing facts, designed to be pulled out to impress. Probably unsurprising, but our stats are very sleep-related. We’ve picked out our favourite QI-inspired facts just for you, giving you the chance to amaze your friends at the next big social gathering.

 1) Technicolour Dream

More than 75 percent of people sleep in colour. This might not be quite surprising, but the figure stood at just 15% in the mid ‘60s. Can you guess the reason for the increase? Well, according to scientists, this is all down to colour televisions, which has made dreams more lucid and vivid!

2) No-Snore-ious B.I.G

Snoring affects 30 million people in the UK, with 15m regular snorers. Interestingly, the split is quite wide, with 10.5m male snorers compared to just 4.5m wheezers on the female side. The male population don’t just lead in the number of snorers but have been found to be louder snorers than females, too.

3) “That” falling sensation.

Ever get the feeling you’re falling down a hole just as you’re about to nod off? Well, that’s a hypnic jerk – an involuntary muscle spasm you get when you’re just about to sleep, and is experienced by approximately 70% of people! Researchers are unaware as to why they occur, but the likelihood of it happening Is said to be increased by heightened stress levels, anxiety, sleep depravity and caffeine levels.  

4) What about sleepwalking?

We’ve all heard funny stories about sleepwalkers, but it’s actually a bit more common than you may have thought. One in every 50 adults are said to suffer with sleepwalking. This figure hugely increases in children, with one in six said to experience a phase of sleepwalking.

5) Sleep disrupted by children…

Talking of sleepwalking – does your child regularly find themselves in your bed, or are they suffering from a nightmare and disrupting your sleep? Well, you’re not alone. Apparently, 64% of UK parents let their kids share their bed at least once a week.

6) What about pets?

So, 64% of parents let their children share their beds, but how many adults share theirs with their pets? We are a nation of animal lovers, so we’ll share some cute pet pictures while you guess…

 

Yep, that’s right. Almost half of UK pet owners (43%) let their pets sleep in their beds! “But, how much sleep do they need?”, we hear you ask. Well…

7) Cat nap?

While our pets like to share our beds with us, our sleeping needs are completely different. As humans, we need seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but this pales in comparison when it comes to the needs of our household pets. Dogs, for example, need 12-14 hours sleep per day, while cats need 12-16 hours! 

8) The only mammals to delay sleep?

It’s humans! Yep, we’re the only mammal known to willingly delay sleep, and we’re 100% blaming boxsets. According to the BBC, 55% of adults watch back-to-back episodes of the same TV show at least once a month, with a third of these admitting they’ve lost sleep as a result. 

It’s probably not a surprise to learn that our sleeping patterns have changed dramatically over the past 100 years, thanks to increasing work pressures and rise in technology. Let’s face it, most of us have resisted sleep to watch one more episode of the must-see box set.

9) Sleep deprivation kills faster than food deprivation.

A bit grim, but you’ll actually die quicker from lack of sleep than you would from food deprivation.

10) …and the longest period of sleep deprivation.

This honour (if we can call it that!) goes to an American high-school student, named Randy Gardner – a 17-year-old who stayed awake for 264 hours. That’s more than 11 days for all of you trying to do the quick maths!

11) You sleep less when it’s a full moon.

No. You’re not a werewolf or a superhero. Let’s nip that in the bud before we’ve begun. According to scientists, it’s all to do with your melatonin levels – a hormone which controls your sleep clock. Ultimately, a full moon helps to realign your body clock, and can prevent the releasing of the melatonin.

As our favourite TV character Jesse Pinkman would say, it’s “Science, b*tch…”, which leads us nicely on to our next point…

12) You burn more calories watching TV than sleeping.

The average person loses 75-125 calories per hour while sitting idle watching TV, compared to just 50 per hour when sleeping.  That doesn’t mean you should avoid sleep and sit up all night! A lack of sleep can hinder your metabolism, with a solid 7 hours actually helping you lose to weight!

13) Driving while tired severely means your concentration levels are the same as a drink driver.

This fact was brought up by Jeremy Clarkson on an early episode of Top Gear, which saw everyone’s favourite petrolhead race to Oslo in a Mercedes Benz SLR. After more than 15 hours continuous driving and trying natural caffeine boosts such as coffee, Red Bull and Spunk – a weird Danish sweet for all those wondering if we were watching a weird Top Gear parody – Clarkson pulled over to get some well-deserved shut eye, but not before dramatically telling the audience that if you drive after you’ve been awake for 18 hours, your concentration levels are the same as someone who’s around the drink drive limit. After 24 hours, your concentration levels are around the same as someone who’s had a bottle of scotch.

 

Do you have any sleep facts that will blow our socks off? Let us know in the comments below!

 Want to learn more about how you could improve your sleep? Visit our blog homepage and check out more of our tips.

 


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