Food. Drink. Friends. Family. Exercise. Wi-fi. Sleep. It’s on a shortlist of really important things in life, and it’s arguably more important than wi-fi.
Sometimes we take it for granted. But when we neglect it for too long, holy crap does it take sweet revenge. The next 12 facts about sleep demonstrate just how much we need it, or need to avoid it ( if you’re a military superpower ).
Sweet dreams… and put away your phone.
12 sleep facts that will make you thankful for a good night’s sleep Full text:
During REM sleep, the brain shuts down all voluntary muscles*, causing full-body muscle paralysis. Those with REM behavior disorder act out, talking, hitting, and even punching in their sleep.
Lucid dreams are quite rare. Only about 20% of people experience them monthly or more, and they are most common in children, young adults, and those with good sleeping habits.
Studies have shown through EEG and fMRI brain scans that lucid dreaming is a hybrid state of consciousness that has patterns unique to both REM sleep and waking states.
When the Challenger space shuttle exploded, some managers had only had 2 hours of sleep before starting their 1am shifts. When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had its meltdown, engineers had been working for over 13 hours straight.
24 hours of sleep deprivation is equal to the cognitive impairment of somebody with a blood alcohol level of 0.1%, higher than the legal driving limit in most of the world.
A patient named Mr. S was able to heal himself with a lucid dream after 22 years of chronic pain.
Staying awake too long can make our minds unravel, causing hallucinations and paranoia. Our brains can even start encoding memories incorrectly, leading to false or even lost memories.
Randy Gardner holds the scientifically documented record for the longest human intentionally awake without stimulants at 11 days, 12 minutes. Guinness World Records no longer keeps records in the category for fear that participants will suffer ill effects.
Each of the 20,000 cells that make up the SCN region in our brains, aka “the biological clock,” individually operate on a 24-hour time frame. You can take a cell out, isolate it in a dish, and record a 24-hour oscillation in electrical activity.
To keep soldiers functioning without sleep, there’s a military arms race around the world developing drugs that keep troops sharp with little to no rest for days to weeks.
Stimulants have been used by the military throughout history. The British had their tea, the Prussian army experimented with cocaine, and the Nazis gave their soldiers pills made from meth.
To combat the need for sleep, military programs around the world need something stiffer than coffee and energy drinks. The most popular drug, modafinil, is researched by dozens of global powers including the US, the UK, India, France, South Korea, and China.