Happy World Sleep Day!

Today is World Sleep Day! Every year since 2008, the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) has organised this event to celebrate sleep and to raise awareness of sleep-related issues. So, in honour of World Sleep Day, we bring you some sleep-related facts you may not know:

1) Humans are generally monophasic, meaning we have one sleep period per 24 hours. But did you know that wasn’t always the case? Historically, it was common practice to sleep for four hours, wake up for two, and then sleep again for four.

2) You can’t ever dream up a new face! Strangers you encounter your dreams are always people that you’ve seen before, even if you just passed them on the street.

3) After you’ve learned something new, take a nap. According to studies, this improves your ability to remember new information.

4) 12% of people dream in black and white. However, before the invention of colour television, that number was a massive 75%!

5) Parents of new babies miss out on six months worth of sleep in the first two years of their child’s life. Ouch!

6) The record for the longest time without sleep is 11 days. (We strongly advise against trying it!)

7) Counting sheep doesn’t work. Apparently, if you’re struggling to drift off, you’re far better to imagine a calming landscape instead.

8) Humans are the only mammal to willingly postpone sleep, i.e. we’ll happily stay up to watch cat videos on YouTube, even knowing that we’ll feel miserable the next morning.

9) We grow as much as 8mm in our sleep, and shrink back down again when we wake up!

10) Snoring can indicate an underlying health condition. About 4% of men and 2% of women are diagnosed with sleep apnoea, where the airway is obstructed for brief periods of time, causing pauses in breathing. Sleep apnoea is a major focus of this year’s World Sleep Day, and you can read more about it here.

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