7 Curious Facts About The World of Sleep

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Sleep, an essential and often enjoyed part of our daily routine, still remains a realm of mysteries and unexpected occurrences. We might spend a third of our lives in this state, yet there are so many fascinating facets of sleep that remain unexplored by many. Here’s a dive into seven such interesting factlets:

1. The Extreme Reality TV Test: The British TV series “Shattered” put ten contestants to the test by challenging them to stay awake for seven straight days. The side effects of sleep deprivation took a toll, making contestants irritable and irrational. In a bizarre twist, one contestant even believed he had become the Prime Minister of Australia. The winner managed to stay awake for a staggering 178 hours.

2. Primates vs. Humans: Of all primates, humans spend the least amount of time sleeping. Yet, the sleep we do get is deep and restorative. This is possibly because we sleep on the ground, eliminating the risk of falling from trees, and have established protective measures against predators. These conditions allow us to indulge in deeper, more rejuvenating sleep without needing longer hours.

3. The Desperate Quest for Sleep: One man’s battle with fatal familial insomnia, a condition rendering a person biologically unable to sleep, saw him trying everything from vitamin therapy to anesthesia in a desperate bid for rest. These interventions managed to prolong his life by a year.

4. Medieval Sleep Patterns: Our ancestors in the medieval era had a peculiar sleep pattern. They would enjoy a 4 to 5-hour sleep, be awake and active for a couple of hours, and then drift back to sleep for another 3 to 4 hours. This segmented sleep is believed to have evolved to allow humans to tend to fires, ensuring warmth and safety throughout the night.

5. Drugs and Dreamland: Both alcohol and marijuana have profound effects on our REM sleep, the phase associated with vivid dreams. Chronic alcohol consumption diminishes REM sleep. However, upon withdrawal, there’s a surge in REM sleep leading to intense dreaming. Similarly, marijuana suppresses REM sleep, but cessation can trigger a burst of vivid dreams.

6. Guardian Half: An intriguing phenomenon happens when we sleep in unfamiliar settings. In such scenarios, only one half of our brain delves deep into rest, while the other remains vigilant, as if standing guard.

7. The Sleep-Deprived Worker: A consistent lack of sleep can drastically affect one’s performance, cognitive abilities, and judgment. In fact, if you’re routinely coming to work sleep-deprived, you’re functioning at a level comparable to being intoxicated.

Five Fascinating Insights into the Lives of Night Owls

Unveiling the nocturnal side of human nature, we delve into the fascinating world of night owls. In this article, we explore five intriguing facts that highlight the distinct biological, psychological, and societal aspects that define these creatures of the night.

  1. The Extended Biological Clock Night owls, in an intriguing contrast to the rest, possess an inner biological clock that tends to run slightly longer than the standard 24-hour cycle. This unique circadian rhythm systematically pushes their schedule a little later each day. As a result, falling asleep at conventional times and awakening in the morning can often pose a significant challenge for these nocturnal individuals.
  2. Comparative Personality Traits Research has illuminated a fascinating contrast between morning people and night owls. While morning birds generally exhibit greater levels of happiness and a lower propensity towards unfavorable habits, night owls score higher on the intelligence scale. Furthermore, night owls have been found to display a heightened degree of sexual promiscuity.
  3. Workplace Advantages Night owls often find their stride in professional settings. These individuals are not only potentially more successful in the workplace but are also credited with being better at lateral thinking. This knack for approaching problems from novel angles makes them indispensable in brainstorming and innovation-oriented tasks.
  4. Financial Success and Intellectual Brightness Scientists have provided compelling evidence that night owls, on average, outshine early risers in terms of financial success and intellectual prowess. Despite being in a world geared towards morning routines, night owls manage to earn more than their early-bird counterparts.
  5. Genetics and Mortality A fascinating genetic aspect underlies the categorization of individuals as early birds or night owls, and this also correlates intriguingly with the time of one’s death. Those inclined towards the morning are likely to meet their end around 11 AM, whereas night owls, true to their nature, are most likely to pass away around 6 PM.