Sleep is an essential part of human existence. Without sleep our body will start to wither down and our brain will cease to function. We need sleep to be able to do even the most mundane task such as standing. Sleep deprivation can cause multiple health problems. Birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals also require sleep to function.

Scientists have done a lot of research about sleep and what it does to the human body and mind. The whole process of sleeping is still a blur to scientists, but due to amazing advances in technology we have learned a lot of fascinating tricks, tips and information about sleep. There are a lot of influences that affect our sleeping pattern. Our age, gender, genetics and other factors can affect sleep.

Sleeping may seem like an ordinary activity that we do every day, but what exactly do you know about the snooze? Here are some surprising things you probably didn’t about sleep.

–     Relaxing and calming scents are said to help people fall asleep, but according to recent scientific research scents that are familiar and loved are preferred by the brain and body. Scents that remind you of comfort are best when it comes to sleeping. Such as your partners shaving gel scent or your parents perfume. This scent sends “happy” signals to the brain, causing it to relax and feel comfortable. A great trick to getting sleep when you first move is to bring your old pillow. If you’re travelling away from your husband carrying one of his shirts can help you fall asleep faster.

–     Blind people are still able to dream, they can see images. They don’t dream the way people with eyesight do. They dream using their other senses, such as smell, emotions, touch and sound to create images.

–     Lack of sleep can make you gain up to 2 pounds per week.

–     If you were to deprive yourself of food and sleep, your most probable cause of death is sleep deprivation. It takes about ten days for sleep deprivation to end you and 2 weeks to 2 months of starvation.

–     Sleeping less than 7 hours can lower your life expectancy.

–     Sleep positions are known to determine personality. People that sleep in a fetal position tend to be shy or irritated easily, but they are kind and warm hearted. People that sleep in a log (Sleeps on one side body straight) position are very social and likeable. People that sleep in the soldier position (back flat on the bed both arms firmly on each side) are protective and aloof. People that sleep in a starfish position (sleeps with arms and legs apart) are great listeners. People that sleep in the freefall position (sleeps face down with arms above the head) are known to be adventurous and sociable. People that sleep in the yearner position (sleep in one side with arms and legs bent) are known to be open minded but are protective of people around them and themselves.

–     You can’t sneeze during sleep.

–     An experiment shown that people have a more peaceful sleep during a new moon than in most days and have worse sleep during a full moon.

–     Dreaming is a normal part of sleeping, people who have never experienced dreaming may have a personality disorder.

–     Parasomnia is a sleep disorder that makes sufferers do unnatural movements during sleep. There have been a lot of documentation of this disorder. People have recorded to have walked for a long period, drove, raped and even murdered someone.

–     An experiment done in the 90’s showed that placing a bright light behind the knee can alter a person’s body clock. Doing this experiment altered the sleep-wake cycle of the subject.

–     Recurring nightmare can be caused by sleep deprivation, beta blockers, heart condition, medication and migraines.

–     Waking up a sleepwalker is not a bad thing. A common myth suggests that waking up someone who is sleepwalking is dangerous due to anger bursts of the sleepwalker. This is not true, sleepwalking can be dangerous to the sufferer, waking them up gently will help them transition from sleeping to waking up. They will be confused at first, but not angry.

–     Men dream about men more than they dream about women. Women dream about both genders equally.

–     A study has shown that if school started a lot later in the day, student’s grades and functioning improve.

Sleeping is such a majestic thing, it’s a few hours that we spend for ourselves. What do you think about sleep now? Share with us more surprising things about sleep.

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