Fun Facts About Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Eight crazy things that might happen to you while you’re in dreamland

Sexomnia? Sleeping your way skinnier? Jolting yourself awake? Check out these weird-but-true facts to discover some of the crazy things that might be happening to you while you’re fast asleep.

Sexsomnia Is Real

About eight percent of people have ‘sleep sex,’ where they get it on while they're not fully conscious. It's not yet clear why some people are more prone to sexsomnia—it might be more likely to happen when you go to bed feeling frisky but fall asleep before making love, or when you are dreaming about sex and your body starts to act it out while your mind is still asleep.

You Can Jolt Yourself Awake

It’s not unusual to feel like you're physically falling while you’re falling asleep. This feeling can trigger your limbs to jolt yourself awake. Your body is typically temporarily paralyzed while you’re sleeping, but the paralysis hasn’t happened yet during the earliest, lightest sleep stage, so you might experience what is known as a hypnagogic or [sleep_term id="1194"].

Sleep is As Important as Diet and Exercise

You probably already fit in 30 minutes of exercise on most days and stock your kitchen with nutritious eats, but don’t forget to add "make time for zzz's" to your stay-healthy list. It's just as critical, because sleep deprivation has been linked to heart disease, depression, and diabetes.

You Have Dreams Even If You Don’t Remember Them

The average person has four to six dreams a night, but most people can’t recall up to 99 percent of them. Try keeping a dream journal next to your bed and jotting down anything that you remember as soon as you wake up.

You Can Sleep Your Way Skinny

Getting your beauty sleep can help regulate hormones that control appetite, so you’ll eat fewer calories overall when you snooze for seven to nine hours per night, compared with when you're underslept. Specifically, lack of sleep can decrease ghrelin, a hormone that helps you feel satiated, and increase the hunger hormone leptin. Moreover, not sleeping enough makes you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods: Cravings for high-calorie, fatty foods surge by 45 percent when you're sleep-deprived.

Newborns Sleep an Average of 14 to 17 Hours a Day

Babies have a lot of growing to do, so they need a lot more sleep than adults. The weird thing is that, unlike adults, if your baby is sleep-deprived he or will sleep less, not more!

Snoozing Can Improve Your Memory

Feeling more forgetful? Try clocking more time in the sack. In fact, sleep-deprived people score lower on tests of working memory (a.k.a. short-term memory) than those who have had a good night’s rest.

Athletes Need More Sleep

How much sleep that you need, exactly, depends on your genes. Most adults need about seven to nine hours a night, but athletes may improve their performance by sleeping up to 10 hours per night, because all of that physical activity means that their bodies require more sleep to repair muscles and restore energy.