Little-known Facts About Sleep

Sleep is a mystery to us all including scientists. They have a hard time figuring out WHY we need to do it.
Though, some of us wish they could do it all the time.

Here are some facts about that dozing process:

When you sleep, you grow by about 8mm!
However, this growth is just temporary, the next day you shrink back to your former height.The reason is that your cartilage discs are squeezed like sponges by the force of gravity when you stand or sit.

Some people have a genetic mutation called hDEC2, which regulates their sleep-wake cycle to be shortened to only 4 hours.
Most of us might be able to get by with sleeping only 4 hours for a little while, but eventually it takes a toll. These people are as refreshed as if they had slept for 8 hours. Some of the people who are known or suspected to be short sleepers are Margaret Thatcher, James Franco and Martha Stewart.

If we do not get enough deep sleep, our bodies take longer to heal and grow. The absence of the large spurt of Human Growth Hormone during the first deep sleep continues in many depressed patients even when they are no longer depressed.

If an average person gets less than six hours of sleep in a night they begin to have a slower reaction time, diminished coordination, and impaired judgment. This correlates to driving because it makes it more difficult to navigate a car when a person’s brain is not operating at it’s full potential.
The legal limit for drinking and driving in most of Europe is a BAC of .05, which is about how impaired your brain is after not sleeping for 17 hours! Although America is slightly higher, usually around .08 or .1, scientists still acknowledge the dangers of not sleeping and operating a car.

If you don’t have cues for sleep time, your sleep cycle becomes 25 hours long.
We’ve all wished there were more hours in the day before. We just have too much to do and 24 hours isn’t long enough. Well there may be a scientific reason that we feel this way.
What experiments have found is rather odd. They discovered that, when left to its own devices, the human body actually follows a 25 hour sleep-wake cycle rather than the 24 hour one that the world’s turning dictates.

A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. A psychiatrist conducted an experiment where a group of people were put in total darkness for 14 hours a day for a whole month. It took a while for them to regulate their pattern, but by the 4th week, they had settled for a very distinct sleeping pattern: they slept 4 hours, woke up for 2 and then slept for another 4.
Looking at historical data, it seems like that sleep pattern was not just widely accepted, it was also common knowledge. In fact, people used the time in between sleeps to talk or have sex. Doctors even recommended that time as the best time to conceive. It wasn’t until the late 17th century that references to 1st and 2nd sleep started to disappear: it started in the upper classes and then it disappeared entirely by the 1920s.

There is a disease where you eventually stop sleeping and then die. There is no cure. Hopefully you’re not an insomniac and/or hypochondriac. It’s called fatal familial insomnia, or FFI, and is a very very rare brain disease. It’s caused not by juju but usually by a mutation to the PrPC protein, but can also happen spontaneously.
It begins with progressively worsening insomnia, followed by hallucinations, delirium, and then dementia. Once the symptoms begin, the average lifespan is anywhere between 7 and 18 months. Most often it’s genetic, and is so rare that it’s been found in just 40 families and about 100 people total since its discovery in 1765.
While one might think sleeping pills would help, but they’ve been proven to actually worsen the situation. Even an induced coma doesn’t work; it was attempted on a man in 1991 and his brain just wouldn’t shut down. In that case, when the man died, he hadn’t slept in 6 months.

Lack of sleep makes you want to eat junk food!
That’s most likely because when your body undergoes extreme sleep changes it craves foods that will give it the highest caloric intake, or extremely unhealthy foods, resulting in late night, unhealthy binges.

The Strangers in Your Dreams are Actually People That You’ve Seen in Real Life!
The human brain is responsible for many complex creations, but it can’t invent the image of people. So the “strangers” that you meet in your dreams actually have the faces of people who you’ve once seen in your real life but forgotten, like your childhood mailman or that guy bumped into on the side walk that one time. 
Chances are that you’ve laid their eyes on more than a few individuals, and so the brain as a huge cast of characters to play with when you drift off to sleep.

Falling backwards in a nightmare can change it to a more pleasant dream.
It sounds like something out of Inception, but it’s true. Falling backwards while in a dream is a popular technique for awakening from an unpleasant dream, or changing the scenery of your unpleasant dream. 
There’s a whole guide to doing it correctly. It takes some time to learn to use well, and requires a few things to know beforehand. Falling backwards in a dream can sometimes cause a “false awakening,” where you think you’re awake but still dreaming. 


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