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10 Surprising Facts About Sleep That Will Keep You Up All Night - Self Improvement

10 Surprising Facts About Sleep That Will Keep You Up All Night


Sleep is as crucial to our survival as food and water. It might even be more so. One of the most surprising facts about sleep is that it might be more vital than food. After three to four days without sleep, you’ll experience severe cognitive impairment and hallucinations. You can, on the other hand, go without food for 30 to 45 days before starving. 

Getting enough sleep should top all of our priority lists. Unfortunately, with our lifestyles, that’s easier said than done. Our ‘modern way’ of life where we are always in some kind of rush and without time is making all of us sleep-deprived, and things are only getting worse. 

Did you know that both our mental health and wellbeing have a higher risk of collapsing with a lack of sleep? According to some studies, 50% of Americans lose sleep as a result of chronic stress and anxiety, and 3/4 of those suffering from depression have insomnia as well.

If you are curious to learn more surprising facts about sleep, check out our list below, but be warned — you might not be able to fall asleep after reading these facts.

1. Almost all human beings need at least seven hours of sleep per night to function properly

That being said, 1-3% of the world population needs less than six hours of sleep per night. They are known as ‘short sleepers.’ Those people can stay healthy and be awake and alert during the entire day without any problems. 

2. The average person falls asleep in seven minutes

On the other hand, if it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, the chances are that you are dealing with sleep deprivation. This may lead to many health problems and can multiply the chances of developing some kind of psychological disorder.

3. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder

Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder that affects your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. It’s usually caused by stress or stressful life events and trauma and is followed by low energy, irritability, daytime sleepiness, and depression.

It may also be caused by poor sleep hygiene. One of the most surprising facts about sleep is that setting up a good routine is your best option as a long-term solution. 

Sleeping pills are a short-term solution that provides temporary relief at best. At best, you should only take sleeping pills for a week or two. After that, the body builds up a resistance to them, and they become less effective.

Rather, have a look at these eight ways to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep before resorting to sleeping pills. 

4. Humans are the only mammals that willingly delay their sleep

It seems that we are the only mammals on the entire planet that concisely decide when to stay awake and when to go to sleep. The other animals are listening to their body, but we are able to function normally (more or less) even when we are sleep-deprived.

5. Women need more sleep than men

Scientists believe that the reason for this is that women are more likely to multitask, so their brain is working more, and in turn, they need more time to recover. On the other hand, men are better at compartmentalizing, giving them the ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

6. Parents lose six months’ worth of sleep in the first two years of their newborn baby’s life

Interestingly, newborn babies have a greater impact on their father’s sleep than their mother’s. During the night, they both lose sleep, but during the day, mothers have time for more sleep compared to working fathers.

7. A sleepless night can affect the brain in the same way as alcohol

It seems that your brain will suffer the same way as you being drunk if you are sleep-deprived. This might also lead to memory problems because we need to sleep for our brain to solidify our memories.

Some people use alcohol to help them fall asleep easier. While a drink can help you relax and make it easier to sleep, you better lay off the alcohol a few hours before bedtime. Alcohol interferes with the quality of the sleep you get. You’ll fall asleep faster but experience less restorative sleep overall. 

8. Sleeping less than seven hours per night can lead to asthma, cancer, and diabetes

Other side effects of sleeping less than seven hours every night include obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, anxiety, depression, and alcohol use. Many studies discovered that the greater the degree of sleep deprivation is, the greater the effects are.

9. The chances for premature death are 12% higher in people who sleep less than seven hours every night

These people also have higher chances of being involved in a car accident because of drowsy driving. On the other hand, too much sleep can also raise your chances of dying prematurely! That said, moderation is the key to a long and successful life.

10. Stress and chronic pain are two of the most common causes of sleep disorders 

Stress makes it harder to relax and so makes it harder to fall asleep. Chronic pain makes it difficult to get and stay comfortable throughout the night. It may also make it hard to fall asleep and interrupts the quality of sleep.

One of the reasons that CBD oil has become so popular over the last few years is that it addresses both of these issues. According to Modern Gentlemen, 40% of people use CBD oil for pain relief. A further 20% use it to relieve anxiety, and 11% use it to treat insomnia. It seems that CBD oil ticks most of the boxes when it comes to treating sleep disorders. 

Bottom Line

As you can see, sleep deprivation can have devastating consequences on our lives. Lack of sleep can be the cause of many diseases and, in some cases, even death. But this is easily avoidable if you only add several more hours to your sleep schedule.

That said, the most important thing is to listen to your body and develop a sleeping habit that best suits your needs to stay healthy in this unhealthy world. If you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders, make sure you ask for professional help as soon as possible. This will change your life.

About the Author

Kristina Laova, tech blogger and contributor at, and and various media. When I’m not writing at my desk, I’m devoted to ESL teaching and doing certified court translation. A vivid writer, keen traveler and an adventurous soul as curious as humanity. The world is my oyster.

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