You probably think you know everything there is to know about sleep right? Have you considered that there are people out there who are phobic about sleep? (Nightmare On Elm Street anyone?) Well, here are 7 things about sleep you need to know today.

 1. Somniphobia Is The Fear Of Sleep

Imagine being afraid to go to sleep at night? Believe to or not, there are many people out there who suffer from anxiety related to sleep. Did you know that approximately 50% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from some kind of sleep disorder?

Somniphobia would be considered a sleep disorder as the person who suffers from it would be delaying sleep due to their fear. The fear of sleep is related to the fear of the unknown. The sufferer is thought to be terrified of what may or may not happen when they are sleeping.

One possible reason could be that the sufferer is a sleepwalker. Many sleepwalkers aren’t aware of what they are doing and of course, will worry about this. Their worry could be that their sleepwalking could escalate to real life experiences. Then there are those who talk in their sleep. They could fear falling asleep in case they reveal important secrets during their sleep ramblings.

2. You Can Only Dream About Faces You’ve Already Seen

You may have only seen a glimpse of the persons face when passing on the street. This is enough for your subconscious to register it and introduce it into your dreams. Since we see hundreds of thousands of faces in our lifetime, we are unlikely to remember many of them.

So when you remember snippets of your dream and wonder who that face belonged to, it may be someone you met a long time ago or someone you simply noticed when out shopping one day.

3. Depriving yourself of sleep for 16 hours will lead to a decrease in performance equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of .05%

In this case, sleep deprivation can be quite dangerous, especially when driving or operating machinery. You wouldn’t drive when you’ve had too much to drink (at least I hope you wouldn’t) so you also shouldn’t drive when you have had too little sleep.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are ok and operating heavy machinery, driving or performing any task that could be considered dangerous when you are not at your absolute best. Consider the consequences of you causing an accident.

4. When you die you will have slept about 1/3 of your life, which for the average person is approximately 25 years.

Imagine, what you could do with an extra 25 years of your life? Actually, don’t think about it. Without adequate sleep, you effectively reduce your life span anyway since your body can suffer terribly. Get your sleep!

5. The Higher The Altitude, The Greater Your Sleep Disruption.

This disturbance is thought to be caused by diminished oxygen levels and accompanying changes in respiration.

Insomnia often occurs when people go to higher altitudes. This type of insomnia is often accompanied by headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing and loss of appetite. It’s thought to closely resemble a hangover. Twenty-five percent of individuals who go from sea level to 2,500 meters will have some symptoms.

This type of insomnia is also known as Acute Mountain Sickness and Alpine Sickness.  Those typically affected include pilots, flight attendants and anyone who ascends to altitudes greater than 2 miles above sea level.

6. The Body Never Adjusts To Shift-work!

Your body has a 24-hour clock (also known as Circadian Rhythm) which is built into us and is difficult to alter. This 24-hour clock is responsible for body temperature, alertness, hunger, hormone levels and sleepiness. Your body clock uses these to determine when you should be sleeping and when you should be awake.

Shift work means you are forced to push your body to work against itself, by sleeping when you should naturally be awake. Your natural body clock will be pushing you to stay awake during the day when you need your sleep.

So it’s safe to say that shift workers are almost always sleep deprived. It’s especially difficult for them to get enough quality sleep during the day.

7. You Could Die From Sleep Deprivation

What’s the longest time you’ve gone without sleep? Sleep is a fundamental human requirement and without it, our health can suffer severely. Scientists suggest that you will die from sleep deprivation before food deprivation.

Scientists conducted an experiment on rats, depriving them of sleep. Between 11 and 32 days, the rats either died or were close to death. Whilst it was not clearly established that lack of sleep was the cause of the deaths, we do know that we should not ignore our need for sleep. Countless research studies have shown that there are numerous negative side effects of partial sleep deprivation.

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