Here’s the secret: most people have wonky sleep habits, so you’re not alone! A lot of people will preach the virtues of good sleep patterns (myself included), and they’re absolutely right! But there’s a pretty good chance their sleeping habits are just as all-over-the-place as yours (again, mine included).
Jonathan Prichard of MattressInsider.com and his team dove into the sleepiest of research and emerged with 61 Interesting Facts About Sleep and some unexpected habits of the masses (even of a few notable individuals like Nikola Tesla!). At the very least, you’ll walk away with some great facts to keep in your arsenal for friendly debates, but hopefully, you’ll be inspired to start a few healthy sleep habits too. If you want more information on sleep, read our guides on sleeping on your stomach, sleeping positions or how to sleep with sciatica.
Meander through this delightful array of knowledge nuggets and who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two!
Pretty neat stuff! I bet your high school health teacher never told you about most of that! Who knew finding the right mattress is one of the best investments you can make for your health? And how helpful would it have been to know that getting the right amount of sleep could actually make you a more likable person? That’s important stuff when you’re growing up!
A Few Highlights
Normal Sleep Patterns: The younger you are, the more sleep you generally need.
Your kids and teens need more sleep than you do! I know it doesn’t always feel like it when the tots are waking you up at the diaper-crack of dawn demanding pancakes, but it’s true. Your teen sleeping in on the weekends might not indicate laziness; in fact, most teens don’t get enough sleep on average, so their bodies might just be trying to catch up. Encourage them to get to bed earlier during the week and normalize their sleep pattern — it might even make the homework that’s keeping them up a bit easier.
Try limiting screen time right before bed, they should sleep easier and their brains might reboot more efficiently while they sleep.
Naps are great, but if you need a lot, you might need more sleep at night.
Ready to be totally jealous? More and more employers in Japan are actually encouraging their employees to sleep on the job! The Guardian reports that employees in Japan tend to sleep less per night than in most other countries, so their employers encourage afternoon naps, certain that it will increase overall work performance.
Don’t drive drowsy!
Enough said. But that won’t stop me from saying more. Just remember the advice of my all-too-wise mother: “You’ve got nothing to prove. If you’re feeling sleepy pull over to a safe place to take a nap or let someone else drive.” Mother knows best!
If you have to go to great lengths to keep yourself awake (e.g. rolling the windows down, cranking the music up, overdosing on caffeine, etc.), you’re too tired to drive.
Your sleep environment affects your sleep.
It sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised what you can do to optimize your room for the sake of deeper sleep. A few tips to keep your bedroom sleep-friendly:
- Keep it cool. Your body is naturally wired to start winding down in cooler temperatures. Your lizard brain translates it as “nighttime!” You’ll probably want to invest in a cooling mattress and figure out the best temperature to sleep for you.
- Keep the electronics to a minimum. The blue light from your phone/tablet, TV, etc. send day-time signals to your brain — the exact opposite of what you want when you’re trying to wind down.
- Get a dimmer switch. Dimming the lights when you get ready for bed sends your body signals that the day is coming to an end and they’re pretty simple to install.
- Get a sleep mask and some ear plugs. Sometimes there is light and sound beyond your control, but a comfy sleep mask (check out our Premium Sleep Mask) and some earplugs can help block out some unnecessary distractions.
Lack of sleep affects you more than you give it credit for.
Like a higher risk of obesity, decreased sex drive, shoulder pain from sleeping, stress, memory loss, you name it! Sleep deprivation can affect your career, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. But that all sounds overwhelming and scary, so think of it this way:
Optimizing your sleep habits can increase your overall quality of life! Body, mind, social life, relationships, career…it can all be affected one way or the other depending on how you train your body for sleep. Great sleep habits, like all worthwhile things, take dedication, patience, and practice. Sleep isn’t for the weak, it’s for the champions!