Sleep Facts and Statistics

Sleep Facts and Statistics

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SleepSleeping is a daily process that should take 7-9 hours each night. To feel fresh when waking up, one must sleep uninterrupted throughout the night. 39% of adults are receiving less than the recommended 7 hours. The amount of sleep we need is dependent of the individual and our age. It's best to plan your sleep so that you are able to wake in time without an alarm clock.

Sleepiness arrives in relation to the amount of time we are awake.  It is also controlled by our biological (circadian) clock which makes humans alert while it is light outside and sleepy by the dark of the night. The "clock" runs a full day cycle making 2-4am and 1-3pm the times when we are the most sleep. The biological clock is also responsible for regulating many body functions depending on the time of night or day.

REM or Rapid-eye movement and NREM or non-rapid eye movement switch every 90minutes during a normal night's sleep.  This process is called sleep architecture. 75% of our sleep cycle is NREM: NREM has four stages. As we linger between sleep and wakefulness we are in stage 1. In stage two our cognizance of our surroundings falls away.  Also, body temperature falls. The deepest part of sleep makes up stages 3 and 4.  At this point, we enter a restorative sleep.  We re-energize, allow hormones for growth and development to release, blood pressure drops and our breathing becomes slower.

REM takes up the other 25% of sleep: an hour and a half after the onset of sleep, we experience REM.  Our brain is active at this time and dreams occur.  Our bodies relax and breathing and heart rate may fluctuate. Some research suggests that memory is consolidated during this part of sleep. According to a 2002 poll in America, 74% of adults have sleeping problems a few times in any given week. If during the day you feel tired, you should consider making time for more sleep. In United States, around 100,000 vehicle crashes a year are sleep related.  These accidents make up 1500 deaths.

Want to sleep better? pass on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Exercise often but not immediately before your proposed bedtime. Create a "going-to-sleep" ritual. Make your sleeping area comfortable and conducive to sleep by keeping your room dark and quiet and having comfortable bedding.

Insomnia is a disorder which prevents a person from falling asleep, staying a sleep, or having a non-refreshing sleep. Up to 40% of adults have insomnia throughout a year. 1/3 of people will suffer insomnia at one time or another. 90% of those suffering from depression also suffer insomnia.

Bad dreams are common at all ages, but the same is not true for night terrors. Night terror are characterized by screaming, kicking, panicking, sleep walking, thrashing, and talking.  Night terrors are normal until age 6. Signs of night terrors include a frightened child who can't be woken or comforted, a child with wide eyes yet is unaware of your presence. Sleepwalking is termed Somnambulism and most commonly happens in preteens. Many who suffer from sleepwalking will not remember in the morning. These episodes usually happen during stages 3 and 4. 18% of people are susceptible to sleepwalking.  Most are children. Boys are more prone than girls to sleepwalk. Sleep talking is a normal occurrence and is not considered of medical importance. You are 27% more likely to be overweight if you have sleep issues.

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