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Sleep trivia

Features β€” Posted 28/02/14

Nine facts you might not know about sleep.

1. When we naturally wake up, without alarm clock or screaming children, it’s because of two factors - the levels of external light and our circadian rhythm.

2. Studies have shown that not enough sleep can raise blood pressure and impair how people regulate blood sugar.

3. Some companies have acknowledged the important role sleep plays in employee productivity. Huffington Post has installed futuristic nap pods where staff can get some shuteye throughout the day.

4. Researchers have found people who sleep less than seven hours a night are about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms.

5. The best quality sleep is obtained during our circadian low phase – when body temperature and metabolic rate are at their lowest.

6. Obesity has been linked to lack of sleep, and when you diet while exhausted, your body burns muscle, not the fat you want to lose.

7. Normal sleep is not a long period of dreamy unconsciousness. Sleep is made up of 90-minute cycles and waking up between these sleep cycles is a normal part of the sleep pattern.

8. Hitting snooze may not actually be doing us any favours. Drifting back off to sleep after an alarm has already jerked us out of slumber may plunge our brain back into a new sleep cycle – one of the hardest places to wake up from.

9. One of the main things our brain is doing during deep sleep is shifting our memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, offering us more short-term memory space for the next day. Without adequate deep sleep, these memories will be lost.

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