Sleeping is an absolutely amazing activity. Doubt? Discover the most unbelievable curiosities about your sleep.
Did you know that sleeping is synonymous with health and wards off diseases? And that not resting is like having a brain injury? If you want to discover the incredible trivia about sleep and learn more about the consequences of sleepless nights, stay tuned to this article. Learn all about this essential activity, which is one of the most necessary for your routine.
5 facts about sleep
Sleep has always been one of the topics most explored by science and the truth is that there are countless studies and processes that show how sleeping is an incredibly surprising activity – even if it is still very mysterious.
Scientists have always been interested in finding out what happens to the brain and body during night rest, and they literally did not rest until they had gathered sufficient and relevant data on the subject.
Parts of your brain fall asleep during the day
Yes, and they wake up again without you noticing. Scholars from Stanford University, in the United States, concluded that during the day our brain repeats some of the activities it performs during night sleep. That is, our head is able to sleep and wake up during the day, while we are awake.
The brain process is involuntary and the only way to avoid episodes is to focus on a specific activity – scientists have come to the conclusion that neurons respond more quickly to external stimuli if they are in a state of alert.
The North American study suggests that some of the brain processes observed during sleep are also essential to the level of attention that each person presents. Selective attention, for example, is a process that can keep only certain parts of the brain awake.
We can learn a new language while we sleep
It seems incredible, but it is possible to memorize words from a foreign language while we are sleeping. The scientific journal Cerebral Cortex published a curious study, in which scientists carried out tests to prove that we are capable of recording new foreign words during the waking state.
The study was done with a group of volunteers who were starting to learn a new language. While sleeping, these people listened to specific words in the language – through a low-volume recording. To make the comparison, the scientists also followed a group that listened to the recordings in a state of alert – that is, awake.
The researchers also followed another group, who listened to the recordings awake. After a test, the sleepy students Incredibly, the results of the sleepy students were much higher.
The study also showed that the same is true for melodies. Repeating simple songs had the same result. To prove the theory, scholars divided a group of volunteers who were learning to play the guitar: half of them listened to the melody while sleeping, and the other half listened to the same content while awake. Guess where the best results were seen? You were right if you answered that the best performance was from the students who were sleeping during the experiment.
Sleeping too little can cause cancer and depression
According to scientific studies published in 2015 in the book Sleep and Affect: Assessment, Theory and Clinical Implications, sleep deprivation can make people more vulnerable to stress, making them easy targets for depressive complications.
The study also shows a comparison with previous research, which related anxiety and lack of sleep, stress and mood disorders and even sleep deprivation and cancer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is turning attention to problems involving sleep deprivation and wants to create strategies to avoid symptoms such as tumors and depression. For this, WHO officially recommends that adults aged between 18 and 64 sleep at least 7 hours a night – not exceeding 9 hours. For seniors who are over 65 years old, the indication is that they should rest between 7 to 8 hours a night.
TV, cell phones and tablets change the quality of your sleep
The television, computer, tablet and – even – cell phone screen is an enemy not to take to bed. Technological devices impair the quality of sleep because they emit a blue light, a tone that acts as a brain stimulant and prevents rest. It is at these times that the well-known and dreaded insomnia appears.
When the human eye is exposed to this light, the brain understands that it should produce less melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. The recommendation is: turn off and move away from these devices two hours before going to bed.
Too little sleep makes the brain ignore half the world
A study published in 2014 stated that a sleepy brain exhibits symptoms similar to those developed in cases of unilateral or hemispatial neglect syndrome. In these types of disorders (caused by a brain injury) patients lose track of space on one side of the body. In even more severe cases, patients can only dress one side of the body, for example.
The scientists involved in the study analyzed volunteers who were relaxing in a dark room and on an armchair. As they became sleepy, electrodes placed on their bodies analyzed and quantified their reaction time to left and right sounds. Experts concluded that those who were more drowsy were less attentive to the sounds emitted from the left side of their bodies.
For Masud Rusain, a neurologist at the University of Oxford, the study proves that “a sleepy brain behaves like the brain of a patient with an injury”, citing the consequences of a stroke as an example.