For World Sleep Day (18th March) we explore the weird and wonderful world of sleep, from which countries sleep the most and least, to how long it should take us to nod off.
1 On average we spend a total of 227,468 hours or 26 years of our lives sleeping – this is around a third of our lifetime.
2 One in five of us have trouble falling asleep every single night while nearly half of us struggle with insomnia once a month, according to a UK survey of 1000 adults by Formulate Health.
3 It is estimated that sleep deprivation costs the UK economy around £40.2billion, according to The Sleep Charity.
4 In October 2017, seven-year-old Wyatt Shaw from Kentucky fell asleep for eleven days. Doctors couldn’t explain what had happened but he made a complete recovery and still holds the record for the world’s longest sleep.
5 Strangely, eleven days is also the longest amount of time someone has stayed awake and survived. The record was set in 1964 by a Californian student named Randy Gardner. But it is not to be recommended – others have died trying to stay awake for too long.
6 A staggering 20% of road deaths are related to fatigue, so don’t drive tired.
7 Just over 41% of the British population sleep in the foetal position, according to research by Professor Chris Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service.
8 In April 2018, it was reported that Japan has consistently ranked as the country which sleeps the least. Men sleep on average for just 6.3 hours while women have 6.4 hours.
9 But people in Finland sleep the most with men reporting 7.24 hours per night on average. Finnish women sleep for 7.45 hours – the same as women in Belgium.
10 Around 90 minutes after we fall asleep, we enter the first rapid eye movement (REM) sleep period, which is when it’s thought we dream the most. These REM periods last for around ten minutes and most people experience four to six of these REM periods every night. Up to 90% of people woken during these periods say they were dreaming.
11 There are roughly seven million mattresses sold every year in the UK and the estimated value of the UK beds market is around £1.8 billion at retail prices, according to the National Bed Federation.
Watch: tips if you're struggling to sleep
12 Good sleep is hard to come by. Less than a fifth of us (only 14%) never have problems sleeping at night, according to data collected from 50,000 UK adults on behalf of Motion Nutrition’s sleeping aid ‘Unplug’.
13 There are over 400 active mattress manufacturing companies in the UK, from large corporate companies down to small enterprises, often employing less than ten people.
14 Only one in ten adults are getting a good night’s sleep every night with 82% of people waking up at least once during the night. Women are less likely to get a better night’s sleep than men.
15 Falling asleep should ideally take 10-15 minutes. If you take less than five minutes to fall asleep, it means you’re probably sleep deprived.
16 Your body temperature during sleep drops by one to two degrees Fahrenheit and your metabolism drops by around 15% during sleep, according to the US Sleep Council.
17 Studies suggest that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes. This is because missing out on deep sleep changes the way the body processes glucose, which the body uses for energy.
18 At what age do you get the best sleep? According to The Sleep Charity, 40% of 25-34-year-olds sleep very well. The worst age for sleep is 55-64 with 13% saying they don’t sleep soundly at all.
19 When it comes to bed sharing, 36% of men let their partner choose which side of the bed they sleep on, compared to just 22% of women.
20 Sleep expert Lisa Lewis suggests the four-seven-eight method if you struggle to fall asleep – breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven seconds and breathing slowly out of your nose eight seconds. This helps reduce anxiety and some proponents claim that this method helps people get to sleep in just one minute.