Sleep 101: Why Is It Necessary and How Much Do We Need?

Do you have trouble falling asleep? You're certainly not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, insomnia affects roughly 50% of American adults aged 60 and older. Even if you're younger, you've likely faced a sleepless night or two. Thankfully, there are science-backed tips that can help speed up the process of getting some shut-eye. Experts believe that lowering the temperature in your bedroom can make you nod off faster, because it will help lower your core body temperature. That, in turn, will help your body create the processes involved in falling asleep. Other experts tips include turning off your phone, hiding your clock, taking a warm shower, and wearing socks to bed. But why is sound sleep so important, anyway?

Why Do We Need Sleep?

We spend a third of our lives asleep, but most of us have no idea what happens after we close our eyes.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

If you don't get enough, your brain starts to function as if you were drunk.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. In a lifetime, a person will spend 24 years asleep. 00:13

  2. After a few nights of sleep deprivation, the body can fully recover with a few nights of good sleep. 01:04

  3. The ideal average length of sleep is seven to eight hours, but it may vary from person to person. 02:31

How To Get Better Sleep

Tips for successful shut-eye (and the secret to the perfect nap).

The Science of Night Owls

Your preferred bedtime might be coded into your DNA.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Each of us has our own chronotype, or preferred sleeping pattern. 00:21

  2. The brain's master clock is known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. 01:23

  3. The SCN is not the body's only clock. You also have little clocks in every cell of your body that maintain your chronotype. 02:30

The Funny (And Adorable) Ways That Animals Sleep

Walruses stay afloat, sea lions tuck in their flippers, and more surprising animal sleep habits.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Watch walruses stay afloat while sleeping: 00:09

  2. Sleeping hippos bob up to the surface to take a breath before sinking back down into the water. 00:39

  3. Twitching while asleep can help puppies learn how to use their muscles. 00:51

Written by Curiosity Staff July 18, 2016

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