Wednesday, February 7

Some things you didn't know about sleep

These are some points that were interesting in Discovery's article "20 Things You Didn't Know About Sleep":

6. In 2004 Americans filled more than 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills.The number of adults aged 20 to 44 taking pills to help them fall asleep has doubled in the last four years.

7. More than 100,000 car crashes in the United States each year result from drowsiness. Drivers talking on cell phones increase the rate by 6 percent, so don't call someone if you get tired.

11. Let's sleep on it first: In a gesture of integration with the European Union, Spain has launched a campaign to eliminate the tradition of siestas, or afternoon naps.

12. Thanks in part to their afternoon naps, Spaniards sleep an average of 40 minutes less per night than other Europeans. Spain also has the highest rate of workplace accidents in the EU and the third lowest productivity rate.

16. Dreaming is connected to bursts of electrical activity that blow through the brain stem every 90 minutes during REM sleep. Over a lifetime, an average person spends more than six years dreaming, clocking more than 136,000 in all.

17. But nobody knows why we dream.