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These are the fascinating facts about sleep you didn’t know

Most of the information we have about sleep has only been discovered within the last two decades and there is still so much to discover. Since a lot of this information is quite new, there is still important information people don’t know. So, what exactly happens when you’re busy counting sheep? We at House Babylon have shared some of the most interesting facts we found.


Deaf people sometimes use sign language while sleeping

There have been a variety of cases where deaf people who use sign language have been witnessed using it in their sleep. There have also been stories of those who are able to hear but have learnt sign also doing it.


Although there isn’t a lot of research surrounding this yet, a 2017 case study describes a 71-year-old man with a severe hearing impairment observed signing fluently. The researchers were able to get some insight into what he was dreaming about by decoding his signs.


41% of the British population sleep in the foetal position

The foetal position is when people curl their knees towards their body while sleeping. Unsurprisingly it gets its name from the word ‘foetus’ as it’s seen as a similar position to the one a baby is in when inside their mother’s womb.

According to research, double the number of women sleep this way compared to men. It has been said that people who sleep this way are shy when you first meet them but open up quickly.

The five other sleeping positions that have been discovered are the log, starfish, yearner, soldier and freefaller.


Those who are born blind don’t have dreams involving sight, instead they experience emotion, sound and smell

Blind people dream as much as a sighted person does but the age they became blind may impact what they dream about.

Those who are born blind or become blind at a young age don’t have visual imagery in their dreams. Those who become blind after turning five or six years old are able to see in their dreams, meaning that there is a window in the development of the brain in which the ability to have visual dreams is established.


Although most people associate dreams with visual imagery, other things like sounds, touch and movement can also be involved in the dream process.

According to research that has been conducted over decades, most sighted people’s dreams contain both visual and kinesthetic elements. More than half of dreams contain sound but it is rare for people to experience dreams that feature smell, taste and pain. In comparison to this, blind people are more likely to report feelings of touch, taste, and smell in their dreams compared to sighted people. This most likely due to the fact that their waking experience relies more on these senses. 


You forget 50% of your dream within five minutes of waking up

According to sleep research we lose half of our dream within the first five minutes of waking up and, after an additional five minutes, 90% of our recollection is gone. This is most likely because humans are forward-thinking in nature which means remembering something as soon as we wake up isn’t easy. Other research, which was conducted by the dream researcher L. Strumpell, said it could be because we normally remember things by association and repetition. Since dreams are unique and often very vague, this makes remembering them difficult.


It’s a myth that you shouldn’t wake someone who is sleepwalking

We have always been told that waking someone up who is sleepwalking can result in dire consequences, such as causing a heart attack or brain damage. Although this isn’t true, waking them up isn’t a pleasant experience for the sleepwalker. 

Waking a sleepwalker up could result in them being temporarily confused or distressed, which means it could be better to guide them back to their bed. With 15% of the population being sleepwalkers, this is important information to know.


Babies don’t dream

Although babies spend half of their life sleeping, neuroscientists believe it has a completely different purpose for them than dreaming. While babies are sleeping their brain is developing pathways and connections that will help them to learn as they grow.

According to various studies babies start dreaming around the age of two but what they see while their asleep develops as they grow. The dreams of toddlers are snapshots that mainly feature images and familiar imagery, like someone eating.

It is around the ages of five to nine that children start seeing moving images and have characters in their dreams. They’re also better at remembering what their dreams consisted of. Kids start appearing as central characters in their dreams around the age of eight and they also become longer and more complex.