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The Quick 10: 10 Sleep Snippets

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I'm struggling today, you guys. I can barely keep my eyes open. All I can think about is getting home and closing my eyes for a few minutes. Which actually isn't going to happen, but hey, a girl can dream.

Anyway, since I can't think of anything else, I thought we would go for a sleep-related Quick 10 today - just some random facts about sleep. Hopefully I make it through all 10 before my head hits the keyboard.


1. Thai Ngoc is a Vietnamese man who has supposedly not slept a wink since 1973. The story is that he came down with some sort of a fever and, for whatever reason, hasn't been physically able to get any shut-eye since. Tests are out of the question; Thai hasn't left his village in 60 years and doesn't intend to. Amazingly, he appears to be pretty healthy otherwise, except he did say a couple of years ago that he is starting to feel like "a plant without water".

2. No doubt we have all experienced the microsleep. It's a brief episode of sleep that only from a portion of a second all of the way up a few seconds. It's probably most familiar to people who have been driving and feel like they spaced out for a minute, or perhaps during a particularly boring class when you do the sudden head-jerk move and wake yourself up almost immediately.

3. Exploding head syndrome sounds like it involves spontaneous combustion, but it doesn't. It's when you've been asleep for a couple of hours (usually, anyway), and then experience a really loud noise within your own head. It can sound like an explosion, a roar, loud voices "“ anything of that nature, really. There's no pain, but people who have experienced exploding head syndrome can be fearful and anxious after the attack. Doctors don't really know why this happens, but some think it might have something to do with stress and fatigue. Women are more likely to experience it than men. Any _flossers experience this? I'd be interested to hear about your episode(s).

4. Ever wonder what a good thread count for your sheets is?

Standard is 150, good-quality starts at 180 and 200 or higher is considered percale. Anything over 500 thread count may not be as wonderful as you think "“ the Federal Trade Commission warns that these types of cloths are often made of plied yarns. This means one yarn is made by twisting together multiple finer threads. It warns that consumers could be "deceived or misled" by these thread counts. Lots of insiders say anything over 500 thread count is pretty much a waste of money.

5. The official medical term for getting up in the middle of the night to pee is "Nocturia".

dogs6. And, the technical term for what we call "sleep", AKA that crap in your eye when you wake up sometimes, is "rheum". It's a mixture of tears, mucus, dust and dead skin cells. Gross.

7. During the Industrial Revolution, people used to put their babies to sleep using opium. Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup and Godfrey's Cordial were two popular remedies. I found out this fascinating fact in the upcoming mental_floss book, History of the World: An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits, coming soon to a bookstore near you!

8. In 2004, Jonathan Husni inventeed PowerNap, an audio recording that says it can induce a three-hour sleep cycle in just 20 minutes.

9. People who suffer from night-eating syndrome are likely to be people who skip breakfast, consume at least half of their calories post-dinner, suffer from depression or anxiety, and have trouble sleeping in general.

10. Finally, one more definition for you. You know when you're falling asleep and you're ALMOST there and all of a sudden your leg jerks all by itself? Or sometimes you're dreaming you're falling and your body jerks when you hit the ground? That's a Hypnic or Hypnagogic jerk. No one knows for sure why this happens. It happens to me a lot.

I made it! Yay! Time for a nap. OK, at the VERY LEAST, I'm sleeping in tomorrow.

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25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]


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