I love weird facts — especially those about the human body!
As amazing as our bodies are, there are just some things about them that are downright strange… interesting… and gross.
As somebody who’s into anatomy, I did some research on a few of the weirdest things about the human body.
Here’s what I found out…
#1 – Your Fingers & Toes Get Wrinkly In Water… Here’s Why
Ever wonder why your fingers and toes look like prunes after spending a while in the bathtub, shower, or pool?
I’ve been curious about this since I was a kid.
Here’s the scoop on why fingers and toes wrinkle in water:
- Apparently, people whose fingers have suffered nerve damage don’t get wrinkly when wet. However, for most of us, the skin on our fingers and toes will begin to get wrinkly after spending 10 to 30 minutes in the water.
- The wrinkles appear in the skin’s outer layer — the epidermis. The outer layer of the epidermis contains dead keratin cells, which form their own layer on the epidermis called stratum corneum and tend to soak up water very easily. As this keratin layer soaks up water, the cells expand and take up a greater amount of surface area. However, because the dead cells are attached to the living skin cells they can’t go very far. The stratum corneum will wrinkle to provide a place for the new, expanded surface area.
- Some scientists believe fingers and toes wrinkle in water because of an evolutionary process that allows us to better handle things when our fingers are wet, but they still need to gather more information to confirm this theory.
#2 – Your Skin Is Crawling With Bacteria… Here’s Why
Fact: every single square inch of skin is covered in about 32 million bacteria.
Wow… does that make you want to take a long, hot shower — at least until your fingers get wrinkly?
Well, not so fast:
- The bacteria on your skin actually helps protect it from more harmful bacteria that could do some seriously bad things to your skin… and the rest of the body.
- For example, our skin is covered with Staphylococcus epidermidis — which, as you can guess, is a form of “staph.” But this staph actually helps to crowd out more dangerous bacteria. Even the bacteria in an acne pimple helps block out more harmful microbes from invading that area of the skin.
- There was only one time in your life when your skin was sterile, and that’s when you were in your mom’s womb.
#3 – If You Don’t Sleep You May Die… Here’s Why
Sure, you could starve to death if you don’t eat, or die of thirst if you don’t drink fluids. But did you know you could die if you don’t sleep? It’s true.
Sleep deprivation can do real harm to your body, and study after study confirms this.
Some people like to stay up all night to finish studying or go to parties. Sometimes, people don’t want to stay awake all night but have to — due to job obligations or taking care of a new baby.
But your body doesn’t know why you’re staying awake, nor does it really care. It needs sleep at certain intervals — period.
- Staying awake 24 hours can alter your mind in response times just as much as having a blood alcohol count of 0.10.
- After 48 hours of staying awake, your body begins taking automatic microsleeps — basically, you will fall asleep from as little as half a second to as much as half a minute or more. Microsleeps are similar to blacking out, and you’ll wake up disoriented.
- After a restless 72 hours, you’ll begin hallucinating. Even simple tasks become chores.
- Some people have reported going as long as 8 to 10 days without sleep and suffered no long-term adverse health affects. The longest a person was ever able to stay awake is 11 days, at least as far as records have confirmed. One man claims to have gone 40 days without sleep, but this has not yet been confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records.
- The longer you go without sleep, the more detrimental issues your body will face. Stress hormones increase, causing your blood pressure to rise. As sleeplessness continues, other physical ailments set in, and they could potentially lead to death. One man died after 11 days without sleep.
#4 – You’re Taller In The Morning… Here’s Why
I learned this cool fact when I was a kid, and I confirmed it with a measuring stick that I used to use when I was growing up.
So, what’s the deal here?
Here’s why you’re shorter at night:
- You’re about 1 centimeter taller in the morning than you are at night.
- The reason is the cartilage in your knees, back, and other places in your body compress throughout the day. At the end of the day, you’ve shrunk.
That’s why I always measured myself in the morning when I was a kid… I wanted to be as tall as possible on the growth chart!
#5 – We Are The Only Animals That Create Emotional Tears… Here’s Why
Some people cry when they’re sad, others sob when they’re happy.
Some shed tears at the drop of a hat, and others can go years without letting their tears flow.
Here’s the scoop:
- Scientists think it’s the way our bodies release emotional energy and signal that we need something.
- On a more chemical level, it’s thought that crying also releases toxins and stress hormones.
- Tears can also clear up vision by lubricating the eyes.
- Another benefit of crying? Tears contain a fluid called lysozyme that can kill bacteria.
While women tend to cry more than men, that may be largely due to social norms — which are changing quickly these days.
One thing’s for sure: bottling up emotions isn’t healthy for the body, and that can lead to many types of mental health issues. In other words, a good cry isn’t bad!
Since I don’t want to leave you on a sad note, here’s some eye doctor humor that may having you laughing so hard you cry…
More Weird Facts About The Body
- 50 Really Weird Facts About The Body
- 9 Bizarre Things Our Bodies Can Do
- Why Does Your Body Do These Strange Things?
- 10 Curious Things Your Body Does & Why
- 11 Weird Things That Make Seasonal Allergies Worse
I want everyone to live their best life… for as long as possible. So I often write about the health screenings that we all should be getting — to help catch potential health issues early. (Yes, I get my screenings too.) I also share my knowledge and experience with specific health problems that I am personally familiar with.