10 Of The World’s Most Fascinating Nude Festivals And Events

From running naked at the South Pole to stripping down and playing with torches, these nude festivals and events from around the world are as outlandish as they are ubiquitous:

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World Bodypainting Festival

Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria

World Bodypainting Festival

Jan Hetfleisch/Getty ImagesEach summer for the past two decades, artists from nearly 50 nations have come together in front of the World Bodypainting Festival's 30,000 spectators to showcase their eye-popping talent for painting on the nude human body.

In addition to an official contest that awards several of the best bodypainting creations, the event features the Body Circus, a surreal carnival of painted bodies, fire-breathers, burlesque dancers, and freaks.

Hadaka Matsuri

Okayama, Japan

Hadaka Matsuri

Trevor Williams/Getty ImagesWhile it's true that most of the 9,000 men who participate in this 500-year-old event do in fact wear a loin cloth, Japan's Hadaka Matsuri ("Naked Festival") certainly retains its weirdness factor by cramming those 9,000 men into one temple.

Once inside, the men run through fountains of freezing cold water meant to purify the body and soul, then compete over the 100 special "shinji" sticks -- said to bing good luck -- thrown into the crowd by priests standing above.

While Japan's most famous "Naked Festival" takes place at Okayama's Saidai-ji temple (above), other sister festivals take place around the country throughout the year.

Kumbh Mela

Various locations across India

Kumbh Mela

Daniel Berehulak/Getty ImagesThis mass Hindu pilgrimage -- in which devotees bathe in one of India's sacred rivers in order to cleanse themselves of sin -- is widely considered to be the largest peaceful gathering on Earth. In 2013, for example, approximately 120 million participated over a two-month period, with more than 30 million coming together on just one day.

However, not all of those millions are nude. In fact, only the most highly respected holy men (known as naga sadhus, or naked saints) go without clothes (then immerse themselves in water that is sometimes freezing cold).

The time and place of the festival varies according to the Hindu calendar and certain zodiac positions. But whenever and wherever Kumbh Mela is, you can rest assured that it will be well attended.

Naked Snow Sledding Competition

Altenberg, Germany

Altenberg Snow Sledding

Joern Haufe/Getty ImagesOK, so they're not completely nude. But given that they're snow-sledding in the German mountains during winter, it's probably best that the participants in this annual competition are allowed to wear boots, gloves, helmets, and underpants.

Thousands come to Altenberg to watch male and female contestants from countries all across Europe race down the 300-foot hill.

The 300 Club

South Pole, Antarctica

South Pole

Wikimedia CommonsThis has got to be the most exclusive club on Earth.

The bravest researchers who stay at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station through the winter will wait for one of the few days a year when the temperature dips to -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, they'll get into a sauna cranked up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (that's just 12 degrees shy of boiling) for as much as ten minutes. Finally, they'll hop up from the sauna and out the station door, then run to the actual South Pole (above), about 150 yards away, and back -- wearing nothing but boots.

If you're doing the math, you'll note that these daredevils have thus endured a temperature swing of 300 degrees, hence the name of this unbelievable club.

World Naked Bike Ride

Various locations worldwide

World Naked Bike Ride

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty ImagesThe World Naked Bike Ride is exactly what it sounds like. From London to Paris to Cape Town to Washington, D.C. (above), nude cyclists have been taking over city streets since 2004, all loosely organized under the World Naked Bike Ride umbrella.

Why? To raise awareness about dangerous greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, and to promote human-powered transport -- like cycling -- as an alternative.

And as the events' "bare as you dare" motto suggests, nudity is welcomed but not mandated.

Beltane Fire Festival

Edinburgh, Scotland

Beltane Fire Festival

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesInspired by the eponymous ancient pagan festival marking the end of winter and the beginning of summer, the modern Beltane Fire Festival lives up to its name with lots and lots of flames.

A daytime procession based on ancient Gaelic ritual gives way to a raucous nighttime free-for-all full of flames, body paint, and nudity.

The so-called Red Men and Women dance, brandish torches, and generally release their inner demons.

Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude Games

Sunnydale, Australia

Maslin Beach Nude Games

Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude GamesFor most of us, sack races, water balloon fights, and tug of war are the stuff of summer camp. But for the several hundred people who flock to South Australia's Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude Games each January, it's a different story.

Those events -- along with frisbee throwing, donut eating, and the "Best Bum Competition" -- make up the program of these annual nude olympics, hosted by a local nudist resort.

The event was, in fact, called the Maslin Beach Nude Olympics until the Australian Olympic Committee insisted that they change it.

The Running of the Nudes

Pamplona, Spain

Spain Running Nudes

Wikimedia CommonsSince 2002, amid the world-famous running of the bulls, PETA has organized the Running of the Nudes in protest of bullfighting.

According to PETA, approximately 40,000 bulls are slaughtered each year. And in order to raise awareness, activists run naked through the streets of Pamplona, brandishing signs calling for an end to bullfighting.

This year, protestors kicked things up a notch by dowsing themselves with huge quantities of fake blood.

Oblation Run

Quezon City, Philippines

Oblation Run

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty ImagesActivism and streaking are commonplace in college life, but it's rare the two come together in such an organized way.

Since 1977, several dozen members of the University of the Philippines' chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity have come together at least once a year to run naked, wearing only masks (and the occasional fig leaf), across campus.

But this is far from some kind of wacky prank. This coordinated demonstration is meant to bring attention to the important national issues of the day, including political corruption and the killing of journalists.

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21 Sleep Facts To Tide You Over Until Bed Time

Getting a good night’s rest is crucial for your health. But even though sleep deprivation can be deadly, most of us simply aren’t getting enough time to recharge. Here are 21 surprising sleep facts that help explain why bedtime might be the most important activity of the day.

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Sleep Facts

Pixabay Humans spend around one third of their lives sleeping.

Sleep Phone

Jean-Sebastien Evrard /AFP/Getty ImagesOur dependence on technology extends even to sleep ,apparently: One survey found that 71 percent of adults sleep with their phone nearby.

Nap Couch

Dominique Faget /AFP/Getty ImagesIndulging in an afternoon nap could make you more productive, and improve your memory and creativity, according to Harvard Medical School. They recommend keeping naps short: 20-30 minutes at most.

Couple 1

Hero Images/Getty Images Twenty-three percent of married couples sleep in separate beds in order to get more sleep. The National Sleep Foundation found that on average, people in relationships will lose an average of 49 minutes of sleep per night because of their partner's sleep problems.

Guy

Paul Bradbury/Getty ImagesA recent study found that many people over 55 still dream in monochrome because they were brought up on black and white television. People under 25 almost universally dream in color.

Sleep Bed

AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesThe way you sleep can benefit your health: Sleeping on your left side eases the pain of heart burn, while lying face down can aid digestion during the night.

Sleeping Feet

Pixabay The falling sensation you might get as you drift off to sleep has a name: Hypnic jerks, or sleep starts.

Sleep Park Bench

Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty ImagesA whopping 40 percent of American adults are sleep-deprived, or get less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Sleep Student

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesThe National Sleep Foundation reports that only 15 percent of teens get the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep per night, and a study by University of Utah Health Care found that 90 percent of American high school students are chronically sleep deprived.

Single Mom

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that single moms are the most sleep-deprived population in the U.S.: 44 percent get less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Child

Elva Etienne/Getty Images A UC Irvine study found that toddlers who regularly co-sleep with their parents grow up to be more independent. That means they're more likely to be self-reliant, and have an easier time making friends.

Waking Up

Milan Markovic/Getty ImagesCar accidents increase by 17 percent on the Monday after the switch to daylight saving time — when people lose an hour of sleep. Researchers say that even the loss of an hour of sleep can cause a dangerous disruption in sleep cycles.

Puppy Love

Jin Chu Ferrer/Getty ImagesForty-two percent of all dog owners allow their pets to sleep in the bed with them at night. Dr. Russell Rosenburg, Chairman of the Board of the National Sleep Foundation, told the Huffington Post that though pets are known to reduce stress levels, "sleeping with a pet can be bad for you" because of their disruptive behavior during the night.

Monday Morning

Paul Bradbury/Getty Images There's a real term for struggling to re-adjust to your work week after several days off: It's called social jet lag, and according to researchers at the Institute of Medical Psychology, it increases your risk of obesity.

Not Getting Up

Tara Moore/Getty Images That "natural alarm clock" that enables some people to wake right around when they need to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone called adrenocorticotropin. This natural wake up call is the result of an unconscious anticipation of the stress you'll face once you're awake.

Side Sleeper

C. Beth Ellis /EyeEm/Getty ImagesVarious studies have shown that getting a good night's sleep increases stamina in athletes; reduces inflammation (which can lead to heart attacks); makes it easier to study, and lowers stress levels.

Sleeping

Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty ImagesLack of sleep puts your mental health at serious risk. Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board told The Washington Post that, "Your decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, memory, and communication...go down by 20 to 50 percent" when you lose sleep.

Sleep Taxi

Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty ImagesTwenty-seven percent of Americans report that they've driven to work drowsy, which can be fatal. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a car crash as those who sleep eight hours.

Ambien Bottle

Tim Boyle/Getty ImagesA book entitled The Secret Life Of Sleep claims that in 2005, U.S. doctors wrote six million prescriptions for Ambien, a medication prescribed to alleviate insomnia.

The drug is known as a "sedative-hypnotic" and users can become dependent on it to fall asleep in as soon as two weeks. Ambien addiction can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms like confusion, nausea, and even worse insomnia than before the drug was prescribed.

Teen

Lynn Koenig/Getty ImagesSleep paralysis is the temporary inability to move or speak as you're either waking up or falling asleep -- and the condition usually involves terrifying hallucinations.

The condition affects less than eight percent of Americans, but those who suffer from it report feeling as though a ghost-like presence is sitting on their chest, and some even claim to see shadowing figures moving around the room.

Sleep Desk

Uriel Sinai/Getty ImagesTiredness peaks twice a day, first at 2 a.m. and again at 2 p.m., which accounts for your daily post-lunch crash.

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The Strange Story Of Myra Hindley And The Moors Murders

Moors Murders Myra Hindley

Wikimedia CommonsIan Brady (left) and Myra Hindley, the duo convicted of carrying out the moors murders.

She was known as the most evil woman in Britain. But Myra Hindley, who in the 1960s helped sexually assault and murder five children in what would come to be known as the Moors murders, maintained that her abusive lover made her do it. Where does the truth lie?

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