Ever wondered what goes on when you’re catching Zs? Wonder no more.
If you’ve ever missed a night of sleep because stayed up all night or spent the night tossing and turning, you know how important those peaceful hours of shuteye are to you. Without sufficient quality sleep, it becomes difficult to focus, you’re more likely to eat foods you try to avoid, and you’re more likely to get frustrated with others and life in general.
But what is about sleep that can cause you such issues when you don’t get enough? Read on to find out what exactly goes on when you’re fast asleep.
You Get a Memory Boost
Struggling to keep facts and figures straight in your head? Maybe you need to stop studying and hit the hay. Researchers suspect that half of your time sleeping is used by your brain to tuck long-term memories deep into your brain, where they’ll be ready whenever you need them. So sleep well and sleep often for better retention.Sleep, and enough of it, is the prime necessity. Enough exercise, and enough good food and sleep, are other necessities. But sleep—good sleep, and enough of it—this is a necessity without which you cannot have the exercise of use, nor the food. – Edward Everett Hale
You See Things More Clearly
If you’ve ever awoken with the answer to a complicated problem, you’re not alone. That’s because when you’re sleeping, your brain filters through all the information it’s come across lately and determines which bits and pieces are important and which aren’t. Your amazing brain then tosses the useless stuff and leaves you with what you need to make a good decision. However, this perk requires REM sleep, so if you’re not sleeping enough or getting sufficient REM sleep, your post-sleep problem-solving skills may plummet.
Your Brain Gets Rest
While a good amount of sleep time is committed to helping you process information and turn short-term memories into long-term ones, your brain doesn’t go full throttle all night. In fact, when you first fall asleep and at other times, your brain takes a break. During this time, brain waves slow, as do your breathing, eye movement, and heartbeat.
Your Body Cools Down
Shortly before you go to bed each night, you may notice you feel cold. That’s your body’s way of preparing you for sleep. For some reason, a cooler environment improves your sleep quality, and your body helps by cooling down for you. Assuming you wake up around the same time each day, your body will be its coolest approximately two hours before your normal wake time.
Your Blood Pressure Drops
Because your heart rate is lower for most of your sleeping hours, it makes sense that other connected organs and systems are affected as well. Except when in REM, sleep allows your heart and blood vessels to get some R&R with the rest of your body. This rest serves to restore exhausted vessels and prepare them for another day of hard work.
Your Hormones Adjust
Looking for the fastest way to fight stress? Get some shut-eye. Though other techniques, such as regular exercise, practicing deep breathing, and keeping your priorities in order are important ways to ward off stress, sleep also helps your body put stress in its place. That’s because sleep is accompanied with a drop in the hormone cortisol, which is connected to stress. But stress hormones aren’t the only hormones that change during your nighttime routine. Growth hormones kick into gear during sleep, which may explain why your little ones look bigger after waking up from a good night of sleep.
You Fight Infection
Seems odd, but your body doesn’t just fight infection when you’re asleep. While asleep, your body begins to release chemicals that boost your immune system. These chemicals are passed around your body through your blood system, helping you to enjoy better health when awake.
© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc.
Powered by FitPro Magazine™. Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.