The sun has been down for hours. Your body feels sluggish. Your eyes are having a problem staying open. It appears that it’s time to go to sleep. You lay yourself down in your bed and sleep for 8 glorious hours. When you wake the next morning, you feel rejuvenated and refreshed. What happened while you were sleeping to help you feel this way?
- You go through sleep stages - Your body will cycle from light to REM (Random Eye Movement), to deep sleep, and back again throughout the night. These cycles do not always happen in a set order. The majority of deep sleep seems to happen in the first half of your sleep, and you are most likely to experience light sleep before you wake.
- Your body slows down - Your heart rate slows down. Your breathing slows down. When you are asleep, your body falls into a calm and relaxed state. Additionally, your body temperature lowers and your muscles relax.
- You dream - You will go into a state of REM and it is during this part of sleep when you are more likely to experience dreams. Though you won’t remember all the dreams that you have throughout the night, you will have them. At this time you are temporarily paralyzed. This is a safety mechanism your body has instilled to ensure that you don’t move around while dreaming. While experiencing REM sleep, your breathing and heart rate typically speed up to about the same levels as during the day.
- You retain and learn - It’s not all that surprising that at night when you are sleeping, your mind is forming and retaining memories from the day. That’s why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep after learning new information. If you sleep well, it will be easier for you to remember the information in the future.
- You relax and regain momentum - Because you aren’t moving around as you would do during the day, your muscles have an opportunity to relax, recoup, and repair. Your organs and muscles are most able to repair themselves when they are not being utilized. While you are sleeping is the best time for them to accomplish this.
Now that you know what happens when you sleep, you probably can’t wait to get home and try getting some. Sleep, that is. Make sure your pillows are perfect and your sheets are sublime and go enjoy that rejuvenating sleep.