What Happens When We Sleep?

what happens when we sleep

What Happens When We Sleep?

We all know how great it feels to get a good night’s sleep as well as its importance to our physical and mental health. But did you ever stop to think about what happens when we sleep? It turns out, our bodies are doing a lot of work while we’re snoozing! Let’s take a closer look at the science behind why sleep is so essential.  But first of all, why do we sleep?

Why Do We Sleep?

Sleep is essential for our bodies to function properly. During sleep, our cells repair themselves, muscles relax, and hormones are released which help regulate hunger, metabolism and growth. Scientists believe that the different stages of sleep are important for the brain to process new information and store memories from the day before.

What Happens When We Sleep?

We go through several cycles of wakefulness and sleep throughout the night, each lasting roughly 90 minutes.

what happens when we sleep why do we sleep what is rem 5 stages of sleep cycle

During a typical night’s rest, we alternate between two distinct types of sleep:

  • non-rapid eye movement (NREM); and
  • rapid eye movement (REM)
In NREM sleep (stages 2-4), our body repairs itself and muscle activity slows down.

While in REM sleep (stage 5), our brain is highly active as it processes memories from the previous day and dreams occur.

The amount of time spent in each stage varies depending on age — younger adults typically spend more time in REM sleep than older ones — but usually we cycle through all four stages three or four times per night.

It’s also important to note that we spend more time in deep NREM stages 3 & 4 as the night progresses; this is why it can be hard to wake up after only a few hours of rest.

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but why is it so important?

It turns out that sleep plays a huge role in regulating our physical and mental health. Next, we’ll look at the science behind sleep and explore what happens when we drift off for the night.

The Science Behind Sleep

When we sleep, our bodies enter a type of hibernation mode where our metabolic rate slows down and all unnecessary bodily functions are shut off. During this period, the body repairs itself while preserving energy. Without proper rest, our cells become stressed which can lead to illness and disease over time.

Sleep also helps regulate hormones like melatonin which are responsible for controlling our wake/sleep cycle (otherwise known as circadian rhythm). Melatonin also helps protect against age-related illnesses such as cancer by controlling how well cells reproduce during sleep cycles. That’s why it’s important to get enough rest every night—it’s not just about feeling better in the morning; it’s about preventing long term damage to your body.

The Brain Recharges During Sleep

During the day, our brains are constantly working and they need time to rest and recharge. That’s why it’s so important to get enough quality sleep each night. While we sleep, our brains go through different stages that help us store memories, process and consolidate information we learned during the day, and even clear out toxins that can build up in the brain over time. This is why it’s important to get a good night’s rest after studying or learning something new—it helps us remember what we learned!

Our Bodies Heal During Sleep

We also use sleep as an opportunity for our bodies to heal and recover from whatever activities we did during the day. During deep sleep, your body releases hormones like melatonin which helps repair muscle tissue damage caused by exercise or other activity. It also helps reduce inflammation throughout your body and can even help improve your recovery from illness or injury. Getting enough quality sleep each night is essential for optimal physical performance; if you don’t get enough rest, you won’t be able to give your best effort when you do exercise or engage in other physical activities.

Our Minds Process Emotions During Sleep

Finally, while we are sleeping our minds are processing any emotions or experiences that happened during the day. This gives us a chance to process these experiences without being distracted by anything else going on around us. This helps us make sense of any difficult emotions or situations that happened during the day so that we can move past them more easily when we wake up in the morning.

Mental Health Benefits of Sleep

Sleep isn’t just good for physical health; it has been linked to improved mental health as well. Studies have shown that getting enough rest can reduce stress levels, improve memory retention and recall, and even help boost creativity. It can also help regulate emotions by calming the mind and allowing us to better process difficult situations or experiences with more clarity. In fact, lack of sleep has been linked to depression, anxiety, mood swings and more serious mental issues such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

why do we sleep what happens when we sleep

Conclusion to What Happens When We Sleep:

Sleep is an incredibly important part of life that helps us stay energised, alert, and healthy both physically and mentally.  Not only does it give our brains time to recharge but it also provides an opportunity for our bodies to heal themselves, as well as process any tough emotions or experiences from the day before. It’s clear that getting enough rest is essential for both physical and mental health—and yet many of us still don’t get enough!  Knowing how much rest we need on a daily basis — typically 7-9 hours for adults — can ensure that our bodies get enough time to go through each stage of the sleeping cycle properly. So if you want to feel your best during waking hours, make sure you prioritise getting a good night’s rest!

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, talk to your doctor or try some simple lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine intake or setting aside time before bed for relaxation activities like reading or yoga. With a little bit of effort you can get on track to healthier nights—and healthier days!

Wishing you good nights & days ahead ❤️


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