5 awesome things that happen when we sleep

5 awesome things that happen when we sleep

Sleeping seems like such an unremarkable event, but there is so much more to sleep than we realize.

We Sleep in stages

When we first fall asleep, we typically have a sleep cycle that starts with the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stage, before we progress into a deeper NREM 2 and then NREM 3 (also called slow wave sleep). We finally land in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is the stage most of our dreams occur. All these stages happen between 90 to 120 minutes – according to research, after which we wake up for like a second (most times without even realizing it) and then begin stage 1 again.

Body Temperature Drops

This is why it’s so easy to fall asleep when in a cool room or after a cool shower. This coolness actually mimics what our body is doing naturally, making it easier for us to immediately sleep off, because while we sleep our core temperature drops. In addition, during the REM stage of our sleep, our body is unable to thermoregulate(regulate/control temperature), so if we get cold, our body won’t shiver to build up inner warmth, until we are awake.

We are Temporarily Paralyzed

But only for a few minutes – like 20 minutes. This paralysis usually happens during the REM stage (where most of our dreams occur). It’s what sometimes prevents us from acting out our dreams. So you might be an action hero in the dream world, jumping up and down, fighting here and there, but in the real world you’re curled up on your side, sleeping like a baby. However, the paralysis doesn’t last for very long.

The Body Regulates Hunger Hormones When You Sleep

This is why we feel hungry when we wake up after having poor quality sleep. Unfortunately, we tend to eat higher- calorie foods when we feel this hunger, leading to weight gain. Hunger-regulating hormones are unable to work as they should when you don’t sleep well, this is why sleeping well is recommended for those who either want to keep fit or lose some weight.

Hypnagogic Jerk

This is the feeling of falling we get as we are falling asleep or sometimes when we are even asleep. Sometimes we can start dreaming before our body has reached the REM stage, and these jerks might occur then, in response to acting out a dream of falling on or tripping over something. Hypnagogic jerks are more likely to happen when we are overtired, sleep-deprived or stressed, when our brain can aggressively enter into sleep cycles before our body has had a chance to catch up.

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