WHILE WE ARE SLEEPING

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While we are fast asleep our cells are busy doing essential repair work to keep our bodies healthy and systems running smoothly. Here's what's happening undercover of darkness...

 

  • Breathing & heart rate slows in waves through the night - reaching their lowest in the deep sleep phase. Blood pressure also drops giving our circulatory system a well-earned break from having to work full tilt..

 

  • Muscles gradually relax and the body’s total energy expenditure drops. During the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, most muscles are paralyzed in a condition known as atonia. This keeps the legs and arms from flailing in response to dream content

 

  • Eye muscles stay active. The darting of the eyes behind closed eyelids is the inspiration for the name rapid eye movement sleep

 

  • Brain Activity alters in each wave of sleep. In the early parts of non-REM sleep, brain waves slow down considerably; however, in Stage 2 and Stage 3, there are numerous quick bursts of brain activity

 

  • In REM sleep, brain activity accelerates, showing markedly different types of brain waves. Heightened brain activity is why REM sleep is known as the stage most associated with vivid dreaming

 

 

  • Hormone levels fluctuate. Sleep and the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, play an important role in regulating the production of numerous hormones including:
    • Melatonin, which helps promote sleep
    • Growth hormone, which supports bone and muscle development as well as metabolism
    • Cortisol, which is part of the body’s stress response system
    • Leptin and ghrelin, which help control appetite

Messed up sleep patterns means these systems can get knocked out of kilter. That's why a good night's sleep is so important for our mental and physical well-being

 

Source/Find out more at www.sleepfoundation.org 

 

 

 

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