What Happens to Your Body When You Sleep

importance of sleep

100 years ago, humans were sleeping an average of 9 hours a night, can you believe it? Now it’s somewhere near 5 to 6 hours, thanks to the smartphones in our hands. “I’m a winner because I sleep for just 2 hours and work for 22 hours a day” Have you heard this kind of motivational talk, then please close your ears when you happen to hear it next time. The simple truth is sleep is the most important thing for you more than your job or career, diet or exercise.

Many individuals underestimate the importance of sleep, and the result is that it impacts every organ in our body. Sometimes workload or stress, binge-watching your favourite web series can make you lose some sleep hours, you think you can match up those hours by sleeping the next day or on weekends, but the science of sleep works differently. Lack of proper sleep will take a toll on our body and more specifically our brain.

According to the science of sleep, insufficient sleep can result in a short lifespan. Not getting rest can negatively impact both your physical and mental health. Unhealthy sleep routine can lead to consequences such as depression, anxiety, difficulties with memory and concentration. It can also increase risk of heart disease and obesity.

The simple solution is sleeping for 7 to 8 hours, because sleeping more than 9 hours can reverse the benefits of sleeping. Let’s say 10 pm to 6 am, that’s the sweet spot and body repair times during sleep.

Also Read: 10 Sleep hacks for students to fall asleep faster

Why do we need good sleep?

We spend one-third of our lives asleep. Other than a few unclear snapshots of a dream, most of us are not aware of what happens to your body when we sleep. We think the brain is just turning off for a while or hitting a reset button. The field of sleep science reveals that our bodies undergo psychological transformations during sleep which are very crucial for maintaining overall wellbeing and good health. The below listed facts will help you understand the importance of sleep.

Decreased metabolism:

Our metabolic rate decreases significantly when we sleep, leading to a reduction in consumption of energy. This enables the body to preserve energy and concentrate on essential functions like tissue repair, muscle growth, and immune system strengthening.

Reduces the risk of obesity:

A significant contributor to obesity is lack of sleep. Inadequate sleep disrupts hormone regulation, affects metabolism, increases the desire to eat and reduces motivation for activity. These factors collectively contribute to the issue of overweight.

Reduced heart rate and blood pressure:

Our cardiovascular system experiences less stress while we sleep due to the drop-in heart rate and blood pressure. For maintaining a healthy cardiac activity this is very crucial.

Good for the hormone system:

Getting the right amount of sleep improves your hormones. The growth hormones are essential for bone growth, muscular growth, and tissue repair. Maintaining a healthy sleep pattern boosts the release of these hormones. The stress hormone, cortisol, is lowered as a result of sound sleep.

Ghrelin and leptin are the appetite hormones in our body, good sleep helps to regulate these hormones. Lack of sleep can disturb them, which leads to increased appetite and weight gain.

Increase in immunity:

According to studies, individuals who get less than 7 hours of sleep per day are more susceptible to catching colds or fevers compared to those who get a full 8 hours of sleep. Adequate sleep plays a role in boosting the system and defending against diseases and infections.

Brain Functioning:

As we have mentioned earlier, in those 8 hours of body repair times during sleep, the brain consolidates and processes everything you have learned throughout the day. For example, if you study for an exam before bed, during sleep your brain gets time to consolidate and process. The next day this will be reflected in your exams, as you can easily remember what you learn.

Good sleep will enhance your creativity, productivity, and problem-solving skills.

Lack of sleep can lead to,

  • Difficulties in attention
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Struggle in decision making

The risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer, Parkinson, and stroke is high for people with sleep deprivation.

Lack of proper sleep leads to nervousness, tension, mood swings, and higher stress levels.

Also Read: Importance of Enough Sleep in Middle and High School Students

What Happens to Your Body When You Sleep?

Our body passes through three stages of sleep:

Stage 1:

This is the initial phase of the sleep cycle. During this stage, you are in a light sleep state. Your body is relaxed and you may experience muscle twitches or jerks and a sense of falling. This period usually lasts around five to ten minutes.

Stage 2:

In this stage, your body temperature drops and you lose awareness of your surroundings. You experience a deeper sleep as your heart rate and breathing begins to slow down. This stage lasts for around 20 minutes.

Stage 3:

We usually call it deep sleep. In this phase, your body starts rebuilding and repairing damaged tissues, and your immune system is also improved. It is challenging to wake up from this stage of sleep because it is the most rejuvenating phase and your brain waves slow down at this point. You will be in the third stage of the sleep cycle for 30 minutes.

Also Read: How TV Can Affect Your Sleep

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep:

The most important stage, this is where we do most of our dreaming. Your brain is busy during REM sleep, and your eyes move quickly back and forth. This stage is crucial for memory consolidation and emotional processing. The very first cycle of REM sleep continues for 20 minutes and lasts longer with each following cycle, starting approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep.

Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is raised when the sun goes down to indicate that our body and brain need rest. The artificial lights from your smartphones, laptop, or TV screens and all other sorts of lights in your room confuse the melatonin and make it believe it’s still daytime. Our best advice is to stop seeing digital screens at least 1 hour before sleep and make sure your room is dark.

In EuroSchool we understand the importance of sleep and encourage our students to have a routine that helps them sleep for 8 hours regularly. Visit EuroSchool to know more.

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