What actually happens when you sleep?

7th March 2019

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Sleep is a mysterious time for us as we are completely unaware of what actually happens to our bodies. We know that our bodies rest, but what happens when we sleep? And why is it so important?

It’s been a topic of conversation for centuries, and we have only truly grasped it quite recently. So, the first question is…

Why do we sleep?

Sleep doesn’t just contribute to good health and a positive state of mind, it’s the foundation. Everything we do benefits from sleep, our state of mind, our physical health, and sleeping properly can also help us avoid illness. Every muscle, tissue and organ profits from you getting a proper night sleep.

What happens when we don’t sleep enough?

You’d be surprised how much changes when we sleep. Naturally you become more fatigued and unaware of your surroundings, as well as the common case of forgetfulness. There are however some far worse consequences of a lack of sleep.

More serious illnesses can occur because of sleep deprivation. Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, depression and strokes can all be brought on from having sleep deficiencies.

The average adult needs between 7-8 hours of sleep to function to their full capacity the next day. Our species neglects sleep more than any other in the animal kingdom, so why not hop into bed and take that much needed nap?

What happens to our body?

Are you a regular at the gym? If so, then consider a good night’s sleep your new best friend. Depriving yourself of sleep can lead to weight loss, with over 70% of this coming from your muscles! When you under sleep, your body is more reluctant to use its energy resources building muscle.

You will also burn fewer calories, so whilst you lose that muscle mass, you will actually gain fat and unhealthy weight. Sleep will allow you to have more stamina to complete the exercises, and helps you burn more weight in the process.

You will also find difficulty storing those precious memories and moments. Whilst you’re awake, your brain logs all the new information it takes in. This is stored in the hippocampus part of the brain that you could compare to the camera roll on your phone. Sleep moves your memories from the shorter term hippocampus part of your brain, to a more permanent storage location. A lack of sleep means you lose those precious memories and moments that you can’t get back.

How can you stop this?

The answer is incredibly simple, and you may already know it. Sleep. It’s one of the secrets to a long and healthy lifestyle. It enhances your memory capacity, and generally improves your mental wellbeing. It fuels your bodies muscle growth and can aid you in weight loss. So, what have you got to lose? Grab your comfiest pillow, pull out your favourite duvet and jump into bed. 7-8 hours of sleep is what you need, so let’s all make it our goal to achieve that this year and truly reap the benefits in the long run.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoVladislav Muslakov unsplash-logoKinga Cichewicz unsplash-logoZohre Nemati

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