What Happens When You Are Sleeping?

You will spend approximately one-third of your life asleep. While that may sound like quite a  boring statistic, there are some very interesting things that happen while you are snoozing. Here are just a few of the more fascinating facts about what happens when your sleeping.

Paralysis

During REM sleep your muscles are temporarily but fully paralyzed. It is thought this occurs to prevent activity in your dreams from becoming a bedtime problem. Running through the sheets or planting a winning field goal kick in your partner’s back could result in serious injury to one or both parties. Researchers are very interested in this process as they hope to find treatments for sleep-related motor disorders since 80% of people with these disorders go on to develop neurodegenerative diseases.

Healing

There are multiple ways your body works to heal while you sleep. As you rest, your immune system pumps out more disease-fighting proteins and your body begins the process of rebuilding tissues and cells that have broken down during daily activities. Your immune system and blood are not the only entities hard at work promoting healing during sleep. Your body also begins to pump out human growth hormones that aid in repairing and building both muscle and bone.

Brain Never Sleeps

While you are relaxing on a beach in your dreams, your brain is hard at work. Researchers have discovered the neurons in the brain fire at nearly the same rate while you are sleeping as they do when you are awake. It is during this time your brain is processing complex information, storing memories and even preparing you to make decisions the very next day. Berkeley researchers found sleep promotes creativity by allowing the brain to make unusual connections or remote associations.

Sleep is wonderful, but most of us just take it as a natural part of daily life without giving thought to the many processes going on inside the body. By understanding how sleep affects the body, we can gain a deeper appreciation.

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