There are many things we don’t know about dreams. Why do we see them or why is it so important to sleep. But there is one thing we know for sure: we feel better when we sleep, both physiologically and mentally. And when we get enough sleep, we also work better.
So what happens to us while we sleep? Scientists know the answers.
As soon as you fall asleep…
1. You start to “fall”
The sensation of a sudden fall while falling asleep is what researchers call a hypnotic jerk, a sudden contraction or twitching of the muscles. And this is a common occurrence. About 70% of people experience it while falling asleep, but most often they simply do not notice it. But hypnotic jerks can be quite strong, so much so that a person can wake up.
2. The brain sorts and processes information
Many people think that while they sleep, the brain finally gets a chance to rest a bit. But no matter how! It turns out that even at night he works hard. While a person sees wonderful dreams, the brain processes the information received during the day.
This process is of great importance for the creation of long-term memories, since the brain collects and processes all the information it has received and stores it for future use.
3. The brain gets rid of unnecessary data
How much useless information does a person receive during the day? Unfortunately, a lot. And at night the brain gets rid of it, “blocking” individual synapses. These data were published in the scientific journal Science.
If the brain did not do this, we would simply not be able to learn. Removing everything unnecessary allows us to fill memory spaces with new, useful things or just as useless as they were removed. Each person chooses for himself what to remember and keep.
4. Hormone levels change in the body
The main hormone, the concentration of which increases in the dark, is melatonin — the sleep hormone. It is responsible for the biorhythms of the body and helps the body to easily fall asleep and wake up, fully rest. This hormone is produced by the pineal gland.
While a person is sleeping, the pituitary gland also produces more growth hormone. It helps the body not only grow and get stronger, but also recover from physical exertion. It also supports the growth of bones and muscles, controls metabolism.
By the way!
Studies by scientists have shown that before the full moon, people go to bed later and spend less time sleeping. But what is the reason, the researchers do not yet know.
5. The sympathetic nervous system relaxes
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” position during stress. When a person sleeps at night, she has a chance to “relax”. At the same time, studies have shown that if a person is deprived of quality sleep, the activity of his sympathetic system increases. And this, in turn, often leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Scientists are now trying to find out if there is a link between coronary heart disease and reduced sleep duration. While the answer is being prepared, we know one thing for sure: sound, restful sleep is conducive to heart health.
6. Reduced stress levels
In the first few hours after falling asleep, the level of the stress hormone cortisol drops significantly in the body. But not for long. Before a person wakes up, he will again reach his peak values.
Scientists explain that this is necessary so that a person after waking up feels vigorous and energetic, and also has a good appetite. Yes, cortisol, among other things, makes you want to snack.
7. Your muscles lose their ability to move.
In certain phases of sleep, a person loses the ability to move, the muscles seem to be temporarily “paralyzed”. This is necessary so that when you see in a dream that you need to run, a person does not rush to run in reality — headlong and injuring himself. So nature took care of our safety.
During a night’s rest, a person switches between periods of REM sleep (rapid eye movement phase) and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, a person sees the most vivid dreams and at the same time he is actually “immobilized”. This system does not affect only two muscle groups — respiratory and ocular.
8. The “no pee” mechanism is activated
Have you ever wondered why during daylight hours a person needs to go to the bathroom every two hours on average to empty their bladder, but at night they can sleep peacefully for 8 hours without going to the bathroom?
It turns out that the whole thing is in a special hormone. Its name is antidiuretic hormone (ADH). It is a peptide hormone of the hypothalamus, which is produced in the body of most mammals. It reduces the need to urinate frequently, so that a person can safely wait until the morning.
Did you know?
The moments of walking in a dream in most lunatics are observed 1–2 hours after falling asleep.
9. The immune system “overloads” the body
While the body sleeps, the immune system produces special proteins called cytokines. If a person is sick or injured in any way, cytokines help the body fight inflammation, infection, and injury. They seem to “overload” the body.
This explains why without enough sleep, the immune system cannot function fully and its defense mechanisms are reduced.
10. You become more beautiful
Cosmetologists have such a thing as a “beauty dream”. They believe that after a good night’s rest, a person looks more beautiful. And indeed it is. Sleep brings youth.
Those recovery processes that we mentioned above also apply to collagen in the inner layers of the skin. The restoration of collagen improves the elasticity and firmness of the skin, it looks fresher and younger.
11. You may have the same dreams.
Some people have dreams that deal with the same topic, so they feel like the dreams are repetitive. If these dreams are nightmares, they naturally cause stress.
Experts say that recurring nightmares are a serious phenomenon that is associated with high levels of anxiety and can be a symptom of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as some mental illnesses.
12. Sleep can ruin your health.
But only when there is too much of it. This condition is called hypersomnia and means an excessive amount of sleep. When a person “oversleeps”, they experience severe daytime sleepiness during the day and cannot be fully awake.
Studies show that hypersomnia is associated with a change in the architecture of sleep — a decrease in deep sleep and an increase in REM sleep. Ultimately, this negatively affects the quality of night rest. That’s why it’s so important not to oversleep.
On a note!
According to somnologists, the most terrible enemy of mankind, which prevents him from fully sleeping, is round-the-clock access to the Internet. For many of us, in order to get enough sleep, it is enough to turn off the computer on time.