Things You Probably Didn’t Know Are Happening To Your Body When You Sleep

Why shut-eye is way more important than you think!

sleep deprived afternoon naps
Image: iStock

Whether you’re travelling around the globe, working shift work, or are regularly exercising—it’s important to consider how a good night’s rest is important to daily activity. In speaking with Drew Ackerman, International Sleep Podcaster—we learn about the importance of routine to ensure we are getting the amount of sleep our mind and body needs

We all know the body works to help repair itself during sleep, but how exactly is it doing so?

Sleep is critical for everyone—it allows us to perform and function at our best every day. It is a common assumption that sleep is a time when the body and mind shut down, however, it is quite the opposite. When we are asleep, we are actively processing, restoring and strengthening our minds and memories, helping to ensure that we awake refreshed and re-energised. 

What are some unexpected things our bodies do during sleep?

While sleep is important for us to grow and replenish, our bodies’ also do some strange things during rest. For example, while we’re getting some shut eye—we go through two separate sleep cycles, including non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). During the REM cycle, this is when we have our most vivid dreams and when our muscles become temporarily paralysed. Some scientists think this might be so we don’t physically act out our dreams!

sleep deprived
Image: iStock

When it comes to fitness, why is sleep (and rest) so important in recovery?

For people who exercise regularly—sleep is very important for recovery. This is because when we exercise our muscles can often become sore, and as such our bodies need periods of rest to restore and rejuvenate. Sleep can help you on the road to good fitness, good eating and good health.

Do you have an optimum nighttime routine that you recommend?

The most important part of a wind-down routine is that it can make you feel good, that you look forward to it, and that you have a positive association with going to bed. Another great tip for helping get a good night sleep is attempting to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. This develops a routine that your body clock, also recognised as your circadian rhythm, can regulate and adapt to. 
A final sleep tip, if struggling with sleeplessness, is to try natural supplementation that contains a combination of extracts of Valerian and Hops, which can help provide relief from problems getting to sleep or waking during the night. For some, it may mean spending less time awake, and more time in the deeper sleep stages, and less time waking during the night.

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