The Bed and Sleep Blog at BedKing
HOME  |  Archives  |  BedKing Website  |  Contact Us

What you need to know about your body while you’re sleeping

October 12, 2016


What happens to your body while you sleep

For most of us, the idea of going to sleep means lights out, quite literally. Your head hits the pillow and your are out for the count. The next thing you know it’s the morning after and you are jumping out of bed ready to face another day in the trenches.

How often do you stop to think about what happens when you are asleep? Not very often I’m sure. Ever wondered what’s going on while you are having those weird lucid dreams that you can’t quite recall? Ever think about why on some nights the tiniest noise wakes you up but on other nights you’ve woken up to find you slept through all manner of loud noises? In this blog post we explain what sleep is and how we sleep.

That state of sleep, very simply put is a one of rest, where consciousness is all but suspended during which the body repairs and restores itself from the hours during which it was awake. There are several stages of sleep that occur. The first is the very light sleep you experience as you are dozing off, and you gradually fall into deeper and deeper sleep. This is known as a sleep cycle, and for the most part a single cycle will last up to three hours.

The cycle starts with non-rapid eye movement, or NREM. It often happens when dozing off in class or during a boring meeting. From here, if undisturbed, you drift deeper into NREM 1. This stage is the onset of sleep. You become disengaged from what’s going on around you, your heartbeat and breathing become regular and relaxed and your body temperature starts to drop. The body then falls into NREM 2 and then deeper into NREM 3. This is the deepest sleep where the body is at its most rested and restorative phase. The blood pressure drops, breathing becomes even slower and the muscles relax. Tissue growth and repair also happen. Growth hormones are released and muscle development occurs. NREM 3 is also known as slow wave sleep.

So, those nights when you woke up to the slightest sound you were probably in NREM 1 sleep, while the nights it was blowing a gale outside and you slept right through you were probably in NREM 3.

The final part of the cycle is rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. This is the where you dream. During this phase of sleep, the body goes into a state of paralysis so as not to be able to act out what you are doing in your dreams. Ever dreamt you were running but not moving, or that your limbs felt so heavy you couldn’t move? You were probably trying to move your body but your state of sleep paralysis prevents this, and your subconscious imparts this in your dreams.

All in all the cycle takes between an hour and a half and three hours. At the end of REM sleep you usually wake up,even if you don’t remember, and then the cycle repeats again three or four times throughout the night.

For more interesting articles on sleep and to also stay up to date with our monthly specials and promotions, follow us on Facebook here!


Latest Posts:
 
What is Social Jet Lag & Does It Affect You?
» What is Social Jet Lag & Does It Affect You? So, you’ve probably heard about straight-up, everyday jet lag (and maybe even experienced it a few times), but have you heard about social jet lag? It is a new term used by global sleep experts like Professor Achim Kramer, a German chronobiologist with a focus on medical immunology. His labora...
Your Mom Was Right About Beauty Sleep - Here’s Why
» Your Mom Was Right About Beauty Sleep - Here’s Why These days a full 8 hours of sleep seems like a luxury to most fully-fledged adults. We live in an age that celebrates time poverty as a mark of success, so why would you spend valuable hours laying around snoozing? Well, if you’re picky about your appearance, getting sufficient sleep should a...
Was Grandma Right About Not Sleeping with Wet Hair?
» Was Grandma Right About Not Sleeping with Wet Hair? Righto, let’s talk old wives tales. It’s easy to scoff at your grandma when she suggests that eating carrots will improve your nighttime vision, cheese to close to bedtime will give you weird dreams and honey can help to ease a cough (all of these have been proven accurate by the way!). ...
Copyright © 2009 The Bed King