Getting enough sleep is important for so many reasons—it slows down the aging process, lowers anxiety levels, boosts your mood, helps you maintain a healthy weight and much more. But what is actually going on during the night? You may be surprised to learn that your brain doesn’t shut down during sleep. It’s working in overdrive.
If you’re not getting enough sleep (The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults 18 to 64 get 7 to 9 hours per night), you may be missing out on essential restorative time that helps you look, feel and think better. Here’s what your body is doing while you’re sleeping, why these stages of sleep are important and how to get more of it.
FASCINATING THINGS YOUR BODY DOES WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING
Every stage of sleep has a crucial role in your body’s function.
SPECIFIC STAGES OF SLEEP
Another reason is the type of sleep. Indeed, the profundity and length of a sleep characterizes its quality. Our sleep cycle distinguishes two main phases:
• The NREM (Non- rapid eye movement) phase that has 4 stages going from light sleep to deep sleep and lasts for 90 minutes. This phase helps the body to regenerate. • The REM (Rapid eye movement) phase, also known as the dream sleep, that helps to deal with events and emotions endured during the day. A person does not feel rested even if he/she slept 8 hours because the cycle was interrupted: When the person wakes up in the moment of the NREM deep sleep phase, he/she can feel not having got a good night’s rest.
Also, the regeneration of the body can be affected if the person is not able to reach the deep phase after going to sleep and instead wakes constantly up.
To really understand the amazing things your body does while you’re snoozing, we need to break down the different stages of sleep. Clinical Psychologist and clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show, Michael Breus, PhD, aka The Sleep Doctor, says you need ample amounts of each type of sleep to feel renewed and refreshed each morning. Here’s a rundown:
• NREM (non-rapid eye movement): Makes up about 75 percent of the night and includes the below N1 – N3 stages of sleep. • N1 or ‘stage 1’: Typically, somewhere between awake and asleep, the lightest stage of sleep, makes up 5 percent of sleep time • N2 or ‘stage 2’: Initial onset of sleep, overall body temperature is dropping, makes up 40 to 50 percent of sleep time • N3 or ‘stages 3 and 4’: Beginning stage of deep sleep, makes up about 20 percent of sleep time • REM (rapid eye movement): Makes up about 25 percent of your night and begins about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The REM phase repeats about four to five times throughout the night.
Breus says you progress through each stage and then repeat the cycle throughout the night. “After you fall asleep, a normal sleep cycle takes you from light sleep into deep sleep and then back to light sleep and then on to REM sleep. After REM sleep, your body awakens briefly and then returns to Stage 1 sleep to repeat the process.”
YOUR BODY RESTORES ITSELF—PHYSICALLY
During the N3 stage of sleep (also known as stages three and four), you’re in the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. During this time, your muscles are relaxed, your breathing is slower, your tissues grow and repair and your energy is restored. During this stage, your body releases.
During the N3 stage of sleep (also known as stages three and four), you’re in the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. During this time, your muscles are relaxed, your breathing is slower, your tissues grow and repair and your energy is restored. During this stage, your body releases hormones that are crucial for growth and development, including muscle development.
YOU’LL PROCESS INFORMATION AND STORE MEMORIES
You may have noticed you have trouble remembering things or concentrating at work after a restless night—you’re not imagining it. Research shows that sleep is crucial for storing memories, though scientists don’t fully understand how yet. Even more, it appears that different phases of sleep.
You may have noticed you have trouble remembering things or concentrating at work after a restless night—you’re not imagining it. Research shows that sleep is crucial for storing memories, though scientists don’t fully understand how yet. Even more, it appears that different phases of sleep contribute to different types of memory.
Take, for example, episodic memory, which is memory of specific events and times. It seems that NREM sleep is when you integrate new memories into past memories, while the REM stage helps you retain all those memories. Semantic memory (facts, basically) are stored during N2 and REM sleep—so a nap or good night’s sleep really can help you learn — while new motor skills are consolidated during REM.
If you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, it’s likely you won’t make it through a complete sleep cycle or if you do, it’s probably not going to be good quality sleep. Practicing healthy sleep habits can help you get enough of these memory-boosting stages of sleep.
YOU WILL HAVE DREAMS
Ever wondered when (or how) you dream crazy mixtures of story lines? The “when” is during REM sleep. While experts aren’t sure exactly why we dream, they do know that dreams typically occur during this deep sleep period. And some evidence shows you may dream during other stages of sleep, too.
Ever wondered when (or how) you dream crazy mixtures of story lines? The “when” is during REM sleep. While experts aren’t sure exactly why we dream, they do know that dreams typically occur during this deep sleep period and some evidence shows you may dream during other stages of sleep, too.
Even though sleep experts aren’t completely sure why we dream, there are some theories. One theory is that dreaming can help encourage creativity. Another theory with mounting evidence is that dreaming helps you preserve memories from the day. So, it makes sense that you may have had a dream that included a very weird rendition of something going on at work or home.
Most people have about four to six dreams per night but it’s unlikely you’re going to remember all of them. You’ll probably recall bits and pieces of the dream that was closest to your wake time.
THE SLEEP DOCTOR’S TOP SLEEP TIPS
Besides powering down your electronics a few hours before bedtime, avoiding naps and getting regular exercise, Breus has a few other sleep secrets he shares with his patients. Here are his must-do’s:
• Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends (remember that your wake-up time is even more important than your bedtime so, keep it consistent) • Stop consuming caffeine by 2pm • Stop consuming alcohol three hours before lights out • Get 15 minutes of sunlight each morning
If you’re having trouble sleeping, whether it’s insomnia, sleep apnea, broken sleep patterns or just feeling shattered in the morning, why not contact Mind Solutions to talk through your issues and allow us to help you get a better night’s sleep!! One of the most common complaints about hypnosis is that it makes our clients fall asleep – not a problem anyone with sleep issues would complain about!