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12 weird things your body does while you're sleeping

Posted by lorrainelea on Dec 22, '15

Even though your mind is soundly in the land of dreams, your body may be doing something you're completely unaware of while you sleep. So what actually happens during those hours of solid shut-eye?

  1. Your eyes move. We experience five stages of sleep every night, with REM as the last and most active phase. During this stage, we begin to dream, and our eyes dart quickly back and forth. We generally have no memory of this in the morning.
  2. You jerk awake. Most of us will have experienced a dream where we feel as if we are falling, only to jolt awake suddenly. Although this is a natural and a common part of falling asleep, experts say it is likely to happen more if you are overtired.
  3. Your body detoxifies & regenerates. While we're sleeping, our muscles, bone and other tissues are busy regenerating. The human growth hormone is typically released in our deepest stage of sleep and is thought to be prompted by low blood glucose levels. This growth hormone stimulates collagen growth, which strengthens blood vessels, gives skin elasticity and combats wrinkles.
  4. Your muscles become paralysed. While you're in the REM stage of sleep, the muscles in our arms and legs are temporarily paralysed. This is believed to be our body's mechanism to stop us acting out our dreams. sleeping 2.jpg
  5. You may start talking. About 5% of adults talk in their sleep. This usually happens within the first hour or two of sleep, when there is still enough muscle tone to produce the sounds or movements that accompany your dreams.
  6. Your body temperature drops. When we're up and active during the day, we burn more calories, so to reduce the burn rate during the night, our body goes into survival mode and lowers its temperature (much like how a bear would hibernate).
  7. Your brain is at its most active. Believe it or not, when you dream, your brain is just as active as when you are awake! While no one really understands why a sleeping mind is active, one theory is that in REM sleep, your brain organised thoughts and learnings and files information. It is even capable of making important connections and discoveries.
  8. You consistently wake up. It happens so briefly, you don't even remember it happening, but as we shift between different phases of sleep, we will wake up between 5 and 15 times an hour.
  9. You lose weight. This is the reason it's always best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning! You lose water by sweating and breathing out humid air during the night. This happens during the day too, but by eating and drinking, you are negating the weight loss. sleeping 1.jpg
  10. You get taller. Another one of those strange-but-true facts is... you gain height while you sleep. As the discs in your spine re-hydrate at night, they get bigger because they don't have the weight of your body pressing down on them as they do when you are standing.
  11. Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Your resting body doesn't need to work as hard or pump as much blood, so these systems slow down and your cardiac and circulatory system have time to relax and repair.
  12. You may have full body spasms. This sounds strange, but experts have assured us it is perfectly normal. As many as 70% of people experience their muscles suddenly contracting in a hyper jerk. This may have some link to anxiety or an irregular sleep pattern.

Topics: bedroom, body, lifehacks, weird, REM cycle, sleep

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