There are days when you start feeling cranky as soon as you get up. Everything seems extra irritating, and work may feel like torture. People keep asking you if you got up from the wrong side of the bed, but you know the real reason - you just didn't get enough time in bed! Basically, bad sleep means a bad day ahead. Well, at least for most of us.
We sleep for one-third of our lives, and yet don't give sleep the importance it deserves. You may survive longer without food than without sleep. Why is sleep so crucial? Does it only recharge you? No, a lot more goes on in our body. Basically, our body keeps functioning while we sleep. The brain works non-stop when we are busy getting some much-needed rest!
One sleep cycle consists of five stages: stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is also called the dreaming stage. In this stage, our breathing becomes erratic, heartbeat irregular, and the muscles get paralyzed.
On an average, each sleep cycle lasts for 90 minutes. In the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stages, our muscles are relaxed, breathing slows down, and the body repairs itself.
Things That Happen to the Body When You Sleep
Blood flow to the skin increases when we sleep, giving it a natural glow. Sleep deprivation leads to puffy and tired eyes. Sleep well for 7 - 8 hours, eat healthy, and stay hydrated for gorgeous skin.
The muscles in our limbs undergo temporary paralysis during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage, simply to ensure that we don't act out our dreams. We should be grateful for this, considering the variety of dreams we have on a regular basis. In the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stage, our muscles remain relaxed.
The eyes move rapidly from side to side in the REM stage. This is the deepest part of sleep, and is when we dream. As the night progresses, the duration of REM sleep increases. Our eyes are relaxed, and remain steady during the NREM stages.
Melatonin, which helps control body rhythm and sleep-wake cycle, is released. We wake up as its level starts decreasing. Leptin, which suppresses appetite, is released, and levels of ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, are lowered. That is why lack of sleep can lead to obesity.
Sleeping for less than 7 hours could decrease lifespan. It could take a toll on the immune system. Basically, enough rest is required for the body to function properly.
Usually, adults need 7 - 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis, but for some, even 5 hours can be enough. Of course, there are others who need at least 10 hours of shut-eye to feel fresh.