We sleep every night of our lives, but most people don’t think about what happens in the body while we snooze. Read this to learn some interesting facts about getting a good sleep.
When you close your eyes and doze off, you probably don’t think about all the things that are going on inside your body.
But, there are some amazing things happening behind the scenes while you are in dreamland. Knowing about them can help you rethink your sleep schedule and appreciate just how crucial your sleeping hours are.
Are you ready to take a different look at sleeping?
These eleven facts should do the trick.
1. Sleep “Detoxifies” the Brain
When your body is shut down, your brain gets rid of excess energy. When you fall asleep, all of the toxins that accumulate in your brain throughout the day are cleared away.
Sleep also reorganizes memories to make room for new information. Studies show that a good night’s rest can improve your memory, so be sure to get your zzz’s!
2. Staying Awake Too Long Can Feel Like Inebriation
According to the CDC, being awake for eighteen hours and driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
This means that sleep deprivation has the same effect on your reflexes, decision-making skills, and vision as drinking past the legal level.
If you would never get in a car and drive after drinking, make sure you are equally cautious not to drive while sleepy.
3. Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Weight Gain
Sleep deprivation is also proven to contribute to weight gain. The body senses a lack of energy but can’t differentiate the cause. When your body lacks sleep, the same hormones are released when you are hungry.
The hunger hormone ghrelin increases, while the satiation hormone leptin decreases. This change in hormones creates an intense need to eat junk food, which we all know is high in calories and low in nutrition.
If you eat this way on a normal basis due to lack of sleep, you’re likely to gain weight. In fact, you’ll probably gain more weight because sleepy people tend to move a lot less and burn fewer calories throughout the day.
4. The Less You Sleep, the Lower Your Pain Tolerance
Losing sleep can turn you into a big wimp. That’s right, when you don’t get enough rest, you can handle far less pain.
The science behind this is that a lack of sleep creates less dopamine in the brain. Because dopamine filters pain signals, you’ll feel pain with more intensity than if you got plenty of rest.
5. Frequent Nightmares Could Lead to Dementia
Those who suffer from frequent nightmares could have a neurological condition called rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, or RBD.
According to one study, these are the first to suffer from neurological disorders that could progress to age-related cognitive decline.
As the REM neurons sicken, the brain develops diseases such as Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia.
6. Listening to Music with 60-80 BPM Can Help You Fall Asleep
Do you feel moved by music? Can a good tune make your day?
If so, you’ll appreciate this little tidbit:
Studies show that music with sixty to eighty beats per minute, like classical or jazz music, can help you fall asleep. This type of music helps to slow the breathing and thought patterns to match the beat.
There may be times when you find it hard to turn off your brain from a stressful day. The right song may be all you need to get some good shut-eye.
7. Good Sleep Lowers Inflammation
Sleep causes inflammation, and inflammation causes diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and more. The idea of protecting yourself from these life-altering diseases should be enough to motivate you to prioritize sleep.
If you already suffer from these diseases, you should be taking your rest quality more seriously, as they can worsen with a lack of rest.
Although scientists don’t yet understand why lack of sleep causes inflammation, it’s proven nonetheless.
8. Lack of Sleep Can Contribute to Depression
Have you ever known someone who gets happier when they are tired?
It should come as no surprise that a consistent lack of good sleep can cause depression. When you’re depressed, you’re less likely to want to be around other people. Therefore, a lack of sleep can affect your social life.
Even those who already have depression can see their symptoms worsen if they don’t get enough sleep. Unfortunately, insomnia can be caused by depression and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle.
9. Sleep Bolsters the Immune System
When your body is in a restorative sleep state, it can fight off infections and viruses better. It’s not moving or putting energy toward the other processes it does during the day, so it can focus on eliminating the problem.
Studies show that the production of T-cells and cytokines reach their peak when we are in a deep sleep. The longer we are in that restorative state, the more time these cells have to reproduce and attack any dangers in the body.
10. Sleep Is More Important Than Food
According to the studies that show how long the human body can survive in dire situations, you can go longer without food than without sleep.
Granted, no fatality has been reported from lack of sleep, but the body protects itself from this by going into different states of consciousness that allow for the same restoration to take place.
11. Lack of Sleep Can Lower Libido
One study, in which men were deprived of the recommended amount of sleep for one week, showed that they all had a drop in testosterone levels by 10-15%. This reduction in testosterone significantly lowers a man’s libido.
This lowered sex drive doesn’t only affect men. According to another study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a woman’s sexual response is greatly affected by the number of hours of sleep they get the night before.
If you want to use the bed for something other than sleep, make sure to get your sleep first!
With all the responsibilities we need to pack into one day, it can be all too easy to put sleep at the bottom of our to-do list.
Hopefully, these facts will make you think twice about burning the midnight oil and go to bed at a decent hour for your best physical and mental health.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Palmia to help them with their online marketing.