March 30th, 2020 by
We all know that it’s important to get our full 8 hours of sleep a night and how bad we can feel after a restless night. Our bodies can feel groggy, sore and even a little poorly after a sleepless night – which is why it’s so important to develop a sleep routine that works well for you. There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep and your body will definitely thank you for it. Here are a few interesting things that happen to your body whilst you sleep…
1. Your Body Starts to Heal
During sleep, your body starts to repair itself. This is one of the most fascinating things about the human body, which is why it’s so important to give your body that time to rejuvenate itself and heal any sores, aches or injuries you may have. Certain chemicals that strengthen your immune system start to pulse through your blood, targeting areas that need healing and a little TLC. That’s why when you feel poorly or ache, you’ll have been told to see if you can ‘sleep it off’, in the hope that your body will be able to repair that certain area of your body as you drift off to sleep.
This is also why we often sleep for longer when we’re poorly. Ever gone to bed feeling sick and woken up to find that you’ve slept way longer than you usually would? That’s because your body needs you to be asleep for as long as possible in order to fight any bugs or viruses off and to repair your immune system.
2. Your Brain Has a clear Out
It might sound crazy, but scientists have proven that your brain starts to remove information that you no longer need or that it deems ‘pointless’ as you sleep. This is one of the reasons why you’re able to concentrate on important issues more after you’ve slept (especially things like writing, reading, fixing puzzles and studying), as you’ll often find that your mind seems clearer and easier to concentrate on the task in hand. This is also why sleep is super important at the end of a long working day and the night before an important exam!
This is also linked to the feeling of having a ‘fuzzy’ brain. If you’ve ever felt like your brain is a little all over the place after studying, working or just simply a tiring day, it could be because you’ve taken in so much information, without any sleep in-between for your brain to process it. It’s not so much that your brain completely eliminates information that it deems pointless, but it does order the information in order of importance – making you feel less flustered and more refreshed when you wake up.
3. Your Hormones Shift
A lot of things change internally whilst we sleep, even our hormones. Scientists have noted that our growth hormone goes up (particularly in children and teenagers, but still even when we are fully grown adults!) and hormones that are linked to stress dramatically go down. If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘things always seem worse at night’, this may be because your stress-related hormones (such as cortisol) are more active on a night and are quietened down as you sleep – making you feel more peaceful and relaxed once you wake up.
Similarly, on a night when we’re tired, we’re usually more irritable. Not only is this because we’re overtired in general, but it’s also been shown that hormones relating to negative emotions become more active at night and are quietened down as you sleep. Allowing you to wake up in a much better mood and with a new frame of mind.
4. Your Skin Heals
Whether you suffer from skin issues such as acne or eczema or even if you don’t, your skin starts to repair itself overnight. If you’ve ever had a blemish, you’ll know they tend to look a lot better in the morning than the night before and this is because having at least 8 hours of sleep gives your skin the chance to heal and clear out.
Scientists have also noted that people who have enough sleep are able to tackle damage caused by ultraviolet light much more effectively than those who don’t– perfect for this day and age where we’re all getting our fair share of exposure to this type of light.
5. You’ll Feel Less Bloated
During the ‘deep sleep’ sections of your sleep cycle, your body begins to break down your food and create energy. Although your body does this throughout the day, with you completely resting, your body is able to do it more efficiently and leave you feeling energised and ready to go the morning after.
This is one of the reasons why you might have heard people telling you that you’ll lose weight if you sleep more, or not to eat straight before bed. These are actually both true (although don’t be expecting a six-pack or to lose a noticeable amount of weight!), as what really happens is that your food just gets digested properly – reducing bloating and stomach irritation.
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