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The Science Of Sleep: What Happens When You Go To Sleep?
You have finally reached your bed after a long day of work, but before you go to sleep, do you ever wonder what happens in your body when you close your eyes? Sleep is not just about resting the brain and body.
It's actually an active process that changes how our brains function. Researchers are still learning about the science behind sleep, but there are many findings that give us insight into its importance for physical health and mental well-being. Understanding this information may help with creating healthy habits around sleep hygiene! However, here is an in-depth look at what happens when you go to sleep.
The different stages of the sleep cycle are divided into two different categories, namely Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement. REM occurs in three periods throughout the night with an average duration of about 100 minutes. Non-Rapid Eye Movement is subdivided into four stages during which there are periods of deep sleep, light sleep, and dreaming.
The first stage of Non-Rapid eye movement is called Stage 1 Sleep; which takes up to ten minutes to reach. Stage 2 Sleep comes after this, followed by Stages 3 and 4, which are known as deep sleep.
The duration in each stage can vary across people but typically lasts for 50 minutes per stage. The amount of time spent in each stage also differs depending on the sleep cycle. Stages 1 to 3 are described as Non-Rapid Eye Movement Stages, while REM Stages in Stage 4 and last for about 20 minutes according to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
REM sleep is a necessary process to maintain the health of our brains and bodies. When we go through REM sleep, not only do we experience vivid dreams, but we also experience changes to memory, mood regulation, and neurogenesis that are linked to the development of new brain cells.
Another perk? REM sleep can help reduce stress hormones as well as aiding in memory consolidation. And because REM stages happen throughout the night, it's important for all stages of Non-Rapid Eye Movement as well as REM sleep to be obtained for adequate rest.
That being said, there are some cons worth considering when it comes to REM sleep. The heightened physical activity during this stage means that it's possible for you to feel sore in your muscles when you wake up even if you didn't move much while sleeping. Though this experience is rare, it can happen to those who are susceptible to REM Behavior Disorder.
Some other possible cons of REM sleep include increased appetite, nightmares, and sleep paralysis which are not pleasant experiences for most people. These occurrences usually stem from an imbalance in the brain's neurotransmitters which regulate REM sleep along with other bodily functions.
One way to make it easier to fall asleep is to avoid looking at your phone, tablet, or TV for a few hours before bed. These screens emit a blue light that throws off your brain's internal clock and makes it harder for you to sleep.
Another helpful tip is to make sure you have a clean room, comfortable bedding, and minimal noise. And of course- try not to take your worries with you!
Your body needs sleep. Sleeping well has physical and psychological benefits. By understanding how sleep works, you can take control of how long you sleep, which will improve your performance at work, keep you fit and healthy, and help you live a fulfilled life.