Quite Interesting: Here’s What Happens To Our Bodies While We Sleep
To really appreciate all the complex and useful things our bodies do during the night, artist Jan Diem from “Huffington Post” made an outstanding infographic that displays it. Each stage of sleep is broken down and explained, as well as its duration, i.e. the description of the activities that are happening in our bodies.
The first stage is the time between consciousness and sleep, in which a person can very easily wake up. If you wake up at the stage you would feel as if you haven’t slept at all.
The second stage is what Philip Gehrman, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, calls “average sleep”, in which we spend half of our sleep time. In this stage our brain waves are slower, our heart rate is equal to this and the blood pressure is regulated. This means that most of the night our heart receives the necessary rest it needs, which could explain the cardiovascular benefits of balanced sleep.
The third stage is our deepest sleep, which is when brainwaves are converted into reflected, regenerated and slow waves with large amplitudes. Most of our functions are slower and the body begins to recover. It is also the stage in which people sometimes talk in their sleep, sleepwalk or eat. “REM” sleep is the stage in which we experience vivid dreams.
According to Gehrman, experts often call this stage “paradoxical sleep” because the body is relaxed while the brain functions as if you are awake. And yes, during that time we also experience quick movements of the eyes in other words “rapid eye movement”, from which this stage gets its name. Our muscles are paralysed, so we can’t physically experience our dreams, but our breathing and the number of heart beats vary significantly.
Researchers also know that at some point during sleep, alothough they aren’t sure when exactly, our bodies regulate hormones that control hunger and our brain locks its memories and uses data absorbed a day earlier.
Although it’s not always possible for us to sleep 7 to 9 hours at night, as recommended by experts, at least we can now appreciate what happens to our bodies when we sleep.