THE AMAZING HEALING POWER OF SLEEP
As you drift into sleep it may feel like your body is shutting down but it’s actually getting ready to restore and heal different bodily functions. When we are asleep the brain doesn’t just go ‘offline’, instead it’s busy sorting and processing the day’s information and filing it away for later use. A good night’s sleep re-energises your body and clears waste from the brain, supports learning and memory and plays a vital role in regulating mood, appetite and libido to help you wake up refreshed to face the challenges of a new day.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BRAIN WHILE YOU SLEEP?
Sleep puts the brain to sleep in stages as you cycle through areas of slow-wave sleep (SWS) or periods of Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM). It’s during REM sleep that we have the most vivid dreams and your muscles are temporarily paralysed, meaning you can’t move. Some scientists think this might be so that you don’t physically act out your dreams.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY HEAL WHILE YOU SLEEP?
Your immune system protects you.
Inflammation fighting Cytokines help your body fight inflammation, infection and trauma.
Hormones flood your body.
- Sleep causes the body to release hormones that can slow breathing and relax other muscles in the body, reduce inflammation and assist with healing.
- MELATONIN, a hormone made by the pineal gland, increases at nighttime and makes you feel sleepy.
- CORTISOL, produced in the adrenal glands, is involved in metabolism, immune and stress response. Cortisol, the ‘fight-or-flight hormone’, decreases during the first few hours of sleep and peaks just before waking up, making us feel hungry and perky.
- INSULIN, produced in the pancreas, controls glucose levels and how the body uses carbohydrates and fats in food. Levels of insulin are controlled during sleep so that we wake hungry.
- ALSOSTERONE helps regulate the levels of sodium and potassium in the body. Produced in the adrenal cortex, levels are high during sleep, which prevents us from needing to go to the bathroom.
- HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE, experts estimate that as much as 75% of HGH is released during sleep, mostly during the first period of Stage 3 sleep about an hour after you first fall asleep.
- TESTOSTERONE allows muscles to recover, helps your body to grow and repair itself. Testosterone levels rise during sleep and decrease during waking hours. Research has shown that the highest levels of testosterone happen during REM, the Deep, Restorative sleep that occurs mostly late in the nightly sleep cycle.
THE GREAT SLEEP DISRUPTORS.
There are emotional factors such as stress and anxiety and environmental disruptors such as the amount of light and the temperature of your bedroom, your comfort level and noise are all factors that disrupt sleep.
After stress and anxiety, breathing through your mouth is the most common disruptor that prevents you from enjoying sound, restorative sleep and it can cause snoring, sinus congestion, a dry mouth and a stuffy nose when you wake up. Control involuntary mouth breathing during sleep with sleepQ+.
Updated April 8 2020
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