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What Happens When You Sleep?

Home >> Blogs >> Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences >> What Happens When You Sleep?

Clinical Directorate

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November 7, 2016 0 19 1 minute, 58 seconds read
Consultant - Psychiatry
Mental Health And Behavioural Sciences, Psychiatrist

The one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.

On an average your body requires atleast 9¼ hours of sleep. Teens need approximately 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow their body and mind to feel rejuvenated. In case the sleep is cut short, the body does not get enough time to complete all the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation, releasing hormones and regulating growth and appetite. Hence, the consequences are:

  • Less concentration in school activities, daily routine stuff
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Frequent headaches
  • Low appetite

A good night’s sleep regulates the levels of hormone ghrelin and leptin, which are responsible for triggering feelings of hunger ad fullness. So, when you are sleep deprived, you may feel the need to eat more that can lead to weight gain. 

What is the Sleep Architecture?

Sleep architecture follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep throughout the night in a cycle that repeats itself after every 90 minutes.

Stages of Sleep Play

NREM: We enter NREM sleep for approximately 75% of night. It has four stages:

Stage 1

  • Between being awake and falling asleep
  • Light sleep

Stage 2

  • Onset of sleep
  • Becoming disengaged from surroundings
  • Breathing and heart rate are regular
  • Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)

Stages 3 and 4

  • Deepest and most restorative sleep
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Breathing becomes slower
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Blood supply to muscles increases
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs
  • Energy is restored
  • Excessive secretion of growth hormone, which is required for growth and development as well as muscle development

REM : Almost 25% of night we are in REM sleep. The first time we enter REM stage is 90 minutes after falling asleep and then consecutively after every 90 minutes. This can also extend later in the night. It:

  • Provides energy to brain and body
  • Supports daytime performance
  • Brain is active and dreams occur
  • Eyes dart back and forth

Body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off! 

The levels of hormone cortisol dip at bed time and increase over night to promote alertness in the morning.The levels of hormone cortisol dip at bed time and increase over night to promote alertness in the morning.

Make Sure that you have a good night's sleep!

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