Ever wondered what exactly happens when you are asleep? Or for that matter, why do you sleep? Well, here we have 10 fascinating things that happen when you sleep and are off your conscious mind.
Your muscles are paralyzed
Our bodies tend to ‘turn off’ the muscles related to breathing except diaphragm during our sleep. You go into a state of waking up but it gets difficult to move or even talk. This is thought to be a neurological barrier that prevents us from ‘acting out’ our dreams.
Your eyes move at full speed
Yes, you read it right. When you are around 60 to 90 minutes into your deep sleep, your end move in full motion. This is called the REM (rapid eye movement) stage in the four stages of sleep. This happens without you being aware of it, because your mind is focused on what you’re dreaming.
You end up waking taller
During sleep, a growth hormone, called human growth hormone, is released. The discs in your spine rehydrate without the weight of your body weight pressing down on them, which is what happens when you stand up. Which is why they said we grow taller when we sleep.
You gnash and grind your teeth
This state is called Bruxism. When you wake up, you feel an unexplained facial pain, earaches, or tenderness near the jaw. The grinding is linked to stress, and you may not even realize you’re doing it in your sleep. Some may never even experience it, while some end up with cracked teeth and sore jaws.
You feel like you are falling
This happens almost every time you fall asleep (and happens to 70% of us). No one knows scientifically why this occurs but some say it’s the natural downshifting of the nervous system that occurs as you fall asleep.. Caffeine, stress, and sleep deprivation can increase the frequency of these hypnic jerks.
You get an “Out-Of-Body” experience
This Out-Of-Body is referred to as a neuropsychological phenomenon in which a person feels that his consciousness is outside his body and he can see his body lying on the bed. There has been no scientific reason behind it but could this be evidence of the soul? Could it be proof of life after death? You never know!
Sudden Explosions/Exploding Head Syndrome
Through this, you wake up with an explosion that you think might’ve happened. It is explained as your senses being still partly active even after your brain has slept or is heading towards a deep sleep. It’s a rare phenomenon but it does occur at times. You do not feel any physical pain but it may have an impact on your psychological health.
The Glymphatic System is activated
Your brain adapts the macroscopic waste clearance system and facilitates brain-wide distribution of several compounds, including glucose, lipids, amino acids, growth factors, and neuromodulators. It basically discards useless information and creates space for storing new information.
Sudden sexual arousal
During the REM state of sleep, your brain needs more oxygen, and therefore, a faster flow of blood. This blood flow activates the sexual hormones and you experience spontaneous sexual arousal.
Dreaming within a dream
This is a very common phenomenon that happens to the best of us. You feel like you’ve woken up, but you just end up seeing yourself sleep and become a part of the dream. You wake up, but in the dream, not in reality. You would relate to it if you’ve watched “Inception”. This may happen in a loop. [A false awakening loop is when a subject dreams about waking up over and over again, sometimes even up to 10 times or more without knowing which time they are actually awake.] It gets difficult to differ from reality and one might end up carrying out actions in a state of unconsciousness.
All of this suggest that the human body needs the 7 to 9 hours of sleep and it is necessary for the body to function properly. If you don’t get enough sleep, you might experience side effects like poor memory and focus, weakened immunity, and mood changes. Work towards your sleep cycle and fix it before your quality of sleep is ruined.