According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis. It can have a major impact on our overall quality of life. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have enough time to complete all of the phases needed for memory consolidation, muscle repair and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.
Lack of sleep can result in sleep deprivation which can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. Some of these include high blood pressure, impaired concentration and weight gain.
To ensure your best night sleep read: 20 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed.
But, what happens to your body while you sleep? Keep reading to find out!
1. Your heart rate and breathing slow down- When you fall asleep you enter into a calm state of mind. It relaxes your heart and circulatory system.
2. Your body temperature drops- Believe it or not, your body temperature plays a huge role in regulating the circadian rhythm that determines when your body is prepared to go to sleep and wake up. According to Alaska Sleep Clinic, “researchers believe that our body temperature dips so that it can conserve energy for other functions that would normally be spent on maintaining regular body temperature.”
3. You may twitch- Have you ever felt your body twitch as your drifting off to sleep? It is common to experience hypnagogic jerks (the transition between wakefulness and sleep) and muscle spasms. Research suggests, “60 to 70 percent of people experience them. Many individuals may be visited by nightly hypnic jerks without even knowing it, as the twitches often go unremembered, particularly if they don't cause a person to wake up.”
4. Your skins collagen production increases- The growth hormone that is released while you sleep helps stimulate collagen growth. This will help increase your skins elasticity and strengthen your blood vessels.
5. You fight illness- While you’re sleeping, your body is repairing itself. Sleep allows your body and mind to reset, which protects and restores your mental and physical health. Your brain releases hormones that encourage tissue growth. This may help you recover from injuries such as sore muscles and cuts (WebMD).
6. You lose weight- As we probably already know, when we wake up in the morning and step on the scale we are lighter. This is because you lose water breathing out humid air while you sleep. (See: Weight Loss Myths You Shouldn’t Believe)