It's no secret that sleep is a vital biological need of the body. It helps to restore human immunity, to streamline the information received during the wakefulness process and to support many more processes, to the end, by the way, that have not been studied. We’ll talk more about what happens to a person during sleep.
Our soul and body require rest, and the most indispensable in this regard is sleep. Having missed it for some reason, we feel that we can’t move normally, as coordination is impaired, and memory and ability to focus are noticeably weakened. If the lack of sleep becomes prolonged, then all these symptoms are fixed, amplified and, among other things, become irreversible. No wonder sleep deprivation has always been considered cruel torture.
For an average of 8 hours allotted by a person for a healthy night's rest, he has 5 sleep cycles lasting up to 100 minutes. In addition, each of them has two phases - slow and fast sleep. How do they proceed?
To understand what happens during sleep, let's take a closer look at its stages.
Tired or poorly slept the day before, a person falls asleep at the slightest opportunity and immediately enters the phase of the so-called quick, or paradoxical sleep.
He was called so because at this time the sleeping readings of the electroencephalogram, heart rate and breathing are similar to those of an awake person, but almost all the muscles (except the diaphragm, the muscles of the auditory ossicles, as well as those holding the eyelids and moving the eyeball) completely lose their tone . That is, what happens during sleep in its fast (paradoxical) phase can be described as follows: the body is already sleeping, and the brain is working as before. By the way, it was at this time that we saw the most vivid and easily remembered dreams.
After 20 minutes from the beginning of falling asleep, a person enters the phase of slow sleep.
What happens during slow sleep
The share of slow sleep, as experts have found, accounts for 75% of all night rest. It is customary to consider several stages of this phase.
- Nap. If you are healthy and go to bed on time, then it takes 5-10 minutes, during which you are immersed in a deeper sleep.
- Immersion in a dream. This stage, as a rule, lasts about 20 minutes. What happens in the body during sleep at this stage? The process is characterized by a slowdown of the heartbeat, a decrease in body temperature, and the appearance on the EEG of the so-called “sleep spindles” (short bursts of brain activity with a low amplitude), during which the person’s consciousness almost turns off.
- Deep dream.
- The deepest delta dream. Sleeping at this time is difficult to wake. And even waking up, he can’t recover for a long time. It is at this stage that manifestations of sleepwalking, enuresis, talking in a dream and nightmares are possible.
Then the person, as if starting to wake up, enters a state of REM sleep. Such phase changes occur throughout the rest, and if the latter was sufficient, then, waking up, a person feels fresh, cheerful, updated.
Physiological processes occurring in a dream
In the body of a sleeping person, despite his external immobility, relaxation and lack of reaction to stimuli (of course, if they are not very strong), many processes occur.
- Through the skin at this time, as a rule, a lot of moisture evaporates, which leads to a slight weight loss.
- The production of a special protein, collagen, increases, by the way, which strengthens blood vessels and restores skin elasticity. Apparently, film and pop stars are not cunning, saying that a good 8-hour sleep helps them to look good (though it’s worthwhile to clarify: not immediately after a hearty dinner).
- In addition, a person grows in a dream (yes, this is not at all the invention of mothers and grandmothers who do not know how to put a restless child in bed), since his growth hormone at this time has the highest concentration in the blood.
- As a person goes into sleep, one after the other, almost all the muscles of the body relax, except those that keep the eyelids closed. They remain tense, and the eyeballs under them move, which, by the way, indicates the stage of deep slow sleep.
As you can see, the processes in the body during sleep are diverse - with their help, a kind of cleansing is carried out, which prepares the body for daytime wakefulness.
What is the brain needed for?
Probably everyone knows that our brain does not dormant during sleep. During a night's rest, he practically ceases to respond to external stimuli and concentrates on internal needs, performing the main task at that moment - sorting and processing of daytime information and sending it to the appropriate areas of the “territory entrusted to him”.
By the way, thanks to this process, everything that happens to the brain during sleep can be considered a kind of “general cleaning”. It helps us wake up in the morning with a different - clear and logical - look at the problems that seemed insoluble yesterday. And schoolchildren and students have been using this for a long time, noting that the material that you study before bedtime is best remembered.
If a person has regular chronic lack of sleep, the brain does not have enough time to structure and hammer in the “memory cells” the information received, which leads to complaints of fog in the head and severe memory impairment.
How does brain washing
Asking the question: “What happens in the body during sleep?”, The researchers found that a similar condition for brain cells and tissues is akin to a kind of “cleansing enema”. After all, toxins that enter the body with food or as a result of failures caused by stress settle not only in the digestive tract, liver or kidneys. It turns out that they accumulate in the cerebral fluid, both in the spine and in the skull.
In a dream, the surrounding neurons glial cells shrink, decreasing in size, due to which the intercellular space becomes larger and allows more fluid to pass through. And she, in turn, leaches toxins from nerve tissues, saving us from the formation of protein plaques, which would impede the transmission of signals between neurons and contribute to the early development of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's diseases.
What does a person need to get enough sleep?
So, we discussed what happens in the body during sleep. Each of us needs a different time to relax and to get up after him vigorous and renewed. In total, people spend an average of five to ten hours a day on sleep. Somnologists (specialists who deal with sleep problems and its impact on human health) believe that it is still not the quantity that matters, but the quality of the night's rest.
It is noticed that people sleeping calmly and rarely changing their posture feel more alert and rested in the morning than those who toss and turn a lot. But why, having taken a seemingly comfortable position in bed, we nonetheless change our position? It turns out that our nighttime body movements are largely dependent on external stimuli - flashes of light, noise, changes in air temperature, the movement of a spouse or child lying nearby, etc.
Somnologists believe that 70% of such movements are poorly reflected in the quality of sleep, or rather, on its ability to go into the deep phase. And this just does not allow a person to fully sleep. Often we are forced to change our posture by a hard surface, a crowded stomach, and poor health, which means that when we go to bed we need to create the most comfortable conditions for ourselves.
About prophetic dreams
Somnologists, while studying dreams, also understood the so-called "prophetic dreams" and came to the conclusion that in reality there is nothing mystical about them. Trying to solve them, do not fantasize what happens to the soul during sleep. It is not she who wanders in the higher worlds, no, it is just that in the phase of slow sleep, the human brain picks up signals coming from internal organs and transmits them in the form of vivid images. A person sees colored dreams, and can interpret them based on simple analogies.
For example, if you dream of rotten vegetables or raw meat (in a word, inedible products), then there are problems with the digestive system. And terrible dreams that a person is suffocating or drowning, as a rule, indicate a violation of the respiratory organs. A burning fire can dream of angina pectoris, since one of the symptoms of this pathology is precisely the burning sensation in the chest.
But flying in a dream is a clear sign of growth in children and positive development in adults.
The value of sleep is difficult to overestimate
Everything that happens in the body during sleep haunts researchers. This much-needed and irreplaceable condition of a person is studied by physicians, psychiatrists and even esotericists.
There are many myths and sensations around this topic, but do not get too carried away with them, because a dream is primarily an opportunity to restore vitality and maintain health. Therefore, take care of your sleep and treat the physiological process described with respect!