What happens when I sleep?

By March 17, 2015Sleep

Sleep is both repair-time for your body and your brain! Let’s go behind the curtain to see what happens when you sleep.

Sleep is a journey

Healthy sleep had different phases. Through the night, you cycle from one phase to the other and back. Your body and brain need each of these sleep phases – here’s what they are, and what they’re doing for you:

First comes non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep

Normally, there are 3 phases of non-REM sleep, each lasting from 5 to 15 minutes.

  1. Your eyes are closed, but it’s still easy to wake you up.
  2. This is the light sleep stage. Your heart rate slows down and your body temperature drops as your body gets ready for deep sleep.
  3. Now comes the deep sleep stage. It’s difficult to wake you during this stage – if someone does, you’ll wonder where you are for a moment or two! This deep-sleep stage is when your body builds bone and muscle, strengthens your immune system and regrows tissue.

Next comes REM sleep

REM stands for rapid eye movement as your eyes move quickly in different directions during this sleep phase.

  1. REM sleep usually happens around 90 minutes after you fall asleep, and the first REM period lasts for 10 minutes or so.
  2. As your sleep phases cycle through the night, REM stages get longer. The last one may last up to an hour, and your breathing and heart rate quicken, getting you ready to wake up.
  3. Your brain is more active during the REM phases, and you can have intense dreams.
Read  What keeps you awake at night?

Now you know why your body needs 7 hours a night in a quiet and dark room! If you’re battling to sleep, or just want to know more, read Sleep Secrets.

Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com