But have you ever wondered what actually happens to your body while you are asleep?
Regardless of sex or age, a good night’s sleep is important. Sleep gives your body a chance to restore and regenerate. Not only does it recharge (give you energy) but it also attends to all of the metabolic functions required by the body, such as regenerating old cells, getting rid of wastes and repairing cell damage.
Your body temperature contributes to the regulation of your body clock (circadian rhythm) which helps determine when it’s time to sleep and time to be awake. Just before you fall asleep, your core body temperature starts to decrease, making it easier to drift off. A higher core body temperature can make it difficult to fall asleep (this is why some hot summer nights it can be hard to sleep) so it is recommended that you don’t keep your bedroom temperature too high.
When you sleep, your heart doesn’t need to work as hard, so your heart rate is generally a bit slower. The deeper your sleep gets your heart rate continues to get progressively slower and your blood pressure also decreases.
Release growth hormones
When you sleep, your body gets to work repairing itself. As you move into the deepest stage of sleep, your body releases hormones, including growth hormones. These hormones help to repair muscles and tissue. The blood supply increases at this time too, giving them the nourishment they need to grow. Your muscles also naturally relax, which may help to relieve the general tension that builds up during the day.
Not only your muscles repair themselves during sleep, the growth hormone your body releases get to work regenerating skin cells and repairing the skin from daily exposure to the sun and general pollution. During sleep, water accumulates under the skin, making it look plump and smooth.
Sleep will also boost your mental well-being, fertility, sex drive and help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Your body also works to balance your hydration level as you sleep, which is another reason it is important to re-hydrate during the day.
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
Sleep loss can cause changes in hormone levels, which in turn are likely to cause increased hunger and appetite, this can also lead to unhealthy eating habits.
If you don’t get enough sleep, sleep deprivation leads to forgetfulness and brain fog (making it hard to concentrate and make decisions) as well as making you irritable and moody. Continual lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, depression and anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
So now you know what happens to your body when you sleep.
While you are sleeping, your body is pretty hard at work, making sure you are ready to greet tomorrow feeling refreshed! Hopefully, this blog has helped you to understand why building good habits around sleep is so important.
Daina Hutchins, Qualified Personal Trainer
Daina has been in the fitness industry since 2016 and is the co-owner of Down Under Barbell (www.downunderbarbell.com). A weight trainer herself, she enjoys training others in high-intensity groups. Currently pursuing diploma in weight management, she is a qualified strength coach, boxing (for fitness) coach and pre- and post-natal fitness.
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