The human body does a significant amount of work every day just to function, heal and protect itself. And it doesn’t stop just because we close our eyes and go to sleep. In a Ted Talk entitled “The benefits of a good night’s sleep”, Shai Marcu says:
Sleep isn’t lost time, or just a way to rest when all our important work is done. Instead, it’s a critical function, during which your body balances and regulates its vital systems, affecting respiration and regulating everything from circulation to growth and immune response.”
So, what’s really going on after your head hits the pillow? Some pretty amazing stuff, like:
TIME OUT FOR YOUR TICKER. Sleep actually provides a little bit of rest for your heart, when your heart rate and blood pressure slow down.
MUCH NEEDED MENDING. Human growth hormone is released by the brain during sleep: this is what helps repair and restore tissue.
MANAGING YOUR APPETITE. Sleep is essential to regulating the hormones that trigger appetite and feelings of fullness.
CONSOLIDATING MEMORIES. The deepest stages of sleep help solidify different types of memories, which assists with retaining information or acquiring physical skills. This is why you retain information or new skills better if you go to sleep one to three hours after studying or practicing.
CLEANING UP THE BRAIN SPACE. How smart is this? During sleep, the brain’s waste-flushing system is up to ten times more active compared to when you’re awake. In other words, it’s not distracted by things like helping you cross the street, decide what’s for lunch or hold an engaging conversation with your boss.
Impressive, isn’t it? Which ones do you find surprising, and which do you want to know more about? Join us on Facebook and let us know: