Sleep plays an important role in your physical and mental health
Sleep is an essential part of our daily lives. Out of the 24 hours of our day, 8 hours or 1/3 of the day should be dedicated to sleep. Why is it so important? Sleep allows our body to focus on rejuvenating itself. There are so many important processes that happen in our sleep. These processes include our replenishing hormones, resting our metabolism, processing skills we’ve acquired into our memory and healing. If the body does not get proper rest, it can effect your health and your ability to function during the day. Some common effects are heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, memory loss and stroke.
There are different stages in our sleep that we cycle through during the night: Non-REM and REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. For the most part, we are unconscious and unaware of our surroundings during these stages.
During the first few hours of sleep, the majority of our brain waves are in Non-REM sleep. These brain waves are very different from when we’re awake. In this stage, the muscles of the body all relax and recover from our daily movements. This is also the time in which the body heals itself. If a person is awoken during Non-REM sleep, they may experience a headache. This is because the brain waves are making a vast change from sleep to awake which can be difficult to process for the brain to handle.
After about four hours, the majority of our brain waves are in REM sleep. REM sleep brain waves are very similar to brain waves when the body is awake. The only difference is that the body is paralyzed during REM. In REM sleep, the brain starts to process things we learn during our day. It also rejuvenates the hormones we need in our daily lives. Remembering dreams is a good sign the body is getting is a good amount of REM during sleep. When people wake up from a dream, they may feel it’s easier to get out of bed. This is because the brain waves aren’t changing too much from REM sleep to awake.
Some sleep facts:
- Most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of rest a night;
- Sleep contributes to healthy brain function and emotional well-being;
- Sleep improves your physical health;
- Sleep recharges your body;
- Good quality sleep improves your daytime performance and safety;
- Non-rem and REM sleep cycles are important for learning, hormones, rest for vital organs and memory;
- Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.