25 Things Your Body Does While You Sleep

There are numerous reasons why sleeping is many people’s favorite activity. This peaceful part of our day is vital for both our physical and...

There are numerous reasons why sleeping is many people’s favorite activity. This peaceful part of our day is vital for both our physical and mental well being; it is a state of mind when we can dream, relax, restore our energy etc. We often tend to think of our slumber as a very inactive and quiet activity. But as you will see in our post today, that is not true at all. You will be surprised to learn how many things are actually going on in our body when we are having a doze. You do not need to worry though. All of the things are totally normal, helping your body to work properly once you are awake again. As long-term sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on your health (see these 25 Scary Surprising Effects Of Sleep Deprivation), it is important to understand and appreciate your sleep. After all, we spend a whole third of our life sleeping. Therefore, today’s post with things your body does while you sleep might come in handy as it will help you better understand what is going in our body while we slumber away. From bruxism and sleep walking to exploding head syndrome and sleep apnea, here are 25 Things Your Body Does While You Sleep.


Your body temperature drops


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As most of our muscles became inactive during sleep, the body burns fewer calories than during the day, so the body temperatures drops. Scientists have figured out that your body temperature is usually lowest at around 2:30 am.


Your eyes move


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Though covered with lids, your eyes move in sleep. In fact, their movement even differs with the particular stages of sleep. First, they roll, and later on, when we get into deeper sleep, they twitch and dart about. However, we usually don’t remember this.


Your body jerks

sleeping woman

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Sudden twitches and hypnic jerks are mostly associated with the first stages of sleep. They are usually harmless, but they might be strong enough to actually wake you up.


Your muscles are paralyzed


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There is a good reason why most of your muscles become paralyzed in sleep – if they were active, you would be able to act out your dreams, which would be, of course, extremely dangerous.


Your skin repairs itself

sleeping woman

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The top layer of the skin is made of closely packed dead cells which are constantly shed during the day. In sleep, the skin’s metabolic rate speeds up, and many of the body’s cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins. As proteins are needed for cell growth and repair of damage from factors like UV rays, deep sleep may indeed be beauty sleep.


Your brain forgets useless information


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“We take in all this information all day long, and most of it is luckily forgotten,” says sleep specialist Christopher Colwell at UCLA School of Medicine. “If you remembered everything, it would fill up your brain, so a sorting process takes place during sleep.”


Your throat gets narrow

man sleeping

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Unlike most other muscles, throat muscles do not become paralyzed during sleep as they are needed for us to breathe. However, they are more relaxed, causing the throat to narrow. This might also help contribute to snoring.


Your body secrets hormones

growth hormone

Source and image: en.wikipedia.org

During slow-wave sleep, the human body secretes bursts of growth hormones that stimulate growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. All sleep, even during the day, is associated with secretion of prolactin, an important regulator of the immune system.


Your immune system is at its all-time high

immune system

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It has been shown that sleep deprivation affects the immune system. One study showed that people who received flu shots and were sleep-deprived the next night did not create the antibodies required to protect against the flu. Therefore, if you notice the first signs of an infection, try to sleep as long as you can to give your immune system time to beat the illness.


You lose weight

lose weight

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While sleeping, you lose water through perspiring and breathing out humid air. This happens during the day too, but eating and drinking negates any weight loss. Therefore, having a good and long sleep is necessary for any diet to be successful.


Your mouth gets dry

drinking water

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As saliva is mostly needed for eating, and we don’t eat while sleeping, the salivary flow is reduced in night. Consequently, you might have dry mouth and be thirsty when you wake up in the morning.


You might grind your teeth


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It is estimated that about 5% of people suffer from a bizarre condition known as sleep bruxism. This parafunctional activity manifests itself by excessive teeth grinding and may eventually lead to damage of the teeth. Scientists are not sure what exactly causes this condition, but they believe it might be a form of stress relieving.


Your body gets taller

measuring height

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It has been discovered that people can be up to several centimeters taller in the morning than they are in the evening. While sleeping in a horizontal position, your spine extends as the weight of your body doesn’t press down on it.


Your blood pressure plummets

blood pressure

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When sleeping, you experience what is known as “nocturnal dipping” of your blood pressure. If you’re otherwise fit, your blood pressure can drop by about 5 to 7 points with a good night’s sleep.


You might sleepwalk


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Scientifically known as parasomnias, sleepwalking and other mid-sleep activities include behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and dreams that usually occur during the transitions between some of the sleep stages. Parasomnias are mostly harmless, but there have been cases when people injured themselves while sleepwalking.


You might get sexually aroused

sleeping woman

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Both men and women might get sexually stimulated while sleeping. As your brain is more active during sleep, it requires more oxygen. As a result, blood flow all over the body increases, causing swelling of genitalia.


Interested in more cool sleep-facts? Take a look at our list of 25 Cool Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t Know.


You dream

girl sleeping

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The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, but it is known that an average person has 3 to 5 dreams per night. Dreams mainly occur in the first stage of sleep when your brain is the most active; however, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten.


Your brain makes decisions


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A recent study has found that the brain can process information and prepare for actions during sleep, effectively making decisions while unconscious. In fact, your brain can even make important connections and discoveries while you are dozing.


You have gas

bad odor

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You won’t be happy to hear this, but during the night, your anal sphincter muscles loosen slightly, making it easier for the gases in your intestines to go out. The good news is that your (and everyone else’s) sense of smell is reduced while sleeping, so your farts will probably go unnoticed during the night.


You do a full toxin cleanse

sleeping woman

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Getting rid of toxins allows your body and brain to rejuvenate. In people who don’t sleep well, the filtration isn’t as effective, so experts say that may help explain why people who are sleep-deprived can go a little crazy.


You wake up without knowing it


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Scientific studies have found that people wake up many times while sleeping, but these awakenings are so brief that we don’t remember them. They usually occur during the transition periods between different sleep stages.


You might stop breathing


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Millions of people all over the world suffer from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. The disorder is characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow breathing during sleep.  Each pause can last for a few seconds or even several minutes.


You might hear an explosion


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Exploding head syndrome is a rare benign condition in which a person hears loud imagined noises (such as a bomb exploding, a gunshot, or a cymbal crash) or experiences an explosive feeling when falling asleep or waking up. It is painless but frightening for the sufferer.


You might sleep talk

sleep talking

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Sleep talking is a parasomnia that refers to talking aloud while asleep. It can be quite loud, ranging from simple mumbling sounds to loud shouts and long, frequently inarticulate speeches. It can occur many times during a sleep cycle.


Your pain tolerance is higher

wrist pain

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When your body is totally relaxed to the point of being paralyzed, the nerves can’t receive pain signals and report those signals to the brain. This is also why we don’t hear, smell, see, or feel well during sleep.

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