Sleep is essential for each and every one of us, that is something we can’t keep running without. What happens when we go to sleep?
Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.
Has it ever occurred to you that there are some things that happens to you in your sleep that it is difficult to explain? We are not talking about dreams or nightmares here, something else is meant.
1. Sleep paralysis
How many of you experienced that feeling in the middle of the night, lying wide awake but not being able to move? If we lived in the middle ages we would be told that there was a demon sitting on our chest, but these days the explanation is less evil. It happens because while you sleep your muscles are turned off so to speak while the brain is awake.
2. Your eyes move at full speed
During REM (aka rapid eye movement) sleep, your eyes dart from side to side, not that scientists know why exactly. Dreams occur during REM sleep, so it can be disconcerting to wake up during this deep—not light—sleep stage. You might feel most refreshed if you wake up right after you cycle through all the sleep stages, with REM occurring toward the end. Though it varies from person to person, one sleep cycle usually lasts 90 minutes, so try sleeping in intervals of 90 minutes. For example, you may find it easier to awaken after sleeping for 7.5 hours (five cycles) than after 8 hours (5⅓ cycles).
3. You grind/gnash your teeth
This phenomenon is called bruxism. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but some people may wake up with strong jaw pain after grinding their teeth at night. Bruxism can have a morphological origin that occurs as a result of a misalignment in the jaw. It can also be psychological — it’s a way to release emotional tension and stress accumulated during the day. However, studies have not yet managed to identify why some people never experience it, while others end up with cracked teeth and sore jaws.
4. You experience spontaneous sexual arousal
Just as men get erections during REM sleep, women become sexually stimulated then, too. And no, it’s not tied to whether you’re having that Brad Pitt dream again. Your brain is more active during REM sleep (since you’re dreaming), so it requires more oxygen—as a result, blood flow all over the body increases. “There is natural clitoral engorgement because blood rushes to that area and causes swelling.”
5. Your brain releases accumulated information and makes up stories
The way our dreams are formed still remains a scientific mystery. Today we know that our brain constructs dreamscapes from memories present in our daily lives and our deep subconscious material. Thus, recent experiences combine with the information we have stored for years: memories, traumas, emotions and feelings, to create mysterious and sometimes absurd dreams. However, it’s still not possible to determine why our mind travels to certain places at night, or why it chooses specific memories, colors, voices, scenes or people. Despite the great advances of science, dreams remains a big puzzle that has yet to be solved.
6. Your throat narrows
When you sleep, the muscles that hold your throat open when you’re awake relax, and the size of your throat decreases. This is one of the causes of deep snoring. Although there are other contributing factors, such as nasal obstruction, the tightening of the throat has a lot to do with the annoying noises that some people make when they sleep.