What Happens While We Are Sleeping
When we go to sleep, whether it be our evening sleep or a quick nap during the day, there are several restorative functions that take place within our physical body. These include muscle growth, tissue repair and protein synthesis, which is why it is so important to get enough sleep. This is especially true if you are a physically active person who regularly stresses your muscles through exercise. It is also during sleep that the release of growth hormone is at its highest. If a person is unwell then they will likely need more sleep than usual so that their body can fight off the illness and work on healing itself.
On a cognitive level, sleep is essential to rest and reboot the system. When we are awake the many neurons of our brain are constantly working to send messages to our body. A by-product of this cellular activity is the production of adenosine. Adenosine is responsible for the feeling of drowsiness and as it builds up in the brain during your wakeful state, you eventually start to feel sleepy. When we are asleep the body works to remove the adenosine from the body.
To go without sleep for an extended period of time can be very unpleasant and can cause some serious side effects such as poor concentration, depression, paranoia, headaches, and erratic moods as well as physical discomfort. On the other hand, oversleeping as a healthy adult can also cause some unpleasant symptoms such as lethargy, headaches and ill temper/erratic moods. For these reasons, it is important to find the right sleep time for you and aim for that each day.
The Benefits of a Power Nap:
When your evening sleep has been disturbed or you are feeling tired during the day, then a power nap can be just what you need to recharge your batteries. Interestingly, different length power naps have been shown to provide different results.
Sleeping for between 15- 20 minutes will reset your system and provide you with a refreshing burst of energy as well as increase your motor performance, which makes this an ideal nap time to help you focus for a specific task. This is also the ideal nap time to prevent that groggy feeling people often get when they sleep in the daytime.
A longer nap of between 30-60 minutes provides a slow wave sleep. This has been proven to be more effective for improving the ability to retain and recall information as well as make decisions.
In order to achieve a deeper REM sleep your nap needs to be between 60-90 minutes. This length of sleep is believed to stimulate creativity and be ideal in assisting with lateral thinking skills.
So depending on how much time you have and which goal you have in mind, you can set your alarm to ensure you get the perfect power nap to restore you for the rest of your day!
How do you incorporate sleep into your self-care routine? Have some sleep tips to share? Let us know next time you're in the studio or find us on social media! Happy sleeping!