During the day, your mind can race a mile a minute. From problem solving to day dreaming, your mind is constantly working. So, what happens when you fall asleep? Is your brain taking a break to recharge your batteries, making repairs or still working while you sleep? Find out for yourself:
1. IT LOCKS IN WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED
Have a hard time remembering that new password you created today? No worries, your brain will most likely help you remember by tonight. While you sleep, the brain restores information that may not have been able to stick earlier. Experts call this consolidation (making your mind stronger), and it’s important for protecting your memory. This can also help boost your ability to learn while you’re awake. If you’re wanting to learn a new language, your brain will help master that skill even when you’re sleeping!
2. IT REPAIRS ITSELF
The day can take a pretty gnarly toll on your body. Whether you’re a pro athlete or an office jockey, your body is constantly being broken down. Muscles fatigue, joints ache, and your brain scrambles. Sleep allows your body to put itself back together. It’s also the primary time when your body fixes your heart and blood vessels.
3. YOUR MIND STORES AND CREATES MEMORIES
While you’re asleep, your brain is busy creating new memories, consolidating older ones, and linking more recent with earlier memories. This happens during both your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep. Lack of rest can damage your hippocampus, an area of the brain for memory creation and consolidation. So, make sure you give your body a break, go to bed at a decent hour and help your mind grow stronger. Ever pull an all nighter for an exam? Sleeping will actually help you remember; not staying up for 24 hours.
4. ORGANIZES YOUR MEMORIES
Throughout the day, your brain processes an incomprehensible amount of information...literally. While your day makes a puzzle of information to sift through, sleep puts the pieces together. It helps process new things that you learned as well as catalog things that you’ll need to remember later.
5. HELPS YOUR BRAIN PERFORM BETTER
REM, also called deep sleep, is crucial to helping figure out complex problems, identify patterns, and recall information. In fact, the amount of time you spend in deep sleep has a direct correlation with how well you perform certain tasks. The coolest part? It doesn’t matter if your REM comes at night or during a power nap. It’s all beneficial in the same way.
6. IT CLEANS OUT TOXINS
Yep, that’s right. Your mind takes out the trash while you sleep. Your brain loves you and it doesn’t mind doing a little housekeeping while you snooze away. While you create z’s, you’re allowing your brain to flush out toxic molecules that were built while you were awake. If you don’t give yourself enough sleep, your brain can’t clean out those damaging molecules. This can lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
7. KEEPS YOU SANE
Researches figured out that if you go 24 hours without sleeping, you’ll start to exhibit the same symptoms as schizophrenia. That means that without sleep, your brain starts to exhibit the same problems as people with severe mental illnesses. So, make sure you give your body a break, go to bed at a decent hour and help your mind grow stronger.
8. YOU BECOME PARALYZED
During REM sleep, you literally cannot move a muscle. Your breathing and your eyes are not paralyzed, however, the rest of your body is. In this deep form of sleep, your brain is preventing your body from leaping off the side of the bed like Peter Pan, giving your lamp the Karate Kid wax on, wax off or giving your sleepy spouse a nice haymaker.
9. HELPS REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Inflammation rears its ugly head in tons of different forms. It can cause digestive disorders, headaches, and even physical and psychological degeneration. Sleeping too little actually results in many of the same problems as poor diet and sedentary behavior. Sleeping helps regulate hormones that stave off bad stuff like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.