This Article is About
sensory organs
body metabolism
head ache
sound sleep
peaceful sleep
growth hormones
internal organs
conscious state
mind and body
half an hour
What Is Sleep?
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What is Sleep?

Have you thought any time what happens to you when you sleep? How is your body getting relaxed once you get up after few hours of sleep? To know about sleep in detail, you should know what sleep is.

Sleep is a state where we have a change in the conscious state to a semi or non-conscious state. In the conscious state we hear sound around us, see and feel things around us. But when we sleep, our mind and body enters a non-conscious state where the sensory organs are less active. This means that you may not hear sound or you may not feel someone touching you or may not be able to smell something near to you. You will not see things in front of you. Many of our internal organs change to a resting condition, though the body is still alive. We may not be able to react to certain situations. We will not be able to take any food except that we are able to breathe. The body metabolism is reduced about 5 to 10 percent. Sleep accentuates the growth of our immune systems. The nerves, skeletal system as well as muscles relax and thus get rejuvenated while we are sleeping. There is a sort of energy conservation happening while we are asleep. Mammals, birds, reptiles and fish sleep at some point in day or night. Sleep restores the energy that we have lost after a day’s hectic work. Growth hormones are secreted during sleep to assist in the rebuilding of the body.

We normally talk about different types of sleep - a quick nap, deep or sound sleep and a disturbed sleep. While a quick nap for half an hour in between a day’s work can refresh us, the deep or sound sleep gives us more energy once we wake up. Disturbed sleep may have after effects. One may feel very drowsy, have head ache and also we may feel very tired when we did not sleep well or our sleep gets disturbed. When we have common cold or when we are tense about some issues, we may not get a peaceful sleep and we wake up several times in between.

Sleep can be classified mainly as two types REM and Non-REM. REM is the short form for rapid eye movement. We all go through stages of REM and non-REM sleep.

During rapid eye movement sleep which is the normal stage of sleep the movement of the eyes are at random. REM sleep is very much required for any one, the absence of which can create an extremely depression state. This is about 20 to 25 percent of the total sleep for an adult human being. This mainly occurs around the morning time. The nerve cells or neurons in the brain during REM sleep behave much similar to the neurons during the waking hours. The brain activity is thus almost similar to that when we are awake. There could be some succession of scenes, images, sensations happening at this stage, which are normally called as dreams. It is quite easy to reconnect to dreams happening during the REM sleep once we wake up.

During non-REM sleep the eye movements are comparatively little or not at all there. The muscular system is not fully relaxed and there could be no chances of dreaming but there are chances of sleep walking during this stage. There are three stages of non-REM sleep. The stage-1 happens mostly at the beginning of the sleep where there is only a slow eye movement. Stage-2 has no eye movement at all. We will not be dreaming also at this stage. Stage-3 is a stage of deep sleep. It is common to dream at this stage. It is more common to dream during the REM stage. Unlike dreams in the REM stage, we may not be able to reconnect to the dreams in the non-REM stage.

It is easy to have four to five short sessions of REM sleep in a night’s sleep for a human being. They will be of short duration. If we look at the non-REM sleep pattern, it will be somewhat like stage-1, stage-2, stage-3 and stage-2 followed by the REM sleep.

Some people go to sleep the moment they go to bed. Some will take a longer time to get to sleep. Some will be more sensitive to the surroundings even while in deep sleep while others will never be able to make out what happens to them or next to them. Some people can sleep sitting or standing irrespective of where they are. At least 6 to 7 hours of sound sleep is required for proper body rejuvenation. Babies sleep more than adults. Research shows that the growth of babies is more during the first 12 months after birth and they grow in a faster rate at that stage compared to any other time.

Yawning is a common phenomenon associated with sleep. We have a general belief that we yawn because we are either tired or bored of hearing and/or doing something. It is common to yawn when we feel sleepy. But in fact, it can be due to the reduced supply of oxygen to the lungs. When we breathe normally, we don’t fill our lungs to its capacity. When the air sacs at the bottom of the lungs do not get adequate supply of oxygen, they may collapse and as a corrective action, our brain will force us to take a deep breath, sigh or we may even yawn to take more air in. It is almost like a chain reaction. If there are few people sitting next to each other in a room and if one starts yawning, within no time, we may see others also yawning.

Go to bed as early as you can so that you get sufficient time to sleep well.Try not to think of any serious matters or don’t even talk about something happened at your workplace which would have disturbed you before going to bed. On the bed, try not to bring in any topics of which you are worried about. This can really spoil your sleep. Everybody, even machines need proper rest after doing tiresome work. There are various tips to get proper sleep. But it also varies from person to person how these tips work for them. Avoid taking sleeping pills unless in extreme, unavoidable situations. They have side effects and in the long run can harm your health.

We all complain about sleep every other day. Remember, you not having proper sleep can be dangerous to others too. Sleep well and get refreshed for a better tomorrow.

Street Talk

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