What happens when you sleep?

What happens when you sleep?

Unlock the secrets: What happens when you sleep? Delve into the fascinating journey through the four stages crucial for optimal function, a voyage essential for our well-being. Adults undergo approximately five cycles during a typical night’s rest, each cycle a symphony of neurological and physiological activity that orchestrates emotional balance and physical restoration. Within these stages lie the hidden mechanisms of our brain’s maintenance and repair, a choreographed dance of neural connections and bodily processes essential for sustaining health and vitality. Let’s embark on this exploration of the intricate tapestry woven in the depths of our slumber, where the mysteries of sleep await discovery.

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What is NREM? (Non-Rapid Eye Movement)

  • N1 – in light sleep where everything starts slowing down, but you can be woken up easily.
  • N2 – still in light sleep, but body continues to slow everything down and muscles relax.
  • N3 – Deep sleep and heart slows down further and brainwaves decelerate. Deep sleep in N3 is restorative and promotes tissue and muscle repair which is why children and adolescents need more sleep than adults. N3 is necessary for energy. An increase in blood flow activates the immune system. Everything slows down to prepare for REM.

What is REM? (Rapid Eye Movement)

Even though you are now in deep sleep and your body is immobile, your brain activity and eye movement increase.

REM is when dreams occur as neurons in the brain are switched on causing vivid images. It is believed that REM is important for memory consolidation and cognitive abilities as we age. This is where your emotions and memories are processed and stored making this an important stage for learning. As in N3 your body uses deep sleep to repair and restore cells and helps to strength your immune system.

What happens when your sleep cycle is disrupted?

If you wake up during one of these cycles this will affect the quality of your sleep which is why you feel groggy and tired when you wake up.

However, having a disrupted sleep cycle over a long period of time can have some significant short and long term physical and mental health consequences.

Sleep plays a bigger role than you realise. Not getting enough sleep has such an impact when you are awake during the day. Our bodies need “time out” to restore and reset and getting an adequate amount of sleep will lower the risk of chronic illness and serious health issues later.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces cortisol which is a stress hormone. Although cortisol helps your body regulate the body’s response to stress, too much cortisol can lead to various health issues. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety and depression as well as cause weight gain and weaken the immune system. When you are tired, your brain cannot function properly, and this can have in effect on cognitive function and decision-making skills.

Effects of sleep deprivation:
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Focus & concentration
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Low energy
  • Low immunity
  • Low productivity
  • Memory
  • Mood
  • Stress & Anxiety
This could also heighten your risk for various illnesses
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • Pain & Inflammation
  • Skin problems

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Tips to ensure a good night’s sleep
  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
  2. Try eating a light supper, no later than 7pm.
  3. Avoid or limit caffeine or alcohol after this time. Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it will interfere with your sleep cycle. Rather have a soothing cup of chamomile tea before bedtime.
  4. Create a calm and stress-free environment before bedtime. Try switching off all devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Have some quiet time by reading a book or listen to some relaxing music.
  5. Meditation is a great way to prepare for a good night’s sleep. If you are new to meditation, download an App (#Smiling Mind, #Omvana or #RoundGlass Living) and try some Guided meditations. This will also help clear your mind and help manage your stress levels.
  6. Getting regular exercise will also promote better sleep. Be careful not to exercise too intensely late at night and rather try some yoga or stretching instead.

If you continue to struggle to get good quality sleep, then consider getting advice from your General Practitioner to identify any underlying problems.

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How can Magnesium help you sleep?

One of the best supplements for sleep is Magnesium as it helps regulate the body’s internal clock as well activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for keeping you calm and relaxed and is believed to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Magnesium is also used for restless leg syndrome and helps relax the muscles preventing a disruption to sleep. Not only does magnesium help you to fall asleep but it also helps you get deep and restful sleep.

Certain people are at a higher risk of having low magnesium:
  • People with Diabetes – low levels of insulin are associated with low magnesium levels. Magnesium is important in regulating blood sugar levels.
  • People with digestive problems often have a problem with absorption of vitamins and minerals which may cause deficiencies.
  • Drinking excess alcohol will deplete the body of magnesium.

Magnesium can also interact with some medications, such as diabetic or blood pressure medications.

Recommended Doses of Pure Haven Magnesium Spray: 15 to 20 Sprays first thing in the morning and before you go to bed. Magnesium can be sprayed directly in your mouth if you don’t mind a salty taste or mixed in a little water or juice. It is recommended to opt for grapefruit juice for its natural health benefits. If you are on any medication, then please consult with your doctor as grapefruit juice can change how certain drugs are metabolized in your body. Otherwise, any other juice will do.

Other Benefits of Magnesium

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Bone Health

Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in your body and is found in every cell of your body. 60% is found in bone which means that it is vitally important in supporting strong healthy bones. Studies have shown that low magnesium can cause brittle, weak bones leading to arthritis and osteoporosis.

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Muscle Spasms

Magnesium plays a big role in regulating muscle control. When calcium is released, this causes the muscle to contract, and magnesium competes with calcium to help release and relax the muscle. Too little magnesium can cause your muscles to cramp so taking a magnesium supplement will help release the muscle and relieve the spasm.

Magnesium also maintains a healthy heartbeat as Calcium stimulates muscle fibres in the heart and magnesium works against this to help the cells relax. When your magnesium level is low, calcium can overstimulate your heart which can cause an irregular heartbeat which can be life threatening.

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Depression, Stress & Anxiety

Low magnesium has also been linked to depression and anxiety as magnesium helps regulate brain function and your mood. Depression can be caused by many different things like chronic stress, bad lifestyle choices, some medications and bad diet but essentially, we are talking about inflammation in the brain. Magnesium helps restore serotonin levels which is important for nerve cells and proper brain cell function. GABA is an inhibiting neurotransmitter which helps the brain relax and calm down. When we run low of GABA our brains struggle to switch off and relax. When this happens, Magnesium counters this by binding to this receptor to slow brain activity down.

If you are under a lot of stress, it is vital that you take magnesium as chronic stress depletes the body of magnesium and low magnesium causes more stress on the body.

Some studies have shown that magnesium could reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Magnesium also restricts the amount of cortisol that is released.

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Migraines & Headaches

Migraines and headaches can be caused by a many different things like lifestyle, diet, medications, stress, dehydration, alcohol, illness but often people who suffer with migraines are often magnesium deficient. Magnesium is a far safer way to treat migraines than some medications which often have severe side effects. Magnesium is believed to lessen the tension in the muscles that cause headaches because of its role in muscle contraction and relaxation.

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Inflammation & Skin Conditions

Magnesium is known for its ability to fight off inflammation in skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. Although there is no known cure for this, magnesium can help manage the severity of the disease. Eczema sufferers are often magnesium deficient as this causes the skin to flareup causing itchiness and red blotching. This results in lower levels of fatty acids on the skin which is what causes dryness and inflammation.

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Foods High in Magnesium
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Beetroot
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Brown Rice
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut Milk
  • Figs
  • Kale
  • Legumes
  • Mackerel
  • Nuts
  • Oysters
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tuna
  • Yogurt, Kefir

Is Supplementation needed?

It is always best to follow a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced plant-based diet programme to keep our bodies healthy and strong to fend off illness.

However, many don’t follow a perfect lifestyle and the quality of our foods has deteriorated over the years and our bodies are already so overburdened with toxins that we absorb from food, cosmetics, body care products, cleaning chemicals and pollution. So much of our food is filled with artificial ingredients, corn, wheat, vegetable oils and sugar which are all known to contribute to inflammation and other more serious illnesses such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease. It’s a known fact that our fruits & vegetables do not have sufficient vitamins or minerals since most farmers do not let the ground rest long enough for the ground to replenish its natural minerals before planting another crop.

As we get older, our bodies change and so does our dietary needs. With age comes problems with absorbing the nutrients we eat. Our bodies don’t do this as efficiently enough as when we were younger. The older we get, the more medications we take which have many side effects and deplete your body of essential nutrients and vitamins. Supplements can help restore your body back to health.

We take many things for granted in life and our health should never be one of them. Keeping our bodies healthy keeps our minds strong. Our greatest wealth is our health so be kind to yourself, live healthy, be happy.

2 thoughts on “What happens when you sleep?”

  1. I’ve been delving into the fascinating world of sleep cycles and their importance, thanks to the blog on “What Happens When You Sleep.” 🌙 I never fully grasped the critical role sleep plays in physical repair until now. It’s truly an eye-opener. My heart goes out to those who work night shifts, as I can only imagine how challenging it must be to maintain a natural sleep cycle. The impact on their health and recovery when they’re unwell must be significant. 🌆😴💔

  2. Exploring the intricacies of sleep cycles and their profound importance, as elucidated in the “What Happens When You Sleep” blog, has been a revelatory experience. No more will I feel guilty to sleep, LOL.

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