You probably look forward to doing absolutely nothing when you finally hit the hay. But you never truly switch off. Even when you’re fast asleep, you do more than you imagine.
From miraculous things, like transforming short-term memories into long-term ones. To bizarre things, like growing taller temporarily and darting your eyes. Let us be the first to tell you that you have a slew of weird nocturnal habits that you aren’t in control of…
1. You Go Through 5 Different Sleep Cycles
Each five stage cycle lasts about 90 minutes. You go from light sleep, through two relatively calm periods, into deep sleep, and finally the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage when dreams occur. Make the most of it – as you get older, you spend progressively less time in the REM stage.
2. You Change Your Sleeping Position 35 Times
3. You Turn Your Short-Term Memories into Long-Term Ones
The final stage of your sleep cycle, REM is like hitting the save button on your memories. That’s why scientists believe a good nights’ sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
4. You Shed 2 grams of Skin
You won’t miss them. But that’s 700g a year according to the World Health Organisation, which slowly builds up in your mattress – creating a breeding ground for bed bugs. Use a mattress protector, hoover and flip your mattress occasionally to combat.
5. You Invent Stories
No one really knows why we dream, but sometimes they feel incredibly real. If you wake up after the REM stage of sleep, you stand a good chance of remembering them.
6. You Have a Natter
Your ‘somniolquy’ (sleep talking) is easier for others to understand when you’re sleeping lightly. But unless you’re told, you probably don’t realise that you’re doing it.
7. You Forget Useless Information
During sleep, your brain sorts through memories and information. There’s no need to remember everything, so you don’t.
8. You Wake Up Between 5-11 Times per Hour
It’s so brief that you don’t remember it, but it usually happens when you’re entering a different stage of the sleep cycle – transitioning from dreaming to deep sleep, for example.
9. You Grind Your Teeth
A fifth of adults do it during the first two stages of sleep.
10. You Grow Taller
The discs in your spin rehydrate and expand, because the weight of your body doesn’t compress them when you sleep. Sleep in the foetal position on a firm mattress to maximise your growing potential.
11. You Dart Your Eyes
So much so that an entire stage of sleep is named after it – the Rapid Eye Movement period.
12. You Lose Weight
Water weight, through sweating and breathing.
13. You Take 12 Breathes a Minute
14. You Get 1°c Colder
That’s by 5am. Your body temperature falls steady throughout the night to save calories, and cooling down increases your chance of deep sleep.
15. You Do a Full Toxin Cleanse
Of your brain. It produces waste products throughout the day that can only be removed at night.
16. You Jerk Your Body
Ever felt that when you fall asleep? The bigger the jerk, the more tired you are, some say. Apparently happens because your body, while preparing for the changes that happen during sleep, misinterprets them as falling.
17. You Become Paralysed
Only temporarily. It’s a natural self-preservation technique to stop us flailing about, hurting ourselves and others, when we dream. Your limbs won’t move during the deep stage of sleep.
18. Your Repair All of Your Cells
Not just your brain cells, but any damaged during the day. That’s why you feel as though you’ve been hit by a bus when you’ve stayed up all night.
19. Your Brain is at Its Most Active
Some say a dreaming brain is more active than an awake one. You’re organising thoughts and information, making connections and discoveries as you go.
20. Your Heart Beats between 10 & 30 Times per Minute
Since you’re not physically active, compared to during the day. Which reduces your blood pressure.
21. You Fart More
Your muscles relax. What more can we say! But strong smells can’t wake you up, that’s why we have fire alarms, so you may well get away with it.