Humans spend a third of their lives asleep, so all that shut-eye must be doing something positive for the body and brain, right? Yes! It absolutely is. Find out, below, about all the various ways that your zzz’s are helping you stay healthy (both mentally and physically) and feel great.
Your brain is busy restoring itself while you sleep. While you’re awake, certain neurons in the brain are actively producing a chemical called adenosine, which is a by-product of cell activities. When this chemical builds up, it causes you to feel sleepy. While you’re busy catching up on zzz’s, though, your body clears itself of adenosine, which allows you to awaken feeling alert and refreshed, rather than tired.
Sleep provides an opportunity for rejuvenation. Many of the critical restorative functions in the body—like tissue repair and muscle growth—occur mostly or only during sleep.
During REM sleep, muscles are relaxed, which can help relieve tension and reduce symptoms of certain types of chronic pain. Just like you couldn’t mentally focus for 24-hours straight at your day job, your body needs a break to chill out so it can conquer the next day with gusto.
While there is still a lot left to be discovered about why people sleep, and what exactly the body is accomplishing while you do so, one thing remains clear: Sleep is vitally important when it comes to refreshing and reviving the body and mind.