When we sleep our bodies are remarkably busy. Our brain is active, we dream, all our organs continue to function, blood flows and breathing goes on. You probably change your position many times during the night and you turn over almost two dozen times or more each night.
I toss and turn a few hundred times per night. I am like a fish in the bottom of the boat – flip flop, flip flop. I could judge how well I slept the night before by how torn apart my bed was the next morning; pillows on the floor, sheets pulled out, pyjamas on the lamp shade, drool cup knocked over.
Your body also goes through natural cycles of a light/dark, hot/cold and asleep/alert cycles controlled by our circadian rhythm. Your brain is also busy dreaming which seems to help process information and create memory pathways. You also go through several stages of sleep from stage 1, the lightest, to stage 4, the deepest and REM sleep – the dreaming state where your brain is in a very active state but your body is paralyzed.
During sleep all of your body’s physical processes are slowed down. They allows the body a chance to recover everything from our muscles to cleaning up free radicals and repairing damage our cells.
It’s natural to wake up during the night. The bad news is we’ll awake a few dozen times when we’re young adults to over a hundred times when we’re seniors (not all are bathroom trips, although sometimes it may seem like it). I am finding that I awake more often now and I find it hard to get back to sleep, so my sleep is very fragmented and irregular.
So what happens when you sleep? Are you out to the world or hear every little noise? Are you like a log that never moves or leaf in a tornado? Do you fall asleep right away and stay asleep, or does it take forever only to be awake an hour later staring at the ceiling?
For more information check out: http://www.sleepjunkie.com/circadian-rhythms/