deepstash

Beta

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/08/science-of-sleep/

nationalgeographic.com

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey
This story appears in the August 2018 issue ofNational Geographic magazine. Nearly every night of our lives, we undergo a startling metamorphosis. Our brain profoundly alters its behavior and purpose, dimming our consciousness. For a while, we become almost entirely paralyzed. We can't even shiver.

10

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

292 SAVES

1.08k READS

VIEW

The lifestyle imbalance

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

248 SAVES

915 READS

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

279 SAVES

976 READS

Stage Two Sleep

We spend about half our sleeping time in stage 2. It can last up to 50 minutes during the first 90-minute sleep cycle, and less during subsequent cycles. 

During this time the brain consolidates the information that has been collected during the waking hours. It makes connections you might not make otherwise. It also curates which memories to keep and which to delete.

301 SAVES

928 READS

Stage Three Sleep

Some scientists consider stage 3 and 4 to be one stage.  Your body rests during these stages to help cells recover. Your cells produce the most growth hormone here to mend your bones and muscles.

While all this is happening, your muscles are fully relaxed. Mental activity is limited, including dreaming. 

276 SAVES

875 READS

Stage Four Sleep

We can remain in stage 4 - similar to a coma or brain death - for only about 30 minutes before the brain wakes up and falls back to sleep again. 

Even healthy sleepers wake several times a night, but might not be aware of it.

272 SAVES

828 READS

REM

REM

Rapid Eye Movement or REM follows after the four stages of NREM (non-REM) sleep and occupies about one-fifth of total rest time in adults.

During REM, all vivid dreaming takes place. Our internal temperature is at its lowest. Our heart rate increases and our breathing is irregular. Generally, our muscles are immobilized, and we are incapable of physical response, except for our eyes and ears. However, our brain is fully active.

287 SAVES

777 READS

Sleep more essential than food

Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, body temperature and blood pressure. The lack of sleep prevents us from regulating our moods well or recovering promptly from injuries.
Sleep reduces the risk of developing dementia. Our neurons deflate by 60 percent while we sleep, widening the spaces between them to receive metabolic waste. During sleep, spinal fluid wash this waste away.

303 SAVES

793 READS

Sleep deprivation facts

  • More than 80 million American adults suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.
  • Fatigue contributes to more than a million auto accidents each year.
  • About one-third of us will suffer from some form of sleep disorder.
  • People with Kleine-Levin syndrome will sleep nearly nonstop for a week or two and return to regular cycles without any side effects.
  • 4 % of US adults take sleeping pills in any given month.

248 SAVES

705 READS

Effects of too little sleep

  • The prefrontal cortex, the place in the brain that controls decision-making and problem-solving, is the first to suffer from not enough sleep.  It causes you to be more irritable, moody and irrational.
  • Sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of depression, psychosis, and stroke.
  • Lack of sleep is tied to obesity. The stomach and other organs overproduce ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which causes overeating.

304 SAVES

887 READS

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Dreams as therapists

Your dreams may be ways of confronting emotional dramas...

Fight-or-flight training

One of the areas of the brain that’s most active during dreaming is the amygdala - the part of the brain associated with the survival instinct and the fight-or-flight response.

One theory suggests dreams may be the brain’s way of getting you ready to deal with a threat. Fortunately, the brainstem sends out nerve signals during REM sleep that relax your muscles. That way you don’t try to run or punch in your sleep.

Dreams as your muse

One theory for why we dream is that it helps facilitate our creative tendencies. 

Without the logic filter, you might normally use in your waking life that can restrict your creative flow, your thoughts and ideas have no restrictions when you’re sleeping.

6 more ideas

How Scientists Study Brain Activity

  • Scientists study activity in the brain with a tool called electroencephalography ( EEG), that measures electrical signals coming from neurons.
  • The brain is not turned off while you...

How Our Brains Wake Us Up

  • One of the systems in the brain that wakes us up is the reticular activating system (RAS) - a part of your brain located just above your spinal column that acts like a gatekeeper or filter for your brain, making sure it doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle.
  • The RAS can sense important information and create neurochemicals that wake up other parts of the brain. It also keeps you awake throughout the day.
  • Once the RAS switch turns on, it can take some time for your whole brain and body to wake up. This is because it takes a few minutes to clear all the “sleepy” neurochemicals from your brain, which is why you may feel groggy when an alarm clock wakes you up.

Why We Feel More Groggy On Some Days

When your brain is asleep, it shifts between deep and light stages. If your alarm clock goes off during a deeper stage of sleep, it takes longer for all the parts of your brain to wake up.

Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, and the heart rate increases. Breathing can become erratic. 

Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sleep are enough for adults. According to experts, too little or too much sleep can both have a negative impact on your health.