Things Your Body Does While You Sleep

Mar 18, 2020Silvia Fonseca

Sleep ... So peaceful, so quiet, so inactive...Not really! Many of us tend to believe that we just turn off when we sleep, but that is not quite true. Even though our body is resting, it remains in working and even doing some strange things! From paralysis of limbs to make up stories, there are situations that are difficult to believe that happen when we are not awake, check out some of them.

Process Information

The fully complex and intelligent human brain is capable of processing information and get prepared to make decisions, even while the person is sleeping. The thing is so incredible and powerful that the brain is even capable of making important connections and new discoveries during sleep.

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Hormone Regulation

Light sleep has a very important function: that of releasing growth hormones, which are fundamental for cell reproduction and also for cell regeneration. When we sleep, we also release prolactin, which has the function of regulating our immune system.

Sleep Texting

We are so connected to smartphones that apparently sending messages while sleeping is something that exists. This is considered a type of digital sleepwalking, in which our brain goes on autopilot: how we sleep next to the devices, and their noises and vibrations can disrupt sleep.

Information Filtering

We are bombarded with the most diverse information during the day, and at night all of this is filtered by our brain. Why does this happen? Because it would not be healthy to remember every detail of what comes to our mind throughout life.


Unlike muscles that are paralyzed at night, the neck muscles remain active, so that we can breathe normally. The difference is that the musculature around the throat gets even narrower, which can have a negative side: snoring.

Falling Sensation

During sleep, have you ever felt like you were falling or being pushed or shaken and ended up waking up scared? This dysfunction is called hypnagogic spasm and it is a common and natural thing to happen when we are falling asleep. Scientists do not know exactly what causes these movements, but they all agree that this disorder is harmless.

Liquid Loss

Note that we are talking about body weight, not fat - these are different things. It is that during sleep our body loses water through perspiration and breathing. If you are trying to lose weight, know that sleeping well is essential to succeed in the diet, because of the hormonal production we talked about earlier.

Body Speed Decrease

If the brain uses sleep to become very active, other parts of the body do the opposite way. Most of the body's physiological processes rest during sleep, slowing down the pulse or breathing, which causes the body temperature to drop. In addition, the intestines also function more slowly and the liver decreases the body's detoxification function and starts to synthesize materials during sleep.

Appetite Regulation

Most people have cravings for foods with lots of calories when they go through nights of little sleep, which can end up leading to a lot of weight gain. This is believed to be caused by a deregulation of the hormones that regulate appetite, leptin, and ghrelin, caused by a lack of sleep.


With this chronic sleep disorder, people feel excessively sleepy during the day and may have “sleep attacks”, turning off without warning. To avoid this, it is possible to go to the doctor, who can prescribe medication. At night, try to reduce stress before going to bed, trying yoga, meditation or a hot bath.

Rapid Eye Movement

It works like this: in the first levels of sleep, the eyes rotate and then, when the sleep is deep, they compress. During REM sleep, our eyes move back and forth quickly, but we usually have no memory of it since our mind is filled with memories of dreams that often happen at this stage.

Pause in Smell

One reason smoke detectors are important is that our sense of smell also stops during sleep. So, while sounds can wake us up, smells of smoke and burning things do not cause us to wake up. A psychology professor, who conducted a study on the phenomenon, says that our sense of smell does not seem to be something very reliable as a sentinel system.

Explosive Head Syndrome

It is rare, but some people experience a syndrome from which they feel their heads explode and hear a bang, almost like a gunshot, as soon as they are falling asleep. It is generally painless, but quite scary, and tends to happen in adults over 50.

Sleep Paralysis?

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the deepest phase of sleep. When you vividly remember something you dreamed about, it probably happened during that cycle. At this stage, the muscles in your arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed while you sleep. But don't confuse this with sleep paralysis. This is a disorder that must be examined by a doctor.

Most intriguing of all, of course, is to think that the brain, largely responsible for the things the body does while you sleep, and it never stops. That's right, even if you rest it doesn't rest, because if that happened, my friend, you would be screwed, believe it!

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