What Happens to Your Body When You Sleep?
It may look like you’re doing nothing when you sleep, but your body is actually working hard. Check out this infographic to see what happens to your organs and muscles while you rest.
“All the things you learn get consolidated and stored as memories while you sleep,” says Dr. Meeta Singh, a HAP-contracted doctor who helps Detroit Lions and Tigers football and baseball players get the shut-eye they need to perform, no matter what time zone they wake up in.
“Sleep also is vital to your physical health,” says Singh, medical director of the sleep lab at Henry Ford Health Center-Columbus in Novi. “It’s a biological need.”
Sleep acts like a vacuum cleaner for your brain, explains the National Sleep Foundation. During the day, normal brain cell activity creates waste. As it accumulates, you start to feel tired. The waste is flushed away during sleep, enabling you to awake refreshed and alert. Sleep also removes toxic proteins in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Routine activities and exercise also take a toll on tissues and joints. But the majority of the body’s repair and growth processes occur mostly or only during sleep. Your blood pressure and heart rate also drop, giving your hard-working heart a rest. Breathing slows, too, and muscles relax, easing tension and some types of chronic pain.