On average, people spend one-third of their life sleeping, given that adults sleep 6-8 hours a day. Nothing can compare to that feeling of leisure when laying down in bed after a long day and feeling the muscles starting to relax.
Your body needs decent sleep to rest and rejuvenate, and you can definitely feel it when you wake up refreshed and energized. But why does sleep feel so good?
In this article, I’ll share some scientific facts on why people enjoy sleeping and tell you how to improve your sleeping habits, so keep on scrolling!
Why Does Sleeping Feel So Good & How Does It Happen?
Sleeping feels euphoric because of the secretion of melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone.’ Melatonin is produced by the pineal glands, and it has a relaxing effect that helps ease us into sleep. Research also shows that it can reduce anxiety, but how?
When the brain secretes melatonin, the hormone binds to some receptors in the body and brain, helping to bring nerve activity to a minimum and decrease the secretion of dopamine, which is an energizing hormone.
Besides melatonin, the brain releases five other hormones, including cortisol. These two hormones regulate our sleep patterns and are mutually inclusive. In short, cortisol wakes us up, and melatonin makes us sleepy.
When the balance between these hormones is interrupted, broken sleep cycles occur.
Broken Sleep Cycles
Any disruption or hormonal imbalance in the human body can cause broken sleep cycles, which are often caused by a limited secretion of melatonin and an excess of cortisol. Here are some of the most common effects of a broken sleep cycle:
- Trouble when falling asleep, frequent waking up, and shallow sleep overall.
- Mood swings.
- Increased cortisol can retain high levels at night, causing sensations of stress and anxiety.
If you’ve been suffering from this condition for a long time, you should speak with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying causes. For example, hormonal imbalances can result from stress or more severe health issues.
By prioritizing healthy sleep habits, our bodies have less chance of developing many chronic conditions. So always take a chance to get a good night’s sleep!
Benefits of Good Sleeping Patterns
Maintaining healthy sleeping habits is vital for both your physical and mental well-being. Here’s a brief roundup of the most common ones.
With enough sleep, people experiencing anxiety and depression can stabilize their mood and severely decrease symptoms. Meanwhile, poor sleeping habits cause stress as a result of an excess of cortisol, which can worsen the symptoms of many mental conditions and cause mood swings.
Sleeping well for at least 7 hours per day is directly linked to better cognitive function. Having enough energy to concentrate is essential for memory consolidation and learning. This is why people who experience broken sleep cycles have problems concentrating, and their overall problem-solving abilities can seem slightly off.
Boost the Immune System
During sleep, the human body doesn’t stop working. Sleep is vital in regulating immune functions by allowing the body to create cytokines. These small proteins help the body with any inflammation, infections, or trauma. If they aren’t present sufficiently, your body will become more susceptible to many diseases.
During REM (rapid eye movement) phases, the body secretes hormones that help muscle repair, which makes all the difference for athletes. Also, while you’re sleeping, your muscles remain paralyzed, restricting movement during sleep. This helps the tense muscles relax, ensuring enough rest for the coming day.
How to Improve Sleeping Habits
Due to genetics, habits, and more, some people are content with sleeping 4-5 hours a day, while some can’t function with less than 7-8 hours of sleep. Ideally, you should do what’s best for you and your already existent sleeping habits.
Nonetheless, there are some scientifically proven tips that can make all the difference in getting a better night’s sleep:
- Limit caffeine before bedtime: Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant that can disrupt your sleeping cycle and give you a restless night if ingested a few hours before sleep.
- Turn off all screens at least one hour before bed: Screens emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s morning time and can make you feel alert.
- Drink plenty of water: Water helps regulate your body temperature, which can make you sleep faster and better.
- Try to create a regular sleep schedule: Maintaining a sleep schedule helps regulate the body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm, which is responsible for secreting sleep hormones.
- Manage stress in your life: Stress causes increased secretion of cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for waking you up.
During sleep, the body releases a hormone called melatonin, which has a relaxing effect on the body and is the reason why sleeping feels so euphoric.
If you experience stress at night and aren’t able to sleep easily, you might have a hormonal imbalance that’s limiting the production of melatonin. In this case, you should limit caffeine intake before bed, avoid using any blue light-emitting screens, drink water, and try to maintain a sleep schedule.
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