5 things you do at night without even realizing it



What happens while we sleep  A sleeping woman in bed

If things go well, we go to bed in the evening and wake up the next morning. We hardly notice what happens in between - there is a lot ...

1. Wake up

Even if we think we slept for eight hours, the truth is that we wake up several times at night and change our sleeping position, up to 20 times is considered entirely normal in sleep research. These short waking phases last a maximum of one minute, during which we check whether we are warm and safe and which prevents us from falling out of bed. Interesting: This sleep routine is not innate but learned, which is why it is also advisable to let children sleep in a cot - otherwise, they would roll out of bed more often. To remind ourselves to wake up the next morning, we would have to be awake for around five minutes.

2. Process

No matter how attentive we are and we can be practiced in self-reflection: During the day, we will never be able to process our experiences and feelings as we did at night. The reason for this is that there are always impressions pouring in on us when we are awake, and they distract us from dealing with ourselves (except maybe while meditating). In Sleep, more precisely, in our deep sleep phases, we isolate ourselves from the outside world. We are only receptive to dangers and alarm signals (loud noises, strange smells, extreme temperatures ...). Our brain uses this opportunity to organize and evaluate impressions, set priorities, and even find solutions - that's why the best ideas sometimes come to us overnight.  

3. Go crazy

We rarely remember our dreams, but in fact, we dream every night. Around a fifth of our rest time, and thus between one and a half and two hours, we are in the REM sleep stage (Rapid Eye Movement), in which we fantasize, play through situations that frighten or occupy us and, if we are lucky, someone too To be able to hug someone who is no longer alive - at least in our imagination.
Some sleep researchers call dreams a psychotic state because it resembles hallucinations and delusions. Still, this state is essential for us, because, in dreams, we have valuable experiences that we could never have awake. For many people, even some of their earliest childhood memories are dreams, as they evoked emotions so strong they stuck in their minds. The sleep researcher Michael Perlis from the University of Pennsylvania told the "Stern": "Sleep is good for the brain and body, but also an experience. REM sleep is perhaps the element that makes us human most." 
We can usually only remember our dreams when we wake up from them. However, we can train our brain to register a plan as a dream: If we ask ourselves the specific question several times a day: "Is this really happening or am I dreaming?", It does so after a while when we sleep, and we take our dreams to come true more consciously. By the way, you can read about what your dreams mean in our dream interpretation.

4. Regulate mood

We can go to bed stressed and in a bad mood - we never wake up again in a bad mood. When we sleep, our cortisol levels drop, and we come to rest both mentally and physically. Also, primarily through the transition into deep Sleep, we gain distance from whatever has stressed or annoyed us, and our dreams distract us from it or open up a new perspective on it if it plays a role in it. In any case, we almost always feel better after we sleep - unless it was too short or we drank too much the night before ... 

5. Learning

Aside from finding solutions and processing impressions, our brain uses the rest of our deep sleep phases for memory formation. Experiences and experiences are sorted into the long-term memory, habits are set and solidified in our "subconscious." Through this process, we not only secure memories but are also receptive to new information every morning and can face new challenges.
In addition to the activities mentioned, our body naturally also regenerates while we sleep - our immune system is strengthened, bones and muscles grow (re), our metabolism is regulated. In this respect, it seems more than sensible to try to live during the day so that we can sleep peacefully at night!

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