The nuts and bolts behind biology and chemistry of sleep that won’t require a PhD to understand.
Click a body part to learn more about how sleep effects it
Cerebral spinal fluid is pumped more quickly throughout the brain while you sleep. It acts like a dishwasher, whisking away waste products that brain cells make. So you wake up with, quite literally, a clean slate.
One body part that gets a break during sleep is your heart. Your ticker works hard during the day, so at night during non-REM sleep it takes some pressure off itself by reducing heart rate, as well as blood pressure.
When you’re awake, your breathing patterns vary greatly. You’ll breathe faster when excited and harder while exercising, for example. But during sleep, your breathing slows down and becomes very regular.
Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan that causes sleepiness. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy.
While you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that work to rebuild muscles and joints. The more sleep you get, the better equipped your body will be to repair itself.
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Sweet Dreams: How Sugar Impacts Your SleepWho doesn’t love a delicious after-dinner dessert? But digging into those cookies or that bowl of ice cream means that you’re pumping lots of added sugar into your body—something…
The U.S. Army Prioritizes Sleep for SoldiersSleep, nutrition, and exercise—these are the 3 “pillars” of good health in the Army’s Performance Triad, a major public health campaign to support the well-being and readiness of soldiers.…
What is the Sleep/Wake Cycle?Learn about how your body knows when it’s time to sleep—and to wake up.
How Losing Sleep Affects Your Body and MindCheck out the surprising ways that insufficient sleep negatively affects you—from head to toe.
Transitioning from Wake to Sleep
What is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?Find out if your night-owl tendencies could actually be a sleep disorder.
COPD and SleepIt turns out that there’s a connection between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and insomnia.
What is Non-24 Hour Sleep Wake Disorder?For some people, daytime and nighttime have no impact on how awake or sleepy they are.
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