Getting enough sleep is important to your health, but according to Healthline, we’re not getting enough. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and many Americans don’t even meet that threshold, says the Huffington Post . Your body does weird things when you’re asleep that can have an impact on your physical and mental health — here are three weird things that happen when you sleep.
The body cools down
We don’t just sleep so we can dream. In fact, sleeping is a huge way our bodies recuperate, and it happens in stages. Your body begins to slow down as you slip into what’s called non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM is broken up into stages 1 through 4, but Stage 1 to 3 are considered light sleep or drowsiness—and light sleepers often report dreaming during these phases. But not everyone dreams; some people actually experience something called paradoxical insomnia, which means they can’t fall asleep even though they feel tired. If you wake up feeling refreshed after eight hours of sleep, consider yourself lucky! Some people need more than 10 hours of shuteye each night to feel well rested.
Your brain gets busy
Have you ever heard that you sleep to remember? Well, it’s true. During deep sleep (aka dreaming sleep), your brain cycles through different stages at varying speeds—the fastest being your REM (rapid eye movement) stage. During REM, your brain is busy making sense of information from earlier in the day and also associating it with new things. So if you learn something new during your waking hours, don’t be surprised if you dream about it later on. In fact, studies have shown that people who are better at remembering their dreams tend to be better at recalling other memories as well.
Infections become more common
Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to develop a urinary tract infection while they’re on their period, and they become less common once it ends. Research has also suggested that men who sleep naked have higher rates of bacterial infections than those who wear pajamas. No one knows why—but there are some hypotheses! It could be related to our bedding or lack thereof. Scientists have long known that bacteria can linger in our sheets, pillows, and mattresses. And if you’re not washing your linens regularly, you may increase your risk of contracting an infection. But what about all that skin-to-skin contact? Could sex play a role?