System Reboot with Sleep: 6 Physiological Benefits

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#SASsleeptransformation

Oh, man!  What's happening?  I just can't figure out what's going on.  I'm tired.  Exhausted actually.  I don't feel well.  I just want my energy back!  We've all been there.  Sometimes more often that we'd like.  Sounds like it's time for a reboot.  How do we reboot the human body?  With SLEEP!

During our reboot (sleep, that is.  Stay with me here. I know you're tired. 🙂 ), many necessary things happen that keep us healthy and feeling good.  Here are 6 things that happen in our body at a cellular level while we sleep:

  1. Our muscles are relax and our body makes repairs. Think of it like house cleaning, muscle fibers are put back together, energy stores are replenished, and lactic acid and other waste products are carted out of your muscles preparing your body for the next day’s movement.  Many people believe they build muscle in the gym, when really, we actually build muscle in our sleep!
  2. Our heart rate and blood pressure drop providing our cardiovascular system with rest. Research shows that sleeping 7+ hours of sleep per night reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease.  One of the reasons is that heart and blood vessels get some much needed down time.
  3. Our hormones balance at night, everything from estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to human growth hormone (HGH) to our hunger hormone, ghrelin, and leptin, our appetite manager. When hormones are out of balance, we feel it in our energy levels, appetite, ability to fight disease and overall well-being. Ample sleep keeps these guys in check and you feeling well.
  4. With all the HGH floating around, your skeletal system is not left out as HGH also stimulates bone cell growth.  In addition, your intervertebral discs are re-hydrated and your spine lengthens and decompresses during those ZZZs (making you “grow taller” each night.)
  5. Our brain sorts out the day, files memories and new information, and deletes the useless stuff so there’s room for learning and intake the next day. When you aren’t able to sleep, your brain gets “fogged” or “backed up” making taking in new information, decisions, and reactions more difficult for your brain, therefore, you think and react more slowly.
  6. Our immune system is at full strength while we sleep.  Our personal virus and bacteria fighting troops are in full force sending those nasty bugs out to harm us straight to the curb.

So, when you’re tired – your brain, your muscles, your whole body, or you’re fighting an infection, hit your body’s “system reboot” and start feeling better as soon as the next day!  We generally need 7-8 hours of sleep per night as adults, but if you’re feeling particularly exhausted, ill, or stressed mentally or physically, it may take as much as 9-10 hours to have your back on your feet and ready to go again!

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About Author

Amanda Pack

Recreation and Fitness Program Coordinator

Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Passionate about health and fitness, Amanda worked in the fitness and wellness industry for 6 years prior to joining the Recreation and Fitness Center team in 2011. At the RFC, she enjoys sharing her passion with the SAS Community through personal training, group exercise instruction, teaching yoga, and coaching recreational endurance athletes. A wife, working mother, triathlete, and yogini herself, wellness is an important theme in both her personal and professional life. Amanda is registered through Yoga Alliance as a 200 hour Yoga Teacher (RYT200), certified in personal training and group exercise instruction through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and is an IRONMAN Certified Coach.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the great article, Amanda. It's really good to know that all that is happening when you get a good night's sleep. More incentive to make it happen so that you can get the most out of your waking hours!

  2. An impressive blog post, I just gave this onto a fellow coworker who was doing a limited searching on this. And he actually bought me a drink because I located it for him, so gracias. So let me put that another way: Thanks for the treat! But yeah, Thanks for spending the time to talk about this, would love seeing more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more info? It is extremely helpful for me. Large thumb up for this peesirctpve!

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