Zzzz…

Have you ever woke up one Monday morning to your alarm and just wanted to go back to sleep? You keep on hitting snooze, you know you got a decent sleep (6-8 hours), but just can’t wake up?

It’s actually not always your fault. If this happens every once in a while, it may just be laziness. But if it happens every day, all the time? There might be something behind the scenes in your subconscious saying, “You shouldn’t get up right now, it’s not the right time.”

I’m not an expert, but from what I know, this is probably caused by your sleep cycle.

When you fall asleep, you don’t always stay asleep. When you are asleep, your brain goes through multiple sleep cycles throughout your beauty rest.

First, REM.

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and this is when you dream. Each person dreams for years throughout their lifetime, and scientists think that our brain uses this time to sort out the memories of the day. Your brain actually discards most of the the things you see in the day, and only retains the the small portion that is significant. For example, did you notice there are two extra “the” in the previous sentence? Even when you try looking for them, your brain will still discard it the first few times around, and it takes a few tries to actually register the extra word. Crazy, huh?*

Next, you fall into the 4 stages of deep sleep. As you go deeper and deeper into sleep, our body shuts down and it becomes much harder to wake you up. (If your alarm goes off during deep sleep, this may be why it is so hard to wake up even after 6-8 hours.) This is when your construction workers get busy, using proteins you consumed in the day to repair muscles, skin, and other body parts. That’s why your coaches stress a good night’s sleep before a big game, since this is when your body gets itself ship-shape for the next day’s challenges.

It doesn’t stop there, though. You go through multiple cycles of dreams and physical repair, back and forth. There are even points where you come out of the sleep ocean, poke your head around, then sink back in. These little fits of consciousness are probably so dangers in the night can’t creep up on our primitive selves, camping out in the wilderness.

You need multiple cycles of REM and Deep Sleep to fully prep yourself for the next day, mentally and physically. If you don’t get enough sleep, then your alertness, reflexes, and mood will all suffer. That’s why it’s so important to get enough sleep every night, or risk failing at the challenges of the day.

Moral of the Story: Get good sleep.

*If you are not too strong in English (or are a good detective) , this may not work on you. Try fooling one of your friends with this trick in your own language. Odds are, they will miss it.

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