Considering the fact you usually spend about one-third of your day asleep, it makes perfect sense that there are some things going on with your body during that time that you have no idea about. In actuality, your body is quite busy while you are sleeping. Here is a list of things, weird and not-so-weird, that can happen while you are off in la la land.
Some people are ‘sleep eaters’, meaning they will actually sleepwalk into the kitchen and eat or drink without ever waking up. People that do this usually do it once a night, and they’ll eat foods that otherwise wouldn’t normally eat. Sounds harmless, but it can actually be quite dangerous.
2. Sexy Time
A small number of people have what is colloquially called ‘Sexsomnia‘, which is basically sleepwalking through sex. They may have sex with someone without consciously realizing it, or may masturbate while asleep. Men are much more likely to experience this than women, and it can be caused by medications, alcohol, stress, or sleep deprivation.
3. Keeping Time
While you are sleeping, your hypothalamus is keeping track of time for you by monitoring your circadian rhythm, which is what helps you feel tired at night and also helps wake you in the morning.
4. Say What?
About 5 percent of adults sleep talk, a condition known as somniloquy. What is said can range from random noises to complete sentences. It can happen in any stage of sleep and is most common among men and children. There is no proof that people sleep-share their innermost subconscious desires…but it can be annoying, for sure.
5. Brain Housekeeping
Your brain is on overtime cleaning duty while you sleep. Basically, it clears out old memories, committing some to long-term memory, and reorganizing others. The brain also physically cleans itself with cerebrospinal fluid, flushing away dangerous toxins during sleep. Buildup of these toxins in people who sleep too little causes some of the ill effects associated with sleep deprivation.
6. Grinding Your Teeth
Most people grind their teeth to some degree while they sleep. It is a disorder called bruxism, and can be caused by a number of factors including stress, anxiety, abnormal bite, or even sleep apnea. You probably have no idea you are doing it, though your dentist will notice.
7. Getting Paralyzed
During your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your mind is busy dreaming and your body is…well…paralyzed. It is completely normal and happens to almost everyone every night. This prevents you from physically acting out things that are occurring in your dreams (screaming at things, punching people, etc.). It’s also fairly common (40 percent) for people to wake up at the very end of this cycle and feel completely paralyzed – what is known as ‘sleep paralysis’. It is temporary, though often completely terrifying.
8. Losing Weight
Because you are exhaling water vapor and carbon atoms while you sleep, you are dropping weight. This is actually the same way fat is metabolized when you exercise – you wind up breathing it out. The average person will lose roughly one pound while they sleep each night. So, if you want to feel good about your weight, hop on the scale when you first wake up.