Our body and sleep

Everyone likes to get some sleep after a long day’s work. Sleep is a highly organized series of events following a regular program every time. We may think that our organs too rest while we rest, but this is actually not true. None of the regulatory systems shut down during sleep. Also good sleep gives us the ability to recollect what happened before, plan the tasks to be done and make right decisions. 

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Lots of chemical reactions occur within our body to release energy from the food we eat. The speed at which such reactions take place inside the body is called metabolic rate. Sleep is actually a very active process during which only the metabolic rate decreases.

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The endocrine glands that secrete the necessary hormones into our blood stream are quite active during sleep. They increase the secretion of growth hormones. Physiological changes like maturational and reproductive processes take place in the organs of the body during sleep. The less sleep we get, the less time the brain takes to regulate stress hormones. As time passes by, sleep deprivation could permanently hinder the brain's ability to regulate these hormones, leading to elevated blood pressure.

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Activities like Kidney filtration, excretion of sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium are reduced and that why early morning urine is more concentrated. While the gastric acid secretion decreases at night, in persons with active ulcer it increases.

Sleep pattern is affected by age too. Infants sleep for 16 – 18 hours and decreases to 7 – 8 hours during adulthood. There is an internal biological clock which is responsible for cyclic responses in living beings. It helps in regulating the  pattern, letting us rest at night and stay awake in the morning.

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Lack of enough sleep could have adverse effects on the body. Most important of all, the heart which slows down for a period of time is now forced to work more. If this goes on continuously for months together, it leads to high blood pressure. Poor sleeping habit leads to weight gain due to the decreased ability of processing blood sugar and leptin, a protein that regulates appetite. All that one can do keep oneself fit is to develop good sleeping habit along with proper diet and good amount of physical work.

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