Sleep is an important part of being able to perform as an actor. When you slip into the various stages of sleep, different things happen inside of your body. As your mind eases into a subconscious state, you are completely unaware of the amazing actions your body is taking to help you feel better and function properly.
You probably understand that sleep is important to perform your best, but there is so much more to this necessary bodily function. Your body is doing some amazing things to keep you in top shape. Some of those actions can be detrimental if you do not take certain precautions, though.
Bacteria Remain Active
While you are blissfully unaware of the activity going on inside your body, the bacteria are taking advantage of an easier target. The reason you may have bad breath in the morning is because the lower saliva causes the bacteria in your mouth to flourish.
They attach to any plaque or food left in your mouth and have a feast, producing foul smelling gases in the process. Once the food particles are gone they begin breaking down the enamel of your teeth. For this reason, dentists agree that bedtime is the best time to brush and floss your pearly whites.
Restores Your Brain
One of the most important aspects of getting plenty of restful sleep is the impact it has on your thinking skills. When you sleep, your brain is busy cleaning up the adenosine buildup produced in your brain during the day.
Your neurons are also busy storing your memories and making connections. While your brain is busy, it keeps you from waking up by sending chemical signals to other body parts and diverts necessary blood supply to muscles that need repair.
Your brain sends signals to your muscles that relax them and paralyze them while you sleep. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. The relaxation helps your body to heal itself and keeps you from sleepwalking during dreams.
If you suddenly wake from a dream state, you may initially feel the effects of paralysis and panic. Also, the relaxed facial muscles can cause you to drool. One way your body keeps you from becoming dehydrated by drooling is to decrease the amount of saliva you produce while you sleep.
Muscle & Bone Repair
Muscle relaxation can be a troublesome part of sleep with paralysis, drooling and decreased saliva, but it is necessary. Those relaxed muscles are able to repair themselves with the help of increased blood supply going to them. During sleep, your body produces more human growth hormone (HGH) to repair your muscles and bones.
Your heart, the most important muscle of the body, is one of those muscles that greatly benefits from getting plenty of sleep. Heart rate decreases and blood pressure drops, giving your heart a chance to repair itself.
By now you have probably heard about the appetite hormones that become out of control when you lose sleep. There are other hormones that come into play while you sleep to help you be at your best.
As mentioned previously, HGH is one such hormone. Another important hormone, melatonin regulates sleep and helps your mind relax. Testosterone and other sex-related hormones are balanced out during sleep as well. Your adrenaline levels drop as you fall into deep sleep.
Boost Body Systems
The cardiovascular system is not the only one benefiting from a good night’s rest. While you sleep, your immune system has a chance to go to work. During sleep, your immune system sends out chemicals and cells to fight off infection and cancerous cells.
Specifically, there are cancer killing chemicals that your immune system dispatches only at night, regulated by your circadian rhythm. Along with the immune system, your digestive system makes changes at night as well. Your digestive system winds down at night and decreases acid production. Your digestive system has to work hard all day and needs the rest that comes with sleep to repair itself.
Every actor/actress needs quality sleep to perform their best and remain healthy. The human body uses this time to regulate and repair itself. In order to give you the most rest, your body does odd things, like paralyzing your muscles and decreasing saliva that can be positive and negative for you. By preparing your body for sleep, you will preserve these amazing features and give yourself the rest your body needs for that big shoot.