Why do humans sleepwalk, sleep talk, snore or feel like falling? A number of weird things happen to the human body during a sleep cycle and there is a need to understand them.
You Pass More Gas
There is a higher chance of you passing gas when you sleep because all of your muscles are relaxed, including your anal sphincter. However, this likely won’t bother you or your partner because of a decreased sense of smell.
Decreased Sense Of Smell
One of the reasons fire alarms were invented is for people who can’t properly smell and for getting awareness when you are asleep and can’t smell smoke. A lot of research studies have shown that while noise can wake you up, smells won’t.
The two main types of sleep that occur are rapid eye movement (REM sleep) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM sleep).
REM sleep is most associated with dreaming. There is more brain activity during REM sleep than when you are awake. When people are woken up in the middle of REM sleep, they report having vivid dreams.
However, people do not report having vivid dreams as frequently when awakened from Non REM sleep. As such, the brain activity during REM sleep probably underlies the intense dreaming that occurs during the state.
You Have A Falling Feeling
Involuntary twitches known as hypnic jerks, are experienced by up to 70 percent of people from time to time. One theory suggests they happen as a result of a “natural downshifting of the nervous system that occurs as you fall asleep.
Another theory claims that the brain “misinterprets the relaxing of muscles as a sign that you’re actually falling.” Caffeine, stress, and sleep deprivation can increase the frequency of hypnic jerks.
Sleepwalking occurs during the deepest stages of NREM sleep. That’s the part of the sleep cycle that leaves you groggy if you are woken up in the middle of it.
While there is no exact proof of the causes of sleepwalking, some scientists argue that sleepwalking occurs when your brain is attempting to directly transition from deep NREM to wakefulness, rather than going through the normal sleep cycle.
The National Sleep Foundation notes that that sleepwalking can be caused by stress, depression, alcohol, fever, and sleep-deprivation. There are also suggestions that sleepwalking also seems to run in families.
Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, can occur during both the REM and NREM stages of sleep. Though your mouth and vocal chords are usually inactive, a “motor breakthrough” causes them to be momentarily active, which is when you may speak words out loud.
Sleep talking can also occur during transition from one stage of sleep to another. While chronic sleep talking is considered to be a sleep disorder, sporadic sleep talking is a more common phenomenon.
While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax and your throat actually becomes narrower. As you breathe, the walls of your throat vibrate. These vibrations lead to the sound of snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder you snore.
Sometimes the walls of the throat collapse completely, creating a condition called apnea or when breathing ceases.