What makes you sleep?

  • You have an internal “body clock” that controls when you’re awake and when your body is ready for sleep.
  • The body clock typically has a 24-hour repeating rhythm (called the circadian rhythm). Two processes interact to control this rhythm. The first is a pressure to sleep that builds with every hour that you’re awake. This drive for sleep reaches a peak in the evening, when most people fall asleep.
  • A compound called adenosine (ah-DEN-o-seen) seems to be one factor linked to this drive for sleep.
  • The increasing level of this compound signals a shift toward sleep. While you sleep, your body breaks down adenosine.
  • Internal body clock clock is in sync with certain cues in the environment. Light, darkness, and other cues help determine when you feel awake and when you feel drowsy.
  • body releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin signals your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep, and it helps you feel drowsy.
  • As the sun rises, your body releases cortisol. This hormone naturally prepares your body to wake up.
  • Teens fall asleep later at night than younger children and adults. One reason for this is because melatonin is released and peaks later in the 24-hour cycle for teens. As a result, it’s natural for many teens to prefer later bedtimes at night and sleep later in the morning than adults.
  • People also need more sleep early in life, when they’re growing and developing.

Source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/whatmakes.html

 

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