8 Gross Things Your Body Does While You Sleep

Once you take a few in-depth courses on nutrition, any human bodily functions fail to gross you out. (I remember an entire chapter on what one’s poop says about their overall health.) That being said, there are some weird (sometimes gross) things your body does while you sleep. And honestly, very few of them are all that pretty. As a human, your body does gross things all the time, but it’s your choice as to whether you want to look at it as a giant collection of mucus, bacteria, and excretions, or as a mini-miracle. I’m choosing the latter because I have to live in it for a while, and it tends to help my self-esteem.

Some fascinating things happen to your body while you’re sleeping: Not only is everything doing a major overhaul (like your brain, your skin, and your organs), but the entire thing slows down, so that you can heal yourself from the inside out. While scientists still don’t know everything there is to know about sleep, they've gathered that it’s entirely essential. In fact, without it, people simply drop dead, so all that gross stuff your body does while you’re asleep at night definitely has its purpose.

1. You Produce A Lot Of Gas

Apparently, you’re far more likely to pass gas while you’re sleeping, as the muscles in your sphincter are just as relaxed as the rest of your body. That being said, your sense of smell is nowhere near as powerful while you’re passed out, so no harm, no foul. Just hope your S/O is sleeping, too.

2. You Shed Your Skin Cells All Over Everything

Your skin cells are constantly rejuvenating themselves, but the turnover rate is especially fast while you sleep. Old skin is pushed to the surface by newer cells, which means that every time you use your bed, you’re adding to the build-up of dead skin in your sheets.

Experts suggest washing your sheets at least once a week, and an all-natural before-bed exfoliant like Aria Starr Coconut Milk Body Scrub reduces build-up by removing the layer of old skin with sea salt, and then using healthy oils to encourage new cell turnover.

Aria Starr Coconut Milk Body Scrub, $16, Amazon

3. Your Muscles Are Paralyzed

When you start to drop into the deepest phases of REM sleep, your muscles actually freeze up, and you’re unable to move your arms or legs. Most of us are dead asleep by this point, but here’s the creepy part — some people experience a disorder in which their brain partially wakes up during this stage, though their body is still entirely paralyzed (called sleep paralysis). My best friend had it growing up, and hers was accompanied by terrifying hallucinations and nightmares.

4. Your Eyes Produce Discharge

Ever wonder what that crud is in the corner of your eyes when you first wake up? It’s a mixture of natural mucus, dust, and skin cells, and while you’re awake, your body washes it away with tears, but while you’re sleeping, it builds up.

You can use a lubricating eye drop like Wisdom of the Ages drops to keep your eyes clean and well-flushed, and because it uses entirely natural ingredients, it’s safe to use it before bed or when you wake up in the morning.

Wisdom of the Ages Eyebright Drops, $16, Amazon

5. Bacteria Overtakes Your Mouth

Especially if you sleep with your mouth open, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva while you sleep to effectively flush out bacteria. As a result, it grows rampant on your tongue and teeth, and you wake up with a bad case of morning breath — sometimes bad enough that it sticks around post-brushing.

If you're frustrated by lingering morning breath, try out a breath tonic. This organic peppermint one from Herb Pharm is made out of all organic essential oils that help to cleanse your mouth, fight bacteria, promote salivary flow, and leave your mouth tasting fresh and minty all day long.

Herb Pharm Organic Peppermint Herbal Breath Tonic, $6, Amazon

6. Your Organs Are Squeezing Things Out

Sleep is a form of detoxification for your whole body, including your filtering organs. Some practices (like Chinese Medicine) believe that your body’s on an internal clock, and early in the morning is the best time for your liver to process waste, your gall bladder to squeeze bile, and your intestines to move bowels. That being said, it never hurts to give your body a hand.

A before-bed detox bath with AHAVA Dead Sea mineral bath salts eases the load and replenishes your body and muscles with essential minerals, so you can sleep easier and detoxify more efficiently at night.

AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salts, $18, Amazon

7. You Drool

During the day, you probably just swallow all your saliva, but at night, your facial muscles are relaxed and the accumulated drool drips down your face onto your pillow. This can be an indication of deeper health issues, like allergies or a reaction to medication. However, it could also just be your body telling you, “Quit sleeping on your side.”

This travel neck pillow is ridiculously comfortable with its memory foam interior, helps to keep your head cradled in an upright position (yes, even when you’re at home in your bed), and because it’s made from bamboo, it’s hypoallergenic, so no stuffy sinuses worsening the drool issue.

Essence of Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow, $18, Amazon

8. Your Body Holds Onto Its Pee

While you’re awake, you pee every few hours, but while you sleep, your kidney function slows down so you don’t have to get up all the time to use the bathroom. That means less urine is produced, but since your body’s holding onto it all night (and without adding any more hydration into the mix), most people’s pee is especially yellow in the morning, because the Urobilin isn’t as diluted.

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