What Goes on in Your Head at Night?

By: Sydney C.

What Goes on in Your Head at Night?

By: Sydney C.

Do you ever wonder what is going on in your head while you are sleeping? Well lucky for you this article is all about sleep and dreams.

Sleep on a Scale of 1-10

What happens when a person gets a good night’s sleep? A person who gets enough sleep a night will be energized and ready for the day. A good night sleep is a 10 on a scale of 1 -10. To keep your body healthy, you need get enough sleep each night. A person who gets enough sleep will be happy, healthy, and ready for each day! See the sleep chart for the appropriate amount of sleep needed each night at each age. Note that teens need more sleep than kids.

In comparison a person who does not get enough sleep in one night may be groggy, sleepy, and moody that day. This would be a 1 on the sleep scale! Drugs, alcohol, and caffeine may cause less sleep at night causing that person to feel sleepy all the time. Less sleep can lead to stress and depression.

Everybody has different sleep habits. At the extreme, a person can sleep only six hours a night may be perfectly fine in the morning. It is a very rare gene because typically you need at least 7 hours of sleep. Only 3% of people in the world have this gene.  Some adults function on much less sleep than they need. For example, my mom she can go to bed at say 11:00 PM, wake up at 5:00 AM and still be her happy self but sometimes less sleep gets to her and she gets grumpy occasionally.

People need one hour of sleep for every two hours awake.  Sleep debt builds up and does not go away. At some point you have to “pay back” the sleep loss.   It is important to get a 10 on the sleep scale so you are ready to learn and can function well each day!

Sleep Requirements by Age:


Amount of sleep needed (hours)

1 week

16 – 18

1 year

12 – 14

5 years

9 – 11

7 years

9 – 11

11 years

9 – 11


10 – 11


7 – 9

Sleep disorders

If you do not get enough sleep each night then you may seem to have sleep disorders. Some sleep disorders include,

·  Bed wetting (in young children)

·  Insomnia (where you have trouble sleeping at night)

·  Sleep walking

·  Sleep talking

·  Night terrors

If you cannot sleep at night you probably have insomnia (bulleted above). You either wake up in the middle of the night or have a hard time falling asleep. R.L.S (restless leg syndrome) can cause insomnia. Psychiatric problems can also cause insomnia.  Even prescription medicines can cause insomnia over long periods of time. If you have worry, depression, or anxiety and only get few hours of sleep you may have insomnia. Drugs and alcohol also cause insomnia.

Sleep walking and bed wetting happen in stage 4 of sleep. Most people think that when you sleep walk you are dreaming. But it is proven that you don’t dream while sleep walking.  Same goes for sleep talking. You are not actually dreaming when you are sleep talking.

Night terrors usually occur in children, but some adults suffer through this disorder too. If you suffer through night terrors you have a physical reaction to night mares. You may often sit up in your bed and cry/scream. You have rapid breathing and a racing pulse.

The meaning of dreaming

Ever heard of a dream catcher? Well it is likely you have one. They are thought to filter bad dreams, so all you have are good ones. Of course it’s just a superstition because they cannot be proven to stop you from having bad dreams. Owl feathers are often on dream catchers not only for decoration but as a symbol of wisdom.

My PEAK teacher Mrs. Turner had an exam the upcoming day. She had studied for her Spanish test for hours but could not figure out just one question. It was late that night so she went to bed hoping she could just figure out that one question. While she was sleeping she had a dream, and in her dream her teacher explained the whole question. When she got up in the morning she finally had figured out her question and did well on the test!  Dreams can help us organize information from the day and get rid of unnecessary information.

The point is that sometimes dreams do have meanings. It is also said you can tell the future in your dreams sometimes. Most creative people (musician, artist, etc.) have said that their creativity and ideas come from their dreams. The famous musician Wolfgang said he had dreamt one of his pieces in a dream the night before.


If you remember how much sleep you need then you will be healthy and happy in the morning so remember to stay within your sleep requirements so you can be energized for every morning! Now that you know the consequences of a poor night’s sleep you will probably think twice about staying up late tonight.

Works Cited

Marcovitz, Hal. Sleep Disorders. San Diego: RefrencePointPress, 2010. Print.

Marvin, Rosen. Sleep and Dreaming. New York: InfoBase, 2006. Print.

Reise, Elizabeth. "Six Hours of Sleep It's Not Enough." U.S.A Today 2007: 1. Print.

Romanek, Hrudee. Z Z Z... Toronto: Kids Can Read, 2002. Print.

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