Sleep allows your body and brain to repair themselves and perform important functions like releasing hormones and clearing up waste. Sleep is vital for health. Sleep is essential for survival, just as we need water and food. It’s not surprising that we spend around one-third of our lives asleep.
Sleep is a time when many biological processes occur.
- The brain is a storage device for new information. It also eliminates toxic waste.
- The communication and reorganization of nerve cells are essential for healthy brain function.
- The body releases hormones, proteins, and molecules such as hormones to repair cells and restore energy.
They are essential for our health. Our bodies cannot function properly without them. We’ll look at the reasons we sleep and what happens when we don’t.
Why do we sleep?
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the purpose of sleeping. It’s generally accepted that sleep is not just for one reason. Sleep is likely needed for several biological reasons. Scientists have discovered that sleeping helps the body on several levels. Below are the most popular theories and reasons.
According to energy conservation theory, we need to sleep in order to conserve energy. We can reduce our caloric requirements by sleeping. The way that our metabolism drops while we sleep supports this concept. According to research, 8 hours of sleep can result in a daily energy savings of 35 percent compared to complete wakefulness.
According to the energy conservation theory, sleep has the primary purpose of reducing energy consumption during daytime and nighttime hours when hunting for food is inconvenient or less efficient.
According to the restorative theory of sleep, the body requires sleep in order to repair itself. Sleep allows cells to regenerate and repair themselves. Many important processes occur during sleep.
- muscle repair
- protein synthesis
- Tissue growth
- Hormone release
According to the brain plasticity theory, sleep is necessary for brain function. It allows for the reorganization of your nerve cells. The glymphatic system (which removes waste) in your brain clears the waste from your central nervous system when you sleep. This system removes the toxic byproducts that accumulate in your brain throughout the day. It allows you to wake up with a healthy brain.
According to research, sleep improves memory by converting short-term memories into long-term ones and by erasing or forgetting unneeded information that would otherwise clutter up the nervous system.
Sleep has a profound impact on the brain, including:
- Learn more about the newest way to learn.
- Problem-solving Skills
- Creative ideas
- Decision making
Sleep is also necessary for mental health. During sleep, the brain’s activity in areas that control emotion increases, supporting a healthy brain and emotional stability.
Sleep increases brain activity in the following areas:
- Medial prefrontal cortex
The amygdala is one example of how sleeping can help regulate emotions. This part of your brain is located in the temporal region and controls the fear response. This part of the brain controls your response when you are faced with a perceived danger, such as a stressful situation.
The amygdala responds more adaptable when you sleep enough. If you are sleep deprived, the amygdala will be more likely to react. Research indicates that sleep and mental well-being are closely related. Sleep disturbances may contribute to mental health problems, but they can also cause sleep disturbances.
Sleep can affect your weight by controlling hormones that cause hunger. These hormones are ghrelin, which increases appetite, and leptin, which increases feelings of fullness after eating. Ghrelin levels decrease during sleep because you use less energy when awake.
A lack of sleep will elevate ghrelin while suppressing leptin. This imbalance can make you feel hungry and increase your risk of gaining weight. According to a recent study by Trusted Source, chronic sleep deprivation can be caused by as little as five consecutive nights of short sleep.
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
Proper insulin function
Insulin helps your cells use sugar, or glucose, for energy. Insulin resistance occurs when cells do not react appropriately to insulin. This can cause high blood sugar levels and, eventually, type 2 diabetes. Sleeping can protect against insulin resistance. Sleep helps to keep your cells healthy so that they can readily absorb glucose.
Sleeping helps regulate blood sugar levels because the brain uses less glucose.
Sleep is essential for a healthy and strong immune system. According to research from Trusted Source, sleep deprivation may inhibit the immune system and make you more susceptible to germs.
When you sleep, the body produces cytokines. These are proteins that help fight inflammation and infection. The body also produces antibodies and immune cells. These molecules work together to prevent illness by eliminating harmful germs. Sleep is important for people who are stressed or sick. The body requires more immune cells and protein during these times.
Scientists believe that sleep is important for heart health, even though the causes are not known. The link between poor sleep and heart disease is the reason for this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average adult requires 7 hours of sleep a day. Regularly getting less sleep can cause health issues, including heart problems.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to heart disease risk factors such as:
- High blood pressure
- Increased sympathetic nerve system activity
- Increased inflammation
- Elevated cortisol levels
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
What happens to you when you sleep?
Sleep progression occurs in four phases for most individuals. The cycle repeats itself multiple times during the night, for different durations ranging from 70 to 120 minutes. TrustedSource. During a seven- to nine-hour period of sleep, the stages are repeated four to five more times.
Sleep patterns consist of two phases: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) and REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Three stages of non-REM and one of REM are included in the four stages of sleeping. Non-REM sleep is characterized by the absence of eye movement, whereas REM, which occurs when you dream, is characterized by rapid eye movements. Below is a list of the four stages of sleeping.
Stage 1: Non-REM sleep
The first stage occurs when you fall asleep. Your brain waves, heartbeat, and eye movements will slow down as you enter light sleep. This phase takes approximately 7 minutes.
Stage 2: Non-REM sleep
This stage is the transition from light to deep sleep.
You continue to relax your muscles and heart rate while your body temperature drops. Your brainwaves briefly increase, then slow down. You spend most of your sleep time in the second stage.
Stage 3: Non-REM sleep
In stages 3 or 4, deep sleeping starts. You don’t move your eyes or muscles, and the brain waves are even slower. Deep sleep is restorative. The body repairs tissues and cells and replenishes energy. This phase is essential to feeling awake and refreshed in the morning.
Stage 4: REM sleep
The first stage occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep. During REM sleep, your eyes will move rapidly from side to side.
Your brain waves and eye movements increase during REM sleep. Also, your heart rate and respiration speed up. Dreaming often happens during REM sleep. This stage is also important for memory and learning because your brain processes information.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
The recommended amount of sleep is based on your age.Sleep needs vary widely according to individual and depend upon lifestyle factors such as temperature. However, the CDC Trusted Source recommends the following durations according to age:
- from birth to 3 months: between 14 and 17 hours
- From 4 to 12 months: 16 to 18 hours per day, including naps
- From 1 to 2 years old: 11–14 hours per day, including naps
- From 3 to 5 years old: Between 10 and 13 hours per day, including naps
- From 6 to 12 Years: Between 9 and 12 Hours
- Age 13 to 18: 8–10 hours
- Age 18–60 years: 7 hours or more
- 61-64 years 7–9 hours
- 65 and older: 8 to 7 hours
What will happen if you do not get enough sleep?
Your body will have a difficult time working properly if you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deficiency can lead to chronic health issues affecting the brain, heart, kidneys, and blood.
Both adults and children are at increased risk for injury when they lack sleep. Driver drowsiness can, for instance, contribute to fatal car accidents. Poor sleep in older adults is linked to an increased risk of falling and breaking bones.
The following are some of the specific consequences of sleep loss:
- moods changes
- poor memory
- Poor concentration and focus
- poor motor function
- The immune system weakened
- weight gain
- High blood pressure
- insulin resistance
- Chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease
- Increased risk of premature death
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The bottom line
We need sleep to stay healthy and function well. Sleep allows your brain and body to repair and restore.
You may experience mood swings, poor focus and memory, or weakened immunity if you don’t sleep enough.Adults need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted restful sleep per night; if you are having trouble, consult with a physician as soon as possible if this is becoming difficult to achieve. They can help you improve your sleep by determining the cause.