Health is dependent on sleep. In actuality, much like food and water, sleep is a necessity for survival. So it seems sensible that we spend around a third of our lives sleeping.
Biological processes that occur while we sleep include:
- The brain eliminates harmful trash while storing fresh information.
- Nerve cells exchange information and rearrange themselves, supporting proper brain function.
- The body releases substances like hormones and proteins repairs cells and replenishes energy.
- These actions are essential for maintaining our general health. Our bodies cannot function properly without them.
Let’s examine the benefits of sleep in more detail, as well as what happens when we don’t get enough of it.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF SLEEP?
There is still much to learn about the function of sleep. However, it is generally acknowledged that there is more than one reason why humans need to sleep. It’s probably required for a variety of biological factors.
Scientists have discovered that sleep benefits the body in a variety of ways. The following lists the most popular theories and explanations.
According to the energy conservation theory, we need sleep to conserve energy. Sleeping allows us to reduce our caloric needs by spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism.
This concept is backed by the way our metabolic rate drops during sleep. Research suggests that 8 hours of sleep for human beings can produce a daily energy savings of over complete wakefulness.
The energy conservation theory of sleep suggests that the main purpose of sleep is to reduce a person’s energy use during times of the day and night when it’s inconvenient and less efficient to hunt for food.
The restorative idea claims that sleep is necessary for the body to heal itself.
Sleep, according to the theory, enables cell growth and repair. Numerous significant processes that take place while you sleep support this.
- muscle recovery
- protein synthesis
- the release of tissue growth hormone.
According to the brain plasticity idea, sleep is necessary for proper brain function. It specifically enables the reorganization of your neurons, or nerve cells.
The glymphatic system in your brain, which removes waste from the central nervous system, operates while you sleep. Your brain is cleansed of poisonous wastes that accumulate throughout the day. This enables your brain to function well when you awaken.
According to research, sleep improves memory by helping short-term memories become long-term memories and by deleting, or forgetting, unnecessary information that may otherwise congest the nervous system.
Numerous elements of brain activity are impacted by sleep, including:
EMOTIONAL WELL BEING
Similar to physical health, emotional health depends on sleep. Sleep promotes healthy brain function and emotional stability because it enhances activity in brain regions that control mood.
Sleep heightens activity in certain regions of the brain, such as:
- medial prefrontal cortex
The amygdala is one area where sleep might assist with emotion regulation. The fear response is controlled by this area of the brain, which is found in the temporal lobe. When you encounter a perceived threat, such as a stressful scenario, it is what regulates your response.
The amygdala can respond in a more adaptive manner when you receive enough sleep. However, the amygdala is more prone to overreact if you lack sleep.
According to research, sleep and mental health are related. On the one hand, mental health problems can contribute to sleep disturbances, which in turn can contribute to the development and deterioration of mental health problems.
Your weight is impacted by sleep via regulating hunger hormones. These hormones include ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, and leptin, which heightens the sensation of fullness following a meal.
Ghrelin levels drop while you sleep because you utilize less energy than you do when you’re awake.
But insufficient sleep raises ghrelin and lowers leptin. You feel more hungry as a result of this imbalance, which could lead to consuming more calories and putting on weight.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY WHEN YOU SLEEP?
Four stages of sleep are cycled through by your body. From 70 to 120 minutes
each, this cycle repeats several times throughout the course of the night. The stages typically repeat four to five times during the course of a 7 to 9-hour sleep cycle.
Non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep are the two main sleep phases included in the pattern. Three non-REM sleep stages and one REM state are included in the four stages of sleep.
Non-REM sleep, as its name implies, is marked by the absence of eye movements, whereas REM sleep, which is when dreams happen, is characterized by rapid eye movements.
Below is a list of the four phases of sleep.
When you first fall asleep, you are at stage 1. Your brain waves, heart rate, and eye movements slow down when your body enters light slumber.
This stage lasts around seven minutes.
NON-REM SLEEP 2
In this stage, light slumber occurs soon before deep sleep.
Your body temperature drops, your eyes stop moving, and your muscles continue to relax while your heart rate slows. Your brain waves briefly peak before settling.
You spend the majority of a night’s sleep in stage 2.
NON-REM SLEEP 3
Deep sleep starts in stages three and four. Your muscles and eyes remain still, and your brain waves become even more sluggish.
Restorative sleep is deep slumber. Your body heals cells, tissues, and muscles while replenishing its energy. This stage is necessary for you to feel alert and renewed the following day.
NON-REM SLEEP 4
This period begins roughly 90 minutes after you go to sleep. During REM sleep, your eyes rapidly flicker from side to side.
Your brain waves and eye movements speed up during REM sleep. Your breathing and heart rate both quicken.
During REM sleep, dreaming frequently occurs. This stage is crucial for learning and memory since it involves your brain processing information.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF LACK OF SLEEP?
Your body has a hard time operating normally if you don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with long-term health issues that affect the blood, brain, kidneys, heart, and mental state.
Adults and kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer an injury. For instance, driving while fatigued might result in fatal car accidents.
Poor sleep is linked to a higher risk of fractures and falls in older persons.
The following are examples of specific sleep-related effects:
- mood shifts
- anxiety \sdepression
- bad memory
- the decreased immune system, limited attention and concentration, poor motor function, weariness, and weight gain
- blood pressure is high.
- insulin sensitivity
- chronic conditions include heart disease and diabetes
- higher chance of dying young
We need sleep to maintain our health and productivity. It enables your body and brain to recover, revitalize, and heal.
Lack of sleep can have negative consequences on your immune system, mood, and ability to concentrate and remember things.
Adults typically require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Speak to your physician or a sleep specialist if you are having sleep issues. They can identify the underlying reason and enhance your sleep quality.
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