Why Do We Sleep?
July 9, 2021
July 9, 2021
Have you ever wondered why you sleep? Sleep seems like a mundane part of our life, but it is more important than we think. In this article, we will answer why we sleep and other questions about sleep, such as:
Sleep is an essential physiological behaviour of all humans. To function correctly, we need to sleep at least once a day. Stress or tiredness can also influence our sleeping patterns—the body and brain also recovers and repairs when in a deep sleep.
Humans need sleep because it helps their bodies function better. Sleep allows the body to recover from the daily stressors we face. It is also beneficial to our mental health and well-being. Besides this, sleep is how our bodies recover and heal.
We may think our body is turning itself off when we sleep. Contrarily, our organs begin to renew and repair themselves.
We need sleep because our bodies need to recover. No sleep or not enough sleep degrades the overall performance and response of our bodies. Lack of sleep can also cause an overburden on your brain. And in turn, this overburdening of your brain can affect speech, thinking, mobility, energy, and mood. Sleep Foundation says that an average adult requires at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Sleep sciences have not been able to explain the purpose of sleep fully. However, from what has been researched, we can formulate rudimentary theories for sleep:
Something known as the sleep cycle happens while you sleep. This cycle comprises 3 stages of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and 1 stage of Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Each cycle lasts for 70 to 120 minutes and occurs about 3 or 4 times during a 7-to-8-hour of sleep.
Here are the different stages of a sleep cycle:
Here are some functions of sleep:
Sleeping helps our brain select vital data from all that we are exposed to during the day. The brain does this by dreaming, enabling us to pick out an experience and store it in memory.
Sleep increases brain functions like learning, memory retention, and creativity. As such, a person with insufficient sleep may find it challenging to solve problems, make decisions or even control emotions.
Physical health is directly linked to sleep through processes like cell repair. Sleep also helps regulate our hormones and also stabilises our immunity.
Here’s what the different parts of the brain do when you sleep:
There are so many things that happen to our bodies when we sleep. Here are a few:
Seep, or the process of sleeping, is when our bodies shut down for the day. It is a response to our biological clocks telling us that we need rest. When we sleep, we have a low voluntary muscle response, and all our senses become less sensitive. It allows our bodies to recover and heal.
A significant reason why we sleep at night is because of the hormone melatonin. This hormone is responsible for making us feel sleepy by working on different receptors in the body. Melatonin is released in response to the dark and is suppressed when there is light. So, corresponding to the circadian rhythm, melatonin is produced at night, helping us sleep.
Melatonin causes us to sleep when it is dark. Another biological factor is sleep drive. Sleep drive builds up from the moment you wake up. So, the longer you are awake, the more the drive for sleep.
However, other factors may make you sleep. If you had a tiring day or intense exercise during the day, your body might fall asleep earlier than usual. If you had a sleeping aid or some other drugs that inhibit the nervous system, you might fall asleep faster or even instantly.
Sleep is an important biological activity. Sleep helps remove stress and burden on our senses and organs and helps us recover. Along with the benefits of sleep, there are so many problems due to lack of sleep. So make sure you sleep sufficiently every night!