Why do we sleep?

It’s 7 in the morning and the alarm clock stats to buzz loudly. You cover your ears and mumble to yourself that you still have not had enough sleep. You find yourself annoyed at the fact that you have to spend at least a third of your day sleeping in order to feel refreshed. Sometimes we end up asking ourselves why we need so much time for sleep? 6 to 8 hours per day, the prescribed number of hours needed to get a full day’s rest, just seems an awful amount of time doing nothing. So why do we need to sleep?

There are several theories and ideas as to what happens in our bodies when we fall into our sleep cycle. While we are still unsure as to what exactly happens to our bodies as we sleep , one predominant theory is that it is one of the body’s main periods of recovery; when we sleep the body attempts to restore its energy and heal itself. Studies have shown that some immune and hormone functions change depending on the sleep cycle and that lack of sleep can negatively affect the immune system.

Think of sleep as the body’s way of tuning itself up. Like any machine, we can still function without the maintenance provided by sleep. But the longer we deprive ourselves of sleep, the less efficient we become.

The importance of sleep may also be largely to the observations made about its effects to the human brain. During sleep, it has been theorized that the brain spends this time restoring neurons, and producing certain hormones and proteins vital to its health and development. To further strengthen this theory, studies have shown that sleep deprivation among young people has lead to smaller brain sizes, permanent sleeping problems and behavioral disorders.

So next time, try to plan your day properly. It’s always a good idea to give your body enough rest so that you can be at your best when you wake up in the morning.

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