What Is Sleep and Why Do You Need It?

One of the most powerful forces in the human body is sleep. Everybody succumbs to it, and even if you try to resist it, you will have to give in eventually. Sleepiness is a sensation that engulfs your brain up to the tips of your tiniest nerves. When it comes, it comes. Besides, good health behooves that we sleep 6-8 hours everyday (or every night, for most us). That’s the importance of sleep. 

In this article, we discuss with you the practical nature of sleep – how sleep works, how it replenishes our bodies and minds and why it is so important.

importance of sleep

 

1. Restoration

The first and foremost reason we sleep is because the human body needs to restore its normal metabolic state. Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Although it happens too when we are awake, during sleep the brain’s glymphatic system is twice as efficient at removing these wastes enabling you to wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.

2. Memory consolidation

Do you ever wonder why you often forget things, like a task you need to do right this moment or the name of that person you just met at an important event an hour ago? If so, maybe you could ask yourself, “Are you getting enough sleep?” The most likely reason why you keep on forgetting things, tasks, and names of people is that you lack sufficient sleep.

You need to sleep to consolidate your memory. Memory consolidation is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can limit your ability to form memories. People who consistently lack sleep for prolonged periods increase their risk of getting dementia as they grow older.

3. Metabolic health

As mentioned previously, our bodies needs to restore their normal metabolic state. However, it is not only the metabolic waste that get dumped when you are sleeping.

Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. Additionally, insufficient or abnormal sleep cycles can increase the risk of other ailments and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

This is one reason why those people who do not get enough sleep tend to be more obese than those who do. So if you want to be fit and achieve your ideal body weight, doing some exercise and keeping a stringent diet will not be enough, you need to get that badly needed sleep.

4. Rest and relaxation

Playing a game, watching TV, hiking, engaging in sports, etc. are all part and parcel of rest and relaxation. They offer respite from our exhausted minds and bodies wrought by work, school, and living a busy life.

The thing is, such activities will still make your brain and body tired since they all entail toil and effort. In a way, they should more appropriately be called as “recreation” rather than rest. In the end, sleep is still the best rest and relaxation you can give your mind and body.

Sleep is not only healthy, it is also pleasurable. So are you exhausted from your daily toil? Rejuvenate your tired self, relax, and sleep on your mattress like a child.

 

Reference:

Some information was extracted from an article by James Clear.