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Scientists, strictly speaking, are not certain why need to sleep. From an evolutionary view, it makes no sense. In sleep, you are immobile and unresponsive. This leaves you vulnerable to potential predators as well as taking away time from more seemingly valuable pursuits such as eating. But sleep plays important role in learning and memory, cognitive performance, and muscle repair. Sleep science continues to progress as researchers delve into this intricate and fascinating process of facts about sleep. Let’s talk about scientific facts about sleep that might be unknown to you.
Why do we need to sleep?
One of the most important facts about sleep is that sleep is essential, a function that permits your mind and body to recharge. When you wake from a good night’s sleep, you are alert and refreshed. Healthy sleep further helps the body in remaining healthy and staving off diseases. Without sufficient sleep, your brain does not function properly. This may impair your abilities in thinking clearly, concentrating, and processing memories. Insufficient sleep leads to severe repercussions. Studies have linked lack of sleep to reduced cognition, attention lapses, mood shifts, and delayed reactions, in addition to an increased risk for such medical conditions and diseases as obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and poor mental health, let alone the possibility of early death.
Sleeping and development
When we are talking about the facts about sleep, we have to talk about its connection with our body development. Sleep is among the three most fundamental requirements children have to grow and develop properly. The other two categories are adequate nutrition and loving protection and support from parents or caretakers. The relative importance of sleep in development is still being studied. Many argue that there is sufficient evidence regarding sleep’s fundamental role in the emotional, physical, and behavioral health of children to advocate for social and clinical policy changes and educational programs that focus on sleep’s value. Some skeptics, however, point to the small number of studies on which to base such changes.
For infants, sleep is even more important. Babies spend much of their time asleep, but this is not the idle time for them. Their bodies, particularly their brains, are in states of rapid development. During sleep, infants store memories, form synapses, develop brain tissue, establish connections, and more. A baby’s brain doubles in size during the first year, with most of that growth occurring while they sleep. By three years of age, a baby has formed more than double the synapses than the average adult.
The brain and dreams
During dreams, the whole brain stays active from the cortex to the brain stem. Generally, dreams play out during rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. The limbic system found in the mid-brain handles emotions both awake and asleep; this includes the amygdala, generally associated with fear while being particularly active while you dream. The cortex handles the content of your dreams, from the monsters you flee and the people you meet to the coveted experience of flying. As highly visual creatures, people’s visual cortexes are particularly active. Least active are various segments of the frontal lobes, perhaps a good explanation for why you can be uncritical throughout dreaming, accepting odd events as though normal and real until waking.
Sleep and hormones
Hormonal changes can have devastating impacts on your sleep, and sleep deprivation, in turn, can impact hormone levels in a vicious cycle of sleeplessness. Women are more likely to report problems with sleep. The menstrual cycle, through and after pregnancies, and menopause wreak havoc with hormones, causing them to spike or drop, giving women difficulties with sleep. Some women can solve this difficulty with hormonal birth control. Another link between hormones and sleep is that slumber controls your levels of stress hormones while maintaining your nervous system. Get too little sleep, and your body can have difficulties regulating stress hormones.
Most common sleep issues
When it comes to sleep issues, the five most common are:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- REM sleep behavior disorder
The AMA, or American Sleep Association, reports that sleep disorders presently affect between 50 and 70 million adults in the U.S.; insomnia is at the top of the list, being the most often reported. It is a name for problems falling asleep or, once asleep, remaining that way. You may have insomnia if you cannot sleep despite being tired, you do not get sufficient sleep to achieve a feeling of refreshment and being well-rested, or you experience sleep that is restless, waking exhausted.
Low HGH levels
Other facts about sleep are that sleeping soundly through the night may be a key to unlocking your body’s production of HGH or human growth hormone. This hormone has been touted by many as a cure-all for aging ills, from wrinkles to weight gain. in one large study at the University of Chicago, men were found to produce less HGH as they age into midlife and deep sleep decreases. Researchers are looking into the possibility of better sleep slowing down the process of aging. We work with supplementing HGH in patients with hormone deficiencies. A blood test and a prescription are necessary, know more about how to get HGH prescribed.
Natural ways to increase the quality of sleep
Improving sleep hygiene is important for a good night’s sleep. Preserve the bed for bedtime activities; do not work or watch television or play video games in your bedroom. Drink warm milk or chamomile tea. Supplement your diet with melatonin, which the body naturally secretes a few hours before feeling sleepiness. Keep your bedroom cool and dark.