By Treisha Marle
Why do we need sleep?
Sleep is vital to our health, along with air, water and food. While we sleep, our body undergoes a passive retreat repairing and detoxifying our systems. Essentially, sleeping helps us carry on our daily lives charged with energy. Without proper and enough sleep, our body becomes weak, as we’re unable to regain strength.
Skipping 24 or more hours of sleep does not only make us feel stressed, cranky and clumsy; in the long run, sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on our health. It hampers our brain, leading to serious mental and physical impairment. It causes stress hormones to rise, fosters heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and memory loss. If the brain is concerned, then every aspect of our life will be comprised. Given this, we cannot afford to shirk on sleep!
What does sleep have to do with our brain?
Our brain stops functioning when we are asleep—not true! In fact, while asleep, our brain functions more wherein it stores all the necessary data we’ve gathered when we were awake. Sleeping helps the brain convert memory to a more permanent and enhanced form. To explore further, described are four phases occurring when we sleep:
- During the first stage, we may not sleep deeply so generally we’re easily wakened. This is when our muscles begin to slow down and your eyes move very slowly.
- We spend about half the time we’re asleep at stage two. This is when our muscles relax and our brain waves tend to slow down.
- At stage three, as the sleep deepens, brain waves become larger and slower. Our breathing becomes rhythmic, our muscles remain relaxed and we encounter non-rapid eye movement.
- At stage four, our muscles stop moving completely while our breathing and heart rate become rapid and irregular. This is when we encounter rapid eye movement when our eyes move rapidly in bursts of activity. Scientists can’t explain why but this is the phase when we dream. They believe this indicates that the brain is using this time to sort and organize our memories. This is also the point where blood flow to the brain is diverted to the muscles to restore energy. REM lasts about 90 minutes long and recurs about every 90 minutes throughout our sleep.
The temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex is one that is highly active while we’re awake learning and having verbal exams. This is the part which processes language and our memory. The bad impact of sleep deprivation on this area is that we’ll have slurred speeches and short-term memory loss. Also, in this last stage of sleep, neurons are being regenerated. Here are the parts of the brain’s cerebral cortex that get damaged when we don’t attain this:
- The parietal lobes correspond to math and logic subjects. If you didn’t sleep much, you can still solve math problems although with less speed and accuracy than a well-rested individual.
- The frontal lobe is that part sparking our creativity. Sleep-deprived people have difficulties thinking of imaginative words or ideas. They tend to be repetitive of their statements and are unable to deliver and communication their messages well. They also have a more difficult time reacting to unpredicted circumstances.
- The prefrontal cortex controls our judgment, impulse, attention and visual. This region regenerates during the first stage of sleep, thus if we only had a short nap, we’d feel refreshed despite taking only few minutes of sleep.
Because of the hype of schoolwork, office work, household chores and other errands these days, sleep deprivation is turning out to be a normal epidemic. If you think that this is not a serious case, think again.
Since different regions of the brain rest during different stages in our sleep, sleep cannot be cut short. Recognize that sleep is a very important part of our life.
Don’t underestimate this form of rest as it brings great impact to our brain. Learn to allow your mind to be at peace so you can get the rest you need. Get yourself a Comfortable Bed Mattress and start a regular sleep schedule for more brain power.
Hi there!! My name is Treisha and I’m a part time manager for Uratex blog. I love creative writing, socializing with friends, learning new things and travelling to tropical places. I am a green and healthy living advocate. I wish to collaborate with you can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org.