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.
Adequate amounts of sleep on a regular basis are very important for all children and teenagers, and a lack of sleep in young ages can have very serious and irreversible negative effects. In particular, according to the findings of a recent study related to teenage obesity and chances to suffer from type 2 diabetes, those teenagers who do not have enough sleep day-by-day have much higher blood sugar levels. This situation can turn into a dangerous one and create a perfect environment for developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, in order to lower the risks of this serious disease, it is necessary to sleep not less than 8-8.5 hours a day.
62 overweight teenagers from the US aged 12-16 took part in the study. Their overnight sleep patterns were analyzed and compared. At that, the scientists payed attention not only to sleep phases, but also to the glucose levels in the teenagers’ blood. It turned out that those of the teenagers who had inadequate amounts of sleep (either too much sleep or too little sleep) had quite higher levels of sugar in blood compared to the glucose levels in the blood of those teenagers who had the recommended amount of sleep.
Dr. Dorit Koren, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and one of the leaders of the research, comments on the findings as the following: “Our study found to keep glucose levels stable, the optimal amount of sleep for teenagers is 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night.” This amount of sleep in teenagers is associated with the best condition and, in particular, with normal levels of blood glucose linked to lower risks of developing problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes. It was also found out that a lack of sleep in teenagers is associated with lowered insulin secretion.
The experts are planning to go on the experiments and continue studying the sleep patterns of teenagers, this time in their home setting. Financial support for further experiments and studies was received from the officials at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources and the Pennsylvania State Tobacco Settlement Fund. Those who are interested in this issue can read more about the findings of this study in one of the September’s issues of the journal Diabetes Care.
We all see dreams, and for most of us dreams are something mystic, intriguing and unclear. Sometimes we see beautiful calming colored dreams, reminding us about the beautiful times of our childhood. Sometimes we see something that makes us worrying, stressed out or anticipating something bad. Sometimes we see dreams that make us feel scared or frightened. Some people see the same dreams all over again, and some are even able to rule their dreams, “making” themselves see what they want to. Very strange…
Check out the most interesting and the most strange factors about our dreams. Share these interesting facts with your friends and be aware what your dreams are all about.
1. It was estimated that people spend about 6 years of their lives seeing dreams while sleeping in their beds.
2. The studies have shown that most of us usually see from four to seven different dreams every night.
3. In our dreams we always see only what we know. Faces, houses, images and pictures we see in our dreams are only based on what we have already seen before in our life.
4. It is considered that we really can control and manage our dreams when we see so called ‘lucid dreams’. We can fly and actually do whatever we want to!
5. If someone (or you) is snoring, as a rule he or she can not see dreams at those moments.
6. Despite of seeing good and positive dreams quite often, it was proven that such emotions as fear and anger are dominant for all of us when we are dreaming.
7. Researchers have shown that we tend to forget up to 90 per cent of what we were seeing in our dreams just in 10 minutes after we wake up.
8. Dreams is not something related to only us, humans, and animals can too see dreams when they are sleeping.
9. Finally, according to the latest studies and researches, modern scientists are very much close to being able to record and interpret our dreams, because there are systems created which are able to record higher-level brain activity. This will be an amazing opportunity to understand why and how we all dream!
If you want to have a regular good sleep, instead of using sleeping pills and counting sheep till the morning you should try to find your soul mate. Recently, the scientists came up with the idea that married women or the women with a stable life-partner usually have better sleep than divorced or single women. A long-term research leaded by Wendy Troxel, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, brought the scientists to the conclusion that women in stable relationships sleep better than women who are divorced and lonely. The results of the study were recently presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
During 8 years the researchers worked with about 360 American women, recorded their relationship status, as well as the specifics of their sleep activities. The scientists noticed that single and lonely women displayed the results indicating having the lowest quality of sleep. In this context, the specialists are certain that the absence of a stable life-partner is one of the leading reasons for modern women to suffer from insomnia and have regular restless sleep. Married women, instead, can not only enjoy the benefits of regular good sleep, but they are also under much lower risks of having their sleep affected by such common negative factors as stresses and depression.
Some experts criticized the results of this study, pointing on the fact that many more other important factors usually play a role in how good we sleep. Besides, they say that many married women who are unhappy in their marriages have to face regular serious sleep problems and disturbances. In contrast to them, a lot of newly divorced women who hated their marriage and chose to get divorced, feel a psychological relief and start sleeping better though they sleep alone. In my opinion, there is some subjectivity in all these speculations. No need in scientific evidence of the fact that happy people always seep better than unhappy ones, regardless of their marital status. And, certainly, having a loved one next to you, who can share your ideas and protect you against many troubles, makes you happier – and a better sleeper!