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3 scientific reasons why we need sleep to stay healthy. Do you get enough sleep?

Since I am 'a sleeper' and have lately encountered trouble falling (and staying) asleep, I decided to take a closer look at the not-so-obvious question. Why do we need to sleep? I mean other bodily functions are quite clear such as breathing, eating, and reproduction. Sleeping? Not so much.

So do we get enough sleep and how much is needed? I’ll answer that below.

Now humans actually spend one-third of their lives under the covers (or in hammocks for the adventurous type) getting some much-needed shut-eye. It is known that if we experience a lack of sleep we can encounter problematic psychosocial behavior, not to mention a variety of diseases that have been linked to a lack of sleep such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

So what can we do to avoid these? I’ll get to that in a minute. First I promised to answer how much sleep we need as humans.

Most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Children and teenagers require more than that, around nine to ten hours a night, and young children even more.

Sleep is so essential to our being and function as humans, that without it, the brain simply can’t function properly. It has the ability to impair the way we think, process information, concentrate, remember, and much more.

What can you as a person do to get enough sleep?

Healthy sleeping habits improve cognitive abilities and keep the boy healthy and stave off diseases. That makes it essential to prioritize your downtime., which means going to bed in a timely manner, if possible. Preferably following the natural clock of our body, asl known as the circadian rhythm. This helps us to regulate our sleep cycle, in accordance with our body’s needs. I understand that this can be challenging in winter and summer, living busy lives.

There are a few things we can do to help that:

  1. Dim the lights in the house before going to sleep, and wind down your system. That goes for getting up in the morning as well: expose your eyes to bright natural light upon getting up to help set the clock just right.

  2. Make sure you listen to your body signals and don’t fill up your body with light, adrenaline, and other ‘substances’ that will make it harder to fall into a deep sleep.

As I promised in my headline, here are three scientific reasons we need sleep:

  1. This sleep homeostasis (sleep-wake) might be linked to adenosine. Adenosine is an organic compound produced in the brain. This organic compound increases its production throughout the day. This means you become more tired. When you go to sleep the body breaks down this compound.

  2. Genes may play a significant role in how much sleep we need. Scientists have identified several genes involved with sleep and sleep disorders, including genes that control the excitability of neurons, and "clock" genes such as Per, tim, and Cry that influence our circadian rhythms and the timing of sleep.

  3. So the last one is less of a reason, but more of an explanation of why we get tired and hence need to sleep. As natural light disappears in the evening, the body will release melatonin, a hormone that induces drowsiness. In the morning when the sun rises, our body will release cortisol, a hormone. Cortisol promotes energy and alertness.

All in all, sleep is important to a number of brain functions. This includes nerve cells, and how they talk to each other. Actually, our brain and body stay remarkably active while we sleep. There are some scientific studies that suggest sleeping plays a housekeeping role in our system, in which it removes toxins in our brain, that build up during the day while we are awake

Sleep is a remarkably dynamic and complex function, that scientists have only begun to understand now.

And with that, I bid you goodnight, or good morning.

If you want more articles like this let me know. If you want you can subscribe and get my bi-monthly newsletter which includes my new blog posts and free short stories.


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