Sleep is one of the strongest biological urges we have one of the few that we really can’t control and the fact is you can die faster from sleep deprivation than food deprivation. It is said that we sleep for a third of our lives. The average person will spend 25 years of their life asleep. There’s no scientific consensus as to why exactly we do it. One thing we know for sure is that, our brains definitely think that sleep is important. Deep in our hypothalamus, the tiny nut sized region at the base of your brain having a little cluster of cells that acts like a timer called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. When we are exposed to light, this little cluster busily releases awake hormones like cortisol and suppresses. The release of sleepy hormones like melatonin when it’s dark does the opposite.
A second trigger for sleep is believed to be the build-up of the compound adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a byproduct of neurons and other cells when they burn up adenosine triphosphate (The main molecule that our bodies use to store energy). Research suggests that when a bunch of leftover adenosine accumulates in our brain, we get sleepy but when we sleep the adenosine levels drop as it is gradually reabsorbed by your neurons. This is partly what makes us feel rested when we wake up.
Basically, we sleep when our brains tell us to sleep but that doesn’t answer the larger question why are we wired to sleep? There are lots of theories out there and it’s unlikely that any of them alone is the single answer instead, they may all contribute to this weird urge that we have to lapse out of consciousness. All mammals and birds sleep and other like reptiles, insects and fish exhibit some kind of sleep-like behavior. Some scientists suggest that inactivity at night is an evolutionary adaptation that boosts an animal survival rate, by keeping it out of danger when it would be most vulnerable.Sleep could be a way to keep still so one would track less attention and yet lions sleep a whopping 15 hours a day while Mr. giraffe arguably a tasty meal for said lion, gets less than two hours a day.
Another theory is that sleeping might be a way to conserve energy. Much of life at least is about procuring calories to keep going so going dormant for about a third year day could be a smart move. Humans use about 10 percent less energy while asleep as our breathing and heart rate and body temperature all take a dip.
The broadest support out there for sleep theories is that it provides restoration.Sleep is when you grow muscle tissue, cells synthesize proteins, tissues repair themselves and growth hormones are released. But surely we can take care all that without having to be unconscious right?Like why can’t our cells fix themselves while we’re sitting on the couch watching Real Housewives of Milwaukee?
Because our brains need sleep as much as our bodies do, emerging research suggests that sleep allows the brain to breed juvenile or importantly reorganize.This theory is known as brain plasticity. We all do and see a lot of different stuff every day and we probably would like to remember most but not necessarily all of it when we wake up.Brain plasticity theorizes that sleep is when our brains replays and store the events of the day, providing eight hours or so for the processing and consolidating of new memories.This theory has been supported by tests on human subjects.In one experiment, a set of volunteers memorized sequences of patterns in the morning while a second set memorized them in the evening.The morning group had their memories tested while the evening group was tested 12 hours later too after they’d slept and the evening group proved better at recalling the patterns.It may actually be good advice to take a nap while you are stuck on your prob