The Importance of Sleep
Your body goes through three different stages of sleep during the night. First, you experience a light, “N1” stage of sleep, which reduces your brain’s sensitivity to the outside world. Your heart rate and muscles also slow down. During the second half of the night, you enter a deeper “N3” stage of sleep. During this period, scientists believe you file away long-term memories.
In addition to being a powerful recovery mechanism, sleep also helps you fight off infections. During this period, your immune system produces antibodies that help fight infection. These antibodies protect your body from sickness by killing bacteria and other harmful germs. It’s also important to get sufficient sleep when you’re sick or stressed, as a lack of sleep can worsen your symptoms. Similarly, researchers believe that adequate sleep helps prevent heart disease. People who do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night are at increased risk for heart disease.
In addition to being crucial for the functioning of the brain, sleep also helps maintain emotional health. When the body does not get enough sleep, it is more prone to suffer from depression and other depressive disorders. Similarly, lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms of migraines and high blood pressure. Additionally, it can weaken the immune system, which can lead to an increased risk for diabetes.
While children and adolescents require several hours of sleep each day, their needs decrease as they grow older. The National Sleep Foundation recently revised their recommendations for sleep duration. Research has found that people who work night shifts are at a higher risk of developing sleep disorders. In addition, women experience hormonal changes that may cause disruptions in their sleep patterns. During menopause, hot flashes can also cause trouble sleeping.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, visit your doctor. He may need to order tests to identify the cause of your insomnia. Your doctor can also prescribe medications that can help you get enough rest. It’s important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, as sleeping problems can be a sign of an impending illness. Regardless of the cause, sleep disorders can lead to serious problems.
In addition to sleep disorders, many children experience night terrors, where they wake up in a terrified state. These symptoms are dangerous to your safety, so it’s important to visit a doctor if you suspect you have a sleep disorder. He can also refer you to a sleep specialist if needed. In addition to insomnia, you may also experience insomnia when you travel or work long hours at night.
REM sleep is important for normal brain development during the early stages of life. Research indicates that infants spend more time in REM sleep than adults. This is because this stage of sleep is associated with an increase in protein production. Researchers also say that REM sleep is related to learning certain mental skills. In some experiments, people taught a skill and then were able to recall it after sleeping.