The Importance of Sleep
The human body needs a good night’s sleep to function at its best. This period of rest allows the brain to function properly, processing new information and helping the body stay healthy and rested. Sleep also helps the body repair cells and build muscle mass. In addition, it helps the immune system function optimally. Without enough sleep, your body will be susceptible to infection.
Insufficient sleep can cause the body to become tolerant of chronic sleep deprivation, so it’s important to get enough sleep. In fact, chronic lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. In addition, sleep is important for metabolism. Just one night of insufficient sleep can lead to a prediabetic state.
Certain mental disorders, including schizophrenia and depression, can also cause sleep problems. People with these disorders are often awake at odd hours. The amount of sleep they get influences their symptoms, and severe sleep deprivation is an effective therapy for some cases. In fact, extreme sleep deprivation may lead to a psychotic state. Similarly, people with manic depression can be triggered into mania when their sleep is disrupted.
Research shows that the activity in the emotional areas of the brain is drastically reduced during deep sleep. This may help maintain optimal emotional and social functioning during the day. Moreover, nerve-signaling patterns repeated during deep sleep may improve learning and memory. These findings are not surprising: our bodies perform better when we’re resting.
Although the definition of sleep is not uniform, it has several criteria to meet. It may be difficult to distinguish between sleep and wakefulness if the evidence for each criterion is inconsistent or lacking. It is known that sleep occurs when the body skeletal muscles are relaxed and the brain is free of goal-directed behavior. Moreover, the characteristic posture of sleep in human beings and animals is horizontal repose, which suggests a passive role towards the environment. However, there is a possibility that the brain is still functioning partially while asleep, as is the case in marine mammals.
The sleep cycle includes the REM and non-REM phases. The full cycle usually lasts ninety to 110 minutes. The first REM period is brief, while the second is longer and more deeply-focused. The third phase is shallower, lasting five to ten minutes. REM sleep helps the body to consolidate memories, such as dreams.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to improve your sleep habits and increase your quality of sleep. Firstly, try to get enough rest, as this will improve your mood and productivity throughout the day. Also, try to avoid naps after 3 p.m. Secondly, avoid letting electronic devices and other distractions into the bedroom.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you should try to see a doctor about your sleep problems. A family doctor can help you deal with stress or suggest ways to get more sleep. In some cases, a sleep specialist can recommend sleep hygiene measures to improve your sleep.