Sleep is essential for health and well-being, yet many people struggle to get a good night’s rest. Among these are those who suffer from chronic sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea.
Insufficient sleep may contribute to several conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and obesity. Getting a good night’s rest also improves memory, alertness and learning.
How We Sleep
During sleep, your body goes through four stages of sleep. You begin with light sleep, then progressively deeper sleep. The first stage is called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which lasts for about 7 minutes. Then, a few minutes later, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. This stage is where you dream.
What We Know About Sleep
Research indicates that sleep affects every system of the body, from the brain and heart to metabolism and immune function. It also helps regulate emotions and improve memory.
The science of sleep is still evolving. The goal of future research is to understand more about sleep’s biological purpose, as well as how it helps the body function normally.
We all need sleep, but scientists are only beginning to learn how it really works. We know that it plays a vital role in metabolism, memory, learning and the immune system.
But we’re not sure how long you should sleep or if it is important for your health. Some experts say that adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but the amount of time you should spend in bed varies depending on your age and activity levels.
Children/school-age youth typically need more sleep than adults, due to their growing bodies and needs for physical development. They also develop their own sleep architecture, which is influenced by their lifestyles and social conditions.
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
Moreover, short sleep duration is associated with increased mortality in elderly populations but not middle-aged individuals. This is likely a consequence of underlying mechanisms that promote a higher risk of death in the elderly, rather than a simple effect of poor quality sleep.
The best way to determine the optimal amount of sleep is to consult a medical professional. This is especially true if you are a young adult or have medical problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
We’re able to fall asleep because the body produces chemicals that help us relax and lower our stress levels. In addition, sleep helps the body heal from injuries and damage.
What We Know About REM Sleep
During REM sleep, the brain’s glymphatic system cleanses the central nervous system of toxic byproducts that have built up during the day. This process reorganizes your neurons, or nerve cells, and improves memory function.
Researchers have also discovered that REM sleep has an important impact on the immune system, and it can help to prevent infection. The immune system is also involved in the regenerative processes that take place during sleep, repairing and strengthening tissue.