Whether you’ve heard yet another action hero boast of going days without sleep, or you’ve wondered how much your health can be improved by hitting the snooze button one more time, the request remains – why sleep is necessary?
From physical to mental health benefits, and more, we’re here to break down all you need to know.
Why is Sleep Necessary?
What Effects Does It Have on Your Body?
In the basic sense, sleep is a restart. It prepares your body for the new day by allowing your system to take stock.
It relaxes your muscles, helps your immune system recover, and allows your brain to organize all the information gained in the last several hours.
Hopefully, your brain conjures up some nice dreams (a touch of escapism is always pleasant), but even dreamless sleep is crucial for allowing your brain to recalibrate.
Sleep also lowers blood pressure, by allowing your heart and other organs to wind down for a few hours.
Sleeping helps you lose weight too! A lack of sleep causes your fat cells to hang on for dear life, prepared to give you more fuel until the time comes where you can rest again.
For all they know, it’s a famine keeping you up – not social media.
What Parts Benefit the Most?
As you may have guessed, the brain is vital for your body’s functionality.
Imagine leaving your computer running 24/7 without the occasional shut-down; eventually, the little components will run themselves ragged, lowering your CPU and eventually shortening its lifespan.
The same applies, essentially, to humans. When you sleep, your brain is allowed to rest, therefore boosting its processing power and response times when you’re awake.
Additionally, you exert less energy while asleep. This allows your heart to pump slower, taking a break, which decreases the risk of heart disease or strokes.
Research from the Valley Sleep Center notes that your immune system is deeply affected by restful hours, as your body produces more melatonin via the pineal gland.
This sleepy chemical helps reduce stress, while also boosting healing factors in your body. It’s no wonder your mother sent you to bed when the flu came knocking!
What Abilities Are Enhanced?
As you sleep, your mind is busy organizing all the information you gained from the day.
ScienceDaily reveals that if you want to learn a new skill, sleeping helps you perform better and be more attentive. Therefore, if you’re trying to pull an all-nighter for a test—don’t.
It’s best to avoid exhaustion (which dampens your brain’s ability to process information), and instead, let2 your mind absorb what it’s already collected.
For your body, not only will your muscles be at ease, but your skin too.
According to studies from SleepAcademy, sleep helps release serotonin, which is instrumental in reducing stress and healing the skin.
This helps prevent acne, removes blemishes, and regrows skin cells for a younger glow.
Why We Need Sleep to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
According to studies from The National Sleep Foundation, adults are supposed to sleep around eight hours a night.
However, should you gain fewer hours due to school, work, social events, and the like, eventually you will enter the category of “sleep deprived.”
The early stages are easily ignored; fatigue, yawning, and a lack of concentration are all indicators you can barrel through with enough caffeine. However, as more time passes, the effects escalate.
You will experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, high levels of stress, trouble walking or standing, and difficulty with your vision.
Extreme cases, where people are sleep deprived for several days, results in hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and other symptoms similar to being drunk or under the influence of narcotics.
Usually, your body will take the wheel and simply force you into unconsciousness by this point. It doesn’t like what comes next!
However, if for some reason you continue to stay awake, this can lead to severe paranoia, suicidal thoughts, impulsive behavior, organ failure, and eventually death.
Yikes! Worry not – an all-nighter won’t put in you this kind of danger. However, after the 24 to 36-hour mark, take a nap already. It only gets worse from here!
How to Get to Sleep
Whether or not you suffer from true insomnia, we’ve all experienced difficulties sleeping now and then.
When the sandman won’t visit, there are a few ways to help drift off:
- Shut off all lights, or switch on warm lighting (such as an orange nightlight).
- Avoid electronics, as the light will confuse your brain into thinking it’s day-time.
- Take a warm bath, or drink hot tea.
- Avoid meals or snacks for two hours before bed.
- Listen to calming music or white noise, such as acoustic guitar or ocean sounds.
- Meditate, focusing on your breathing.
- Engage in a dull mental exercise, such as counting sheep or reciting the alphabet backwards.
Why is sleep necessary? Because it’s the body’s best and – really – only way to recharge and repair.
The very act of living is a physical draw on our system, and sleep allows us to update and enhance our systems, so to speak.
In terms of mental health, it boosts stress-reducing hormones and helps to strengthen our brain’s abilities.
In physical terms, it heals, recalibrates, and rejuvenates our organs, muscles, and tissues.
While too much sleep can be just as harmful as too little, if you’re having a bad day or not feeling top notch, a better night’s rest could be all you need.
Here’s a video going into a little more detail on why we need sleep.