Why Is Sleep So Important?
We sleep to restore brain chemicals and rest the body. Some researchers believe that the brain organizes and stores memories during sleep. Lack of sleep can affect our daytime functioning, hormonal balance, appetite, and immune system.
We have internal clocks that tell us when we need to sleep. They cause us to feel alert when the sun is up and drowsy when it’s down. We are sleepiest between midnight and 6 a.m. , and between 1 and 3 p.m. That’s why some cultures have afternoon siestas (naps).
How much sleep do we need?
What is good sleep?
Good sleep is restful and uninterrupted. Your muscles are relaxed. Your body rearranges itself once or twice each hour so your blood circulates. You go through the five sleep stages several times. You spend at least two hours dreaming, during which your brain tries to make sense of random thoughts and brain signals. Your body’s cells produce and store proteins to renew and restore all of your systems.
What are the stages of sleep?
As the night goes on, periods of REM sleep increase in length while deep sleep time decreases. If you’re deprived of REM sleep one night, you may go into it earlier the following night to catch up.
What are some brain chemicals involved in sleep?
Who has problems with sleep?
Anyone can have a sleep problem. Many people accept it as normal, and few people seek the help they need from their doctors.
You might have a sleep problem if:
What can happen when you don’t sleep?
Does napping help?
If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, sleep in the afternoon or evening is better than none at all. But napping may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
A short nap (about 30 minutes) can re-energize you and help you get on with your day. You may feel slightly groggy when you wake up, but a good nap can improve your alertness for several hours.
If you are sleep-deprived, be extra careful during the two prime sleep times ( 12-6 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. ) when the body has a natural tendency toward sleep. Don’t drive or use heavy machinery during these times if you’re sleep deprived.
When should you see a doctor about sleep problems?
You should see a doctor if your sleep problem is interfering with your work, school, relationships, or other important parts of your life. Or discuss sleep with your doctor when you go in for your yearly checkup.
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