Kids wish they could sleep for an hour or two more when they have to wake early in the morning to go to school. The event turns out to be the opposite when there is a function at home. We wake up without anyone’s help. How is this even possible? What is sleep? Who controls the sleeping pattern?
The science of sleep is quite fascinating. You will find almost all animals resting during the day or night. We also do the same at night. After a long day at school and studying, we feel tired and go to sleep very fast. Let us find out what sleep is and how important it is for your overall health.
Sleeping is a physiological phenomenon that all animals show during the day or night time. It is a part of the daily cycle where your brain shuts down for a few hours to take a rest. The induction of sleep is really fascinating. The nerve cells in your brain induce a phase where your voluntary actions begin to slow down and eventually stop.
Your brain remains active in some cases to control breathing and keep the heart beating. Some of your physiological functions keep on going while you close your eyes and set your journey to the dreamland.
The whole physiological phenomenon is controlled by a hormone called serotonin. It is released in the brainstem, the location where the brain connects with the spinal cord. This signalling by releasing the hormone switches off the signalling of neurons. We feel drowsy and start yawning. Eventually, we close our eyes and fall asleep.
Importance of Sleeping
Previously, we thought that sleeping is just a part of the daily routine we follow. It is an activity we do to take rest and relax. The researchers have found new aspects of sleeping that enable us to understand how important this activity is.
Sleeping is one of the crucial physiological activities that every animal needs. Research done by neuroscientists reveals how our body is controlled by a biological clock. This clock regulates our sleep-wake cycle of 24 hours. Waking up at a particular time daily will set your biological clock in the same way.
In this cycle, daylight is the primary factor that controls it. During the daytime, our brain releases cortisol, a hormone that keeps us awake and helps to perform our responsibilities. When the sun sets, this cortisol level reduces and the melatonin level increases. This hormone is also responsible for making us fall asleep.
There must be a reason why animals have evolved and developed this function. There is a reason why animals fall asleep every day. You will be surprised to know that the longest recorded time of staying awake is 11 days. Eventually, our brain experiences seizures which can even cause death.
It has been found that nearly 15% of our genes are connected to the biological clock. It shows how important sleep is. Despite this scientific fact, we cannot properly describe why we need sleep. Strange, isn’t it? We do it every day but don’t know exactly why.
There are theories revolving around this question. A theory suggests that sleeping helps us to preserve energy. Actually, we burn almost the same calories sleeping and awake. Even though all your voluntary muscles become inactive, you still burn a considerable amount of energy.
Another theory suggests that sleeping can detoxify your brain, rejuvenates the neural connections, rests this important organ and makes us feel refreshed the next day. This is somewhat right. The prefrontal cortex is always active when you are awake. Sleeping helps it to power and relax for a few hours.
As per neuroscientists, our brain works relentlessly throughout the day. Sleeping lets our brain detoxify, empty the information we don’t need, restore neural connections, rejuvenate neurons, and reorganise. You will be surprised to know that neurons communicate with each other and reorganise.
All our organs and tissues power down and relax. Every cell detoxifies and continues its minimum biological functions when we sleep. Scientists have witnessed certain changes in hormonal levels. The tissues in the vital organs repair and rejuvenate too.
Maintain a consistent schedule.
Always follow a routine to fall asleep at the same time.
Physical exercise is the best medicine to fall asleep. Your tiredness will help you power down faster.
Don’t take daytime naps unless you are very tired.
Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks too much.
When we are tired, we tend to sleep more. It can also happen if your brain is too tired due to improper sleep or incessant hard work. It can also happen due to modern issues such as stress and tension. We also tend to spend more screen time than enjoying the outdoors.
We cannot deny that the fact that modern life affecting your sleeping patterns is a harsh reality and this is causing several health issues. We feel irritated or annoyed very easily. Sometimes, tired people cannot even process information and tend to make silly mistakes.
Sleeping properly is the only way to make your brain fit for work the next day. Improper sleep can result in the development of various mental issues. Surprisingly, we do not have proper medicines to tackle such issues apart from sleeping pills.
What happens if we don't sleep? We sleep one-third of the day obviously for a purpose. A person can die from not sleeping continuously for days. His brain will suffer from seizures and eventually will succumb. From the above discussion, we can clearly understand why we fall asleep and its importance.