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Why is Sleep Important?

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29 Dec 2021


Sleep is a state when your mind and body is relaxed and all voluntary movements are reduced and there is decreased response to external stimuli but still more active than in coma. There are two types of sleep, one is REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep and the other is Non-REM sleep. Sleep cycle consists of repeated periods of alternating Non-REM and REM phase in sleep. Non-REM phase occurs first and is characterized by slow brain waves followed by deep sleep, decreased body temperature and heart rate and brain utilizes less energy. It is the REM phase of sleep where dreams occur and characterized by Fast brain waves. This period of sleep is short lasting for about 10 minutes during first period and it increases in the coming alternating cycle. REM sleep takes about 90 minutes during 7-8 hours of sleep.

What happens during sleeping and why is it important:-

Sleeping is a stage when all your brain activity switched on during the day is switched off and it is found that all toxic chemical build up throughout the day in the brain is cleared up when you get a good night sleep. This clears the nerve cell’s residual signaling molecules activated during the day and relaxes the nerve cell. This will strengthen the nerve cells and ensure efficient work the next day you wake up. This makes thinking much more explicit and reduces stress and mood swings. Every cell damages caused are repaired while sleeping. In children, sleep is the phase where the growth hormones are released that promotes their growth. Inaccurate sleep is also regarded as a threat to survival; it reduces immune system function making a person more prone to infection. Lack of sleep also invites long term illness like diabetes, obesity and other cardiovascular problems.

Non-REM Sleep:-

There are three stages in non-REM sleep i.e., stage 1, 2 & 3. Sleep begins with stage 1 of the Non-REM phase wherein all body activity starts to slow down as your eyes begin to shut. This period you may also witness a Hypnic jerk- A feeling like you are going to fall which leads to some muscle movement or it may also wake you up from sleep. In stage 2 period which follows stage 1, all body activity including heart rate and brain activity decreases and you start to enter the deep sleep. Stage 3 which follows stage 2, is the period of deep sleep and when you wake up from this sleep you feel unsteady and incomplete sleep.

REM sleep: -

This period is when one experience intense dreams because in this phase brain activity increases although you cannot move legs and arms. Children have more REM sleep than teens, adults and elder people because the duration of this phase decrease you age.

Habits that disrupt sleep:-

  • Alcohol

  • Smoking

  • Drugs(antidepressants)

  • Caffeine

  • Blue light (From T.V, Electronics)

Effects of sleep deprivation:-

Lack of sleep can make you feel sleepy throughout the day and you start to lose interest in daily activity. It also leads to sleep disorders like insomnia and can affect mental health. Lack of sleep can lead to the build of toxic metabolites that is cleared up while sleeping and this can affect the health. Sleep disorder once caused will increase the risk of psychosis.

Benefits of a good night sleep:-

A good night sleep of about 7-8 hours improves mental health and relieves stress caused throughout the day, relaxes nervous system, improves and restores memory. It also strengthens immune system and has a positive effect in the way people socialize. It reduces mental confusion and irritation.


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Annmariya Johnson

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