Why Do We Need to Sleep?

Sleeping is an essential part of life. We all need to sleep at least few hours every night in order to function properly. Our mind and body suffer when we have difficulty in falling asleep or when we wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to sleep again.

When we don’t get enough sleep, during the day we feel tired, irritable, have difficulty concentrating. Of course, there are exceptions. Randy Gardner when he was 17 years old set a world record of staying awake without using any stimulant for 11 hours in 1964. However, for the rest of us, we need to sleep every night.

Sleeping is biological imperative. Our body and mind get a good rest for several hours every night. During sleep several functions occur. Some of these are metabolic, immunological and hormonal.

Here are some of the functions of sleep. A good night sleep is an excellent restoration mechanism for the body. All the organs get a chance to rest. For example, it has shown that sleeping helps healing our wounds. Although all organs slow down, our brain maintains its full function.

In addition to taking care of the body, sleeping allows the brain to repair itself by removing wastes and the mind to improve memory.

Dreaming, specifically, helps to keep us emotionally healthy. Anxiety dreams and nightmares are the way our mind releases the built up tensions during the previous day. During the REM sleep, the brain blocks the activity of the bodily motor system. That’s the reason why we don’t move when we dream. Without this mechanism, we would move our body when we have nightmares, which would cause a complete physical exhaustion.

Now you know the functions of sleeping, you ought to make sure to get a good night sleep every night. Here are some tips:

  1. Do your best to go to bed at the same hour. Your brain love routines and if you maintain a healthy one, it makes it easy to fall asleep.
  2. Avoid strong lights 30 minutes before going to bed. If you must use a laptop or a cell phone in bed just before sleeping, make sure you dim the screen. A strong light into your eyes becomes a message for your brain to wake up.
  3. Avoid snooze button. Sleeping is made of several cycles of REM and not REM. When you wake up and then go back to bed to be waken up again few minutes later, you fall into a new sleep cycle. That’s why snooze enthusiasts drag themselves out of bed.
  4. Sleep in darkness. Avoid keeping a light on when you sleep. The light penetrates through your closed eyelids and communicates to your brain that it’s time to get up. It confuses your sleep cycle.
  5. Avoid alcohol. Although drinking a glass of wine may apparently make you feel drowsy, it actually interferes with sleeping cycles.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” Ghandi