An activity that is not favoured on an average by toddlers but is very dear to adults- sleeping.
Did you cry too when you were a child being put to bed but you wanted to play some more? Did you too later realise how important those hours of sleep were when you pulled all-nighters during exams or lost sleep over piling up work in office? Today let's understand some technical aspects of sleep, what it does for the body and brain, how it is important for your memory and the effects of sleeplessness.
So what is sleep? A commonly accepted definition explains sleep as- a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
Sleeping is a phenomenon, or activity that occurs in a repetitive manner for hours every night. During this time all our voluntary movements such as walking and talking are usually inactive, so are certain involuntary actions such as blinking of the eyes. Our heart however continues to beat, lungs keep breathing and stomach digests the food consumed previously. Another important activity for which sleep is important is memory, which we will come to in detail a little later. All the muscles in our bodies are very relaxed during our sleeping hours unless we experience a nightmare where they tighten up in response to our mental activity.
Scientists still do not know what sleep really does to our bodies. Results show that it doesn't exactly provide any extra energy as people say. What it does is, that it gives the body some time to replenish its energy. During our sleep, our brain channels energy towards repairing damaged parts in the body since it has a larger reserve when most of our bodily functions are inactive. It not only repairs the muscles but the brain also has a chance to repair itself and strengthen its own skills such as communication, speech, language, innovation etc.
If you are someone who has missed a lot of hours of sleep to meet deadlines you truly understand the importance of sleep. It keeps your head from hurting, makes you less groggy and irritable, and it keeps you from being forgetful. Scientists who have studied people sleeping have seen their brain have conversations with itself though the waves and it creates. This isn't the brain actually talking or even dreaming, but it is sorting through our memory. Whatever we see and learn every day is stored in our brain for future use. It is in our sleep that the brain decides whether what information it received should go to the long term compartment or the short term compartment. Therefore, a very good way to remember everything you study during exams is to get enough sleep so that your brain has time to process all the information.
Lack of sleep can cause you to hallucinate and feel odd emotions. You will function normally to begin with, but if you keep that up it will only get worse. This is a way for your body to tell you that it needs rest so it can perform other activities for which some of your functions have to be shut down temporarily.
Sleep is very important for your growth and development, and you must give yourself a normal sleep pattern for best results.