Why Do We Sleep?

As humans, we spend nearly a third of our lives asleep. When we are sleep we are in a vulnerable state due to our brains being almost totally offline. Yet, remarkably, the reason we sleep is not truly known.

sleep deprivation

Sleep Deprivation

What is known about sleep has more to do with what happens when we don’t get enough of it. There are major damaging affects from sleep deprivation ranging from loss in memory to psychotic behavior in some. Sleep deprivation has even been linked to fatalities!

Sleep theories

Theories on why we sleep

Although the reason we sleep is not truly known, there are many theories.  Some of those theories are as follows:

  • Inactive Theory: Sometimes called the adaptive or evolutionary theory, suggests that inactivity at night is an adaptation that served a survival function by keeping organisms out of harm’s way at times when they would be particularly vulnerable
  • Energy Conservation Theory: Suggests that the primary function of sleep is to reduce an individual’s energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night, especially at times when it is least efficient to search for food.
  • Restorative Theory: Sleep in some way serves to “restore” what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself.
  • Brain Plasticity Theory: Sleep is correlated to changes in the structure and organization of the brain affecting ones ability to learn and perform a variety of tasks.

 

sleep studies

Ongoing research

Research is being currently being conducted on glia cells.  These cells which were once believed to be mostly inert have been discovered to have a wide rage of functions and outnumber the neurons in our brains by nearly three to one.

To find out more about interesting facts on why we sleep, get the full story here

 

References

Pappas, S. (2017, July 18). Why Do We Sleep? Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/32469-why-do-we-sleep.html?utm_source=notification

Why Do We Sleep, Anyway? (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/why-do-we-sleep

 

 

 
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