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The Functions of Sleep – What Is Sleep For?

God endowed man with a beautiful organism that obeyed functions when creating him. Functions of sleep are among the more important gifts of creation. Every man needs sleep. No human being can do without sleep, even if some sleep little and others sleep enough! One thing is sure, is that sleep is one of the everyday things people share. It is, therefore, necessary to understand sleep, and this is indeed what this article is about.

How to Fall Asleep? How to Recover Sleep? To Better Understand Sleep, Let’s Recall Some Basics

The usual duration of a night’s sleep varies between 7:00 and 8:30, but there are “little sleepers” (4 to 6:30 of sleep per night) and “heavy sleepers” (more than 9 hours per night). It is not a question of will or temperament but rather a question of genetics.

The ideal duration of a night’s sleep is one that gives the feeling of being fit and effective the next morning.

Without further ado, let’s understand sleep by starting with its functions of sleep.

I – The Functions of SleepFunctions of Sleep

What is sleep for? Or, why do we need sleep? Sleep research is still a young science, but researchers put forward several hypotheses:

– It would save energy: when we sleep, our oxygen consumption decreases, our heart slows, and our body temperature declines; in short, our body spends fewer calories.

– It would allow the organization to “recover” the activities the day before.

– It would help the brain to restore its abilities and promote memorization. Sleep would allow the storage and organization of new knowledge.

– Dreams would balance psychic life, allowing one to “let off steam” and to express one’s impulses without danger.

Did you know? Each of us has an internal clock! This means everyone has favorable or programmed hours to sleep in their body. This is why men do not have the same length of sleep, let alone the same sleep frequency. Our internal clock varies and functions according to our activities and especially the personal use of our organization.

Let’s See an Example – The Internal Clock: A Reality!

Today we know that many functions of our organization vary with the 24 hours of the day. This is the case of temperature, mood, heart rate, our performance … And all these functions evolve in parallel during the day, with, in general, a peak in the afternoon (temperature of the highest body, increased heart rate, increased alertness …), a decrease in the evening to a minimum in the early morning. The sleep period is set on the decay phase of these values: from the late evening to the morning.

Therefore, all these biological rhythms are interdependent, and this internal clock explains the jet lag.

On a far-off trip, if the destination schedules are out of sync with the usual schedules, it is difficult to stay asleep, even though fatigue and lack of sleep are present! It will often take several days to reset our biological clock on the new day and night schedules.

Considering the notion of the internal clock in the context of sleep wisely leads us to explore the cycles of sleep. The following lines tell us, moreover!

II – Sleep Cycles

The sleep cycles, does that tell you anything?

Paradoxical sleep, slow sleep … These are notions that we often hear about. To know how to sleep better, it is necessary to understand these notions; let’s dive together into the structure (complex!) Sleep …

1 – Slow Sleep

Sleep is not a straight line between going to bed and waking up. A lot of things happen in the brain and body during the night. When it’s time to fall asleep, the eyes close, your breathing calms down, and you’re off to the first phase of sleep, called “Slow Slow Sleep,” or Stage 1 Sleep is the beginning of slow sleep. It is the moment when one can have the impression of falling or jolts and where nothing awakens us. After a few minutes, sleep becomes deeper; this is stage 2 of slow sleep. It lasts a few tens of minutes and is succeeded by the “slow, slow sleep” stages 3 and 4.

2 – Deep Sleep

We are fast asleep, the breathing and the heart have a regular rhythm, and the body does not move. This is a phase where it is difficult to wake up, and the brain becomes increasingly insensitive to external stimuli (noise, light …). Then the slow deep sleep fades, and the slow, slow sleep reappears before making room for the first episode of paradoxical sleep (stage 5), which lasts a few minutes. REM sleep is when we dream the most; the heart and breathing can accelerate (depending on what we dream), the muscles are totally relaxed, and the eyes describe rapid movements as if the sleeper ” was watching “his dream …

3 – Sleep: From 4 to 6 Cycles per Night

Slow, slow sleep, deep, slow sleep, and REM sleep: the sleeper has completed his first sleep cycle, which lasts about 90 minutes. One night will thus include between 4 and 6 sleep cycles. In fact, the sleep cycles are not identical as the night progresses: if the deep, slow sleep is very present at the beginning of the night, it is rare when the night advances and disappears entirely at night—early morning. Conversely, paradoxical sleep, at the beginning of the night, will occupy an increasing place at each sleep cycle.

Sleep comprises identical stages throughout life, but its organization varies greatly from childhood to old age and according to individuals. Clearly, we are not all equal in the face of sleep!

Another fact draws our attention when we approach the subject of sleep. Indeed, we all need to sleep well, and the time to go to bed can be experienced as a moment of grace in some and a dreaded passage in others. Sleep is fragile and is often apprehended by many of us.

Indeed, you may ask yourself such a question: Why do we sleep badly? In other words, why can we sometimes have disturbed sleep?

III – The Causes of a Disrupted Sleep

It can be difficult to fall asleep because of worries, a neighbor who makes noise, or dinner too rich … The reasons are many; let’s go into detail.

1 – The Psychological Causes of Restless Sleep

Some psychological tensions can alter the quality of sleep. They cause a state of excitement, of nervousness that keeps us in a state of “hyper evil,” not compatible with sleeping well: falling asleep is more difficult, light sleep, and finally, not restorative. Worrying or brooding thoughts before falling asleep will also hurt sleep.

If nothing is done, we can enter a real vicious circle: by dint of bad sleep because of worries, we are afraid to go to bed, and we fear that moment when we will turn off the light and be caught in the torment of his thoughts, watching the clock turn, in short, we create a new problem that will be added to others, and during the day you can feel the effects of a lack of sleep.

2 – The Physiological Causes of Restless Sleep

Life is punctuated by moments when the sleep cycle is disrupted. Pregnancy and age can also be causes of disturbed sleep. The deep sleep decreases and wakes, sometimes prolonged, multiply, and the desire to take naps increases! The lifestyle of the elderly helps to explain this phenomenon: there is a lack of exercise and sometimes fewer activities during the day.

3 – External Causes of Restless Sleep

Sleep is affected by many external factors such as noise, light, ambient temperature, bedding, and falling asleep alone or not … We do not all live in the countryside! Sometimes we are disturbed by traffic noise coming from the street, neighborhood noise in buildings … “Noise pollution” disturbs our environment. About 20% of 25-45-year-olds report being disturbed by outside noise at home! And unfortunately, when our sleep is disturbed, it is less restorative…

It also happens to have snoring problems that cause difficulties in falling asleep … 13% of 25-45 years complain! Some snoring can even reach 100 decibels, equivalent to a passing truck’s noise!

Other events can upset our sleep, like the arrival of a baby. When the baby is born, it is not yet night; that is to say that its sleep cycle is not yet well established. It usually takes three months to structure itself … In the meantime, it remains an unavoidable and tiring period for parents!

So many external factors, which, unfortunately, are not always our responsibility!

When Sleep Is Upset…

How many hours of sleep do you need to sleep well?

To find out, evaluate your bedtime and get up during the holidays, for example, when you have no time constraints.

The ideal night duration allows you to feel rested without feeling a particular lack of sleep during the day.

Conclusion on the Functions of Sleep

Our body needs rest. He obeys the principle of life and time, the general rule of which is, ” There is a time for all things, and everything has its time ” (The Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes 3: 1). No matter what our activities, our profession, our skin color, our age, we all need adequate rest, that is to say, a balanced sleep. It’s all about our health and well-being. Good sleep contributes to the balance of our health.

In creating man, God has included sleep in the body and the life of man for his well-being. Take care not to deprive yourself of sleep!

If you love yourself, find some time to sleep to rest better. Look for a peaceful sleep. Have regular and adequate sleep.

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