Sleep is one of the most important activities your body needs. Life itself is not possible without it. After only three days, going without sleep is life-threatening. But extremes aside, there are a lot of reasons why you sleep. It feels good, for one, among many others.
by Cynthia Wilcox
for Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
Though sometimes it can be elusive, here are 10 reasons why you should make sleep a priority in your life:
Why Do You Sleep?
I don’t know, but it’s something we all do a lot of.
I used to suffer from chronic insomnia and still struggle with it now and then. I have done everything: tried different sleeping medications, read countless self-help books on sleep strategies… The only thing that eventually helped was getting past the idea that I had to sleep. Once I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to sleep, it became easier, natural.
But if you’re not one of those people who has sleeping troubles, then you probably don’t think about sleeping all that much. You probably just go to bed when you’re tired and wake up when your alarm goes off (or when your dog barks at 6 am). And that’s great! But do you ever wonder why we sleep? What it is that we’re doing when our eyes are closed and our minds are shut off from the world?
But scientists have been wondering about this for a long time, and they’ve come up with some pretty interesting theories about why we sleep. Here are 10 of them:
1. Restore and rejuvenate our bodies
One of the most popular theories about why we sleep is that it’s a way for our bodies to restore and rejuvenate themselves. During sleep, our brains release hormones like melatonin and growth hormones, which help us to repair and rebuild our muscles, tissues, and cells.
2. Conserve energy
Another theory is that sleep helps us to conserve energy. When we’re awake, our brains are constantly processing information and working hard to keep us going. But when we sleep, our brains can take a break and rest. This allows our bodies to save up some energy for the next day.
3. Improve memory
There’s also evidence that sleep can help to improve our memory. During sleep, our brains process the information we’ve learned during the day and store it in our long-term memory. This helps us to remember things better and learn new things more easily.
4. Prevent cognitive decline
Studies have also shown that sleep can help to prevent cognitive decline as we age. When we’re sleep-deprived, our brains work less efficiently and we’re more likely to experience problems with memory, focus, and decision-making.
5. Prevent illness
Sleep is also essential for our overall health and well-being. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more likely to catch colds and other illnesses, and our bodies are less able to fight off infection.
6. Why You Sleep: To regulate your emotions
Sleep is also thought to play a role in regulating our emotions. When we’re sleep-deprived, we’re more likely to feel angry, frustrated, and stressed out. But when we get enough sleep, we’re more able to handle stressful situations calmly and effectively.
7. Process emotions
Not only does sleep regulate our emotions, but it also helps us to process them. When we experience negative emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety, our brains tend to “tag” those memories with the emotions we felt at the time. This can make it harder to forget those memories and move on. But when we sleep, our brains have a chance to process those emotions and “un-tag” the memories associated with them.
8. Connect the right parts of the brain
Another thing that happens during sleep is that the right parts of our brains are connected to each other. This helps us to process information and memories more effectively, and it also allows us to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
9. Explore other realities
Some scientists believe that sleep is a way for our brains to explore other realities. When we’re asleep, our minds are free to wander, and we often have strange and surreal dreams. This may be our brains’ way of exploring different realities and possibilities.
10. Prepare us for the next day
Lastly, some scientists believe that sleep is a way for our brains to prepare us for the next day. When we’re sleep-deprived, our brains are less able to focus and concentrate, and we’re more likely to make mistakes. But when we get enough sleep, our brains are more alert and ready to take on whatever the day throws at us.
In my experience, as I come out of sleep, I find myself writing articles… like this one. Sometimes, mysteriously, they’re very detailed about a topic that I realize, on awakening, that I know nothing about…
I guess we still have more research in front of us.
Why You Sleep Conclusion:
There are many reasons why you sleep, and scientists are still trying to figure out all of them. But what we do know is that sleep is essential for our physical and emotional health, and it plays a role in everything from memory to decision-making. So make sure you get enough sleep every night for a better tomorrow!
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