Science & Tech


Why are we sleeping?

The human body has adapted over time to be active during the day, supporting daily activities, while during the night the brain ensures the recovery of the body and prepares it for proper functioning the next day. We feel the need to sleep to ensure our daily mental and physical health, and the brain knows to let us know when it’s time to go to bed by sending us certain signals: we yawn, our eyes close, our body temperature drops to promote sleep, we do not we can still concentrate. It is good to listen as much as possible to these signs in order to have a healthy and correct sleep.

How good is it to sleep?

The time to be given to sleep may differ depending on the person, age, daily activities and health status. It is recommended a sleep of 7-8 hours per night for an adult and 9-10 hours for a child or adolescent. The latter need more hours of sleep to facilitate the growth and development of the brain, increased processes during sleep, more intense than during the day. Older people or those recovering from an illness or surgery also need more hours of sleep to recover more quickly, as well as those who go through a period of intense intellectual or emotional activity. We must learn to sleep neither too much nor too little, but enough, as the internal “clock” dictates.

What happens when we sleep?

We know how important it is to sleep, but not always, and why we should do it. Some consider that sleep is a waste of time, that it does not bring them anything extra, trying to reduce the period allocated to sleep, which is untrue and extremely harmful to longevity. The brain is just as active during the night, even certain areas register a more intense activity, and the temperature can increase by 1 degree Celsius.

During sleep, the space between neuronal formations increases due to the shrinking of brain cells, and the brain is fluidized, thus it eliminates accumulated toxins, this process being necessary for its proper functioning. Otherwise, certain brain diseases can occur. Perhaps the most important thing that our brain realizes during sleep is indexing, fixing the information accumulated during the day. The brain fixes the memories, consolidates the memory, more precisely, the information stored in the short-term memory, immediately after learning, is transferred to the long-term one. This process is more intense in the second part of sleep, so it is important to rest as much as we need to carry out our activities more efficiently, without interrupting this important phase of sleep. Therefore, sleep accelerates the process of learning, accumulating new information and keeping it long-term. Memory is better organized and that is why we think more efficiently, more clearly, after we wake up. The brain gives up unnecessary information and keeps the important ones, useful for carrying out the body’s activities or supporting evolution. While we sleep, our body recovers and longevity increases. People who sleep more than 6 hours but less than 9 hours live longer and are less prone to disease.

What are the benefits of healthy sleep?

Sleep deprivation drastically affects the ability to concentrate and decide, thinking, inventiveness, the entire development of daily activities, can create discomfort, irritability, often-depressive states. There may also be cardiovascular and digestive problems, the tendency to gain weight due to the feeling of hunger that occurs, as a reaction of the brain due to lack of energy. If we have, instead, a healthy sleep, we will have a much better mood, we tend to be liked by those around us, and we are more creative, we think more efficiently. In this way, we can work more efficiently, more easily, we find solutions faster. Sleep helps us feel good physically and develops our intellectual capacity.

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