Over the course of our evolution, we have changed quite a bit from the caveman days of our ancestors. One of the few things that remain is our love of sleep. Sleep is one of the most important activities that we do throughout the entire day but have you ever wondered why we need sleep? In this article, we will take a look at the many different theories that scientists have come up with to try do understand why we need sleep.
While most of us may not have pondered over why we sleep, there are many who appreciate that even the smallest amount of sleep can make a person better. Usually after a good sleep, a person can be more alert and energetic so he can perform his day’s work better. Sleep also lifts your mood and similarly, lack of sleep can make you feel irritable and miserable.
We can compare sleep to other life-sustaining necessities, like food. Hunger is simply your body’s way of telling you that you need to eat so you supplement your body with nutrients it needs to function. Although sleeping and eating may appear as different tasks, they both are stimulated by similar internal drives. A long period without food can make you feel uncomfortable due to the sensation of hunger and lack of sleep can make you feel extremely drowsy. Eating abates hunger, and sleep treats drowsiness and fatigue.
One of the most popular theories that scientists have come up with is that we need to sleep to allow our brains to have some time to organize the memories that we have made throughout the day. There are some memories that we make that we want to keep and some we would prefer to throw away. This theory goes to explain why we would wake up with a clearer head. This might be the reason why we tend to make our big decisions after we have had a good night’s sleep. When we are awake, we are listening to what everyone else thinks what we should do and not what will truly happy. When we are asleep, all the unimportant information and emotions are turned off. This enables us to make better decisions that will ultimately make us happier in the end.
Another reason that we think we need sleep is so that our bodies can rest. This is actually not the case, as many of us believe. Our bodies will go to sleep while we are actually sleeping or while we sit in a chair. Our bodies really cannot tell a difference from a chair and a bed. Our brains need the switch flipped in this matter.
This gives your brain an opportunity to heal any damage that has occurred. Sleep also gives us a chance to strengthen the connections of the nervous system as well. Not only do our brains strengthen connections that it uses, it also needs to get rid of the ones that we do not. What many of us do not stop to consider is that we are constantly growing, making all kinds of new cells by the minute. Since our heads only hold so much, we have to get rid of what we do not use to make room for more.
To make sure that the signal that needs to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, your brain has to get rid of the needless junk in the way. While many of the things that our brains are getting rid of are no longer necessary, there are always going to be those few things that you wish later on that you kept.
Another theory is that sleep is necessary for the brain to refuel itself. Our brains need glucose and many other fuels to perform at its best. When we are up for too long, these fuels are depleted and the byproducts that are created from burning the fuel tell our brains that it is time for sleep.