7 Reasons Why Sleep is Necessary

Mental Wellness
By Team Felicity
Fri Mar 05 2021

Sleep has always been a mystery when it when it comes to its evolutionary purpose.  It does not make outright sense to while away one third of our existence in a state of slumber. Yet sleep registers its importance when we are deprived of our due hours even for one day. It gets to the best of us. Not just reduced productivity & slowed reflexes but it impairs overall day to day functioning. Hence it finds its place in the most basic of human needs together with food & shelter. There are way too many reasons to mark sleep as sacrosanct. Mathew Walker, the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, says, “The decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact.” Here is some sleep trivia:

  1. The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span: Believe it or not, the longer your waking hours, the lesser is the number of hours you are likely to spend on this planet. It is said that sleeping less than six hours a night makes you 12% more likely to die prematurely than someone who sleeps up to eight hours. A newspaper headline captured the essence of this study succinctly in the headline “Not enough sleep leads to a wake”
  2. You have 2 types of sleep every night & they serve a purpose each – REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the state during which your muscles experience temporary paralysis & you experience dreams. During this sleep, your brain forms associations & connections that bring about innovative insights and problem-solving abilities. Non-REM sleep is the slow wave sleep state that uses significantly less energy than REM sleep. It is in this state, that our brain stores & strengthens new facts and skills
  3. You cannot sleep back what you have lost – Sleep like time, cannot be recovered once lost. Working 20 hrs a day through the week & sleeping 20 hrs a day over the weekend does not work. The havoc wreaked by continuous sleep deprivation cannot be undone. Sleep well today, or there might not be a tomorrow to compensate.
  4. Take afternoon naps of 30 minutes & live longer - In small enclaves of Greece where siestas still remain intact, men are nearly four times as likely to reach the age of ninety as American males. The glorification of 24/7 work culture & connectively has come at the expense of life years of overworked & under slept humans.
  5. That older adults simply need less sleep is a myth. Older adults need just as much sleep as they do in midlife but are simply less able to generate that (still necessary) sleep. The tonic of sleep is essential for all ages, genders & races. Paediatric population is more skilled than geriatric when it comes to getting into a state of slumber.
  1. No facet of the human body is spared the crippling, noxious harm of sleep loss. On a physiological level, lack of sleep has menacing effects like cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, infertility, weight gain, obesity, and immune deficiency. On a psychological level, it births mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder & many others.
  2. While we may have made severally evolutionary strides since our ape days, when it comes to sleep, we have moved backwards. Apes slept better than us. And some of our favourite blessings of modernization like constant electric & LED light, regularized temperature, caffeine & alcohol are to be blamed for this.

While sleep does not hog the wellness conversation yet, it is what stands between rationality and insanity. Over a period of time, between life and death. Get your forty winks & develop a night-time sleep routine. It is IMPORTANT.

 

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