Like leafless trees and animals that hibernate in the winter or a dormant volcano, sleep is an essential part of the natural processes in the universe. It is an inevitable component of our growth and development. We are bound to sleep and lack thereof has adverse effects to our health.
Why do we need sleep?
Our brain is a complex organ that literally manages all of our bodily functions. As much as there are seasons in a year, our body has a biological clock that commands the time for different bodily processes to take toll. Sleep is the only way our body can put itself in a state of rest to be able to perform tasks that are not possible during our waking hours of physical and mental activity.
Studies prove that sleep reverses the metabolic processes of our body when we are awake. If metabolism consumes the energy that we generate and uses all our cells to function well in a particular activity, during sleep our body undergoes an anabolic phase which is the exact opposite. The anabolic phase builds our body up again to its normal state or condition. A concrete example for this is that ideally we stop the engine from running when we do mechanical reparations with our car, as the opposite is impossible and won’t be logical.
Sleep paves the way for our cells to produce more protein and enzymes. It is also the time our body builds up the immune system’s components and repairs the damages made by pollutants and toxins during the day.
While the body repairs itself, blood pressure lowers. This time blood cells can reduce levels of stress and decrease inflammations caused by cholesterol and other toxins. Proper blood circulation makes a healthy heart. That is why, people who lack sleep experience palpitations and shortness of breath.
Among the other parts of our body that is being repaired, the brain is the most important. With a good sleep, the brain can repair its cells and refreshes the memory. Like a computer, our brain will be able to re-organize sections of data stored in our memory, which will make remembering things easier.
In behavioral science, sleep greatly affects a person’s outlook in life and habits. People who tend to sleep less are less happy and may not be able to handle anger or extreme emotions appropriately in a given situation since they have produced more stress hormones and some parts of their understanding are affected by lesser cellular activity in the brain, as some of cells may have been damaged and left unrepaired.
For a healthier you, bring back the natural balance of your body at a cellular level through sleep. For adults, sleep is considered good within at least a period of 8 uninterrupted hours.