I have always been someone who needs a solid amount of sleep to be able to function. Yet, some people I know can go through their day running on just 3 hours of sleep. Why is this? Do we need sleep? Do some people need sleep more than others? The idea to write my blog post on this topic came to me because I stayed up until about 2 am last week to get some of my homework done and the next day I was exhausted. On the other hand my roommate stays up until 3 am or later every night and functions completely normally the next day. I’ve always been told by my mom that you should get 8 hours of sleep each night but maybe thats not the case.
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Why Do We Sleep?
I started off my research by looking up why it is exactly that we sleep. Despite all of the research done on this topic, scientists have a hard time answering this question. There is not just one theory as to why we sleep. According to this article there are a few. The first one mentioned is called the adaptive or evolutionary theory. This theory says we sleep because animals that were asleep during the night time are safer. Since these animals were quiet and asleep during the night/ when it was dark this behavior carried on through natural selection. Another theory mentioned in the same article is the Energy Conservation Theory. This theory says we sleep to conserve the energy that we have. There is also a theory called the Restoration Theory that basically says we sleep to give our bodies the chance to refuel. This theory is supported by many because many bodily functions like tissue repair, muscle growth and more happen during sleep. A recent theory that is vastly supported is called the Brain Plasticity Theory. Scientists don’t completely understand the concept of brain plasticity yet but essentially this theory says sleep is connected with the organization and construction of the brain. Right now in the science world there is not just one proven theory as to why we sleep but I think in the future scientists will keep making new discoveries in this field.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
When researching the question of how much sleep we need I came across that people of different ages all need different amounts of sleep. According to National Sleep Foundation new borns need between 14-17 hours of sleep each day as opposed to teenagers(age 14-17) who need 8-10 hours of sleep. New borns might be getting the reccomended amount of sleep but I know for a fact when I was 17 I was not getting 8-10 hours of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation also says that younger adults( ages 18-25) should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep and again I and everyone else I know does not get that amount of sleep. I seem to be surviving on about 6 hours of sleep each night. Am I suffering because I don’t get the recommended amount of sleep? There are negative effects of not getting enough sleep, this article says you will lack alertness, you can struggle remembering things, you are more likely to get into car accidents and you can become less likely to participate in activities like exercise. If you are seriously sleep deprived it can start to affect your appearance and you can start to look older than you actually are. From what I have researched I would definitely say that sleep is extremely important for our health and mental health. Sleep is not something we can live without.
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