Why Do We Even Need Sleep?
I mean what logical or biological reason could you come up for why we need to lay flat for eight hours a night. Add to that the fact that we have to be unconscious for all of it. Some people think it helps us save energy, but the amount saved is comparable to a slice of toast. So here’s two leading theories on why bodies need sleep.
It helps us create memories
Look at what happens when you go without sleep. You start to function worse, you start acting irrationally, and potentially start hallucination and/or worse side effects if you go without sleep long enough. There have been multiple studies that have shown sleep is beneficial to memory. According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, new memories are often times vulnerable, and sleep allows them to be cemented into our brains. This could possibly explain why newborns need so much more sleep, they’re constantly learning new things. Research also suggests that the brain could be doing this because it is replaying these memories to us in our sleep to strengthen them.
Sleep allows the brain to clean itself
During the day our body accumulates certain waste that is just a natural byproduct of the human body… aka poop. Our brains also accumulate waste that it needs to purge itself of. The way our bodies have figured out how to do this is through fluids that travel through the brain and wash out for the rest of our body to deal with. This is called the glymphatic system. However the glymphatic system sometimes has difficulty getting into every nook and cranny of the brain. Here’s where sleep comes in, the channels that the fluid needs to go through are widened during sleep allowing it to wash where it wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
Remember to get your sleep so your mind is clean and fresh for the next day. It’s not always as simple as getting a couple extra hours tomorrow, get it now.