The importance of sleep to the body and mind

Think six hours of sleep is enough?

The importance of sleep to the body and mind

The science of sleep We spend a third of our lives doing it. Napoleon, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher got by on four hours a night. Thomas Edison claimed it was waste of time. Why do we sleep? So why do we sleep? This is a question that has baffled scientists for centuries and the answer is, no one is really sure.

Some believe that sleep gives the body a chance to recuperate from the day's activities but in reality, the amount of energy saved by sleeping for even eight hours is miniscule - about 50 kCal, the same amount of energy in a piece of toast.

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We have to sleep because it is essential to maintaining normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking. In other words, sleep plays a significant role in brain development. What would happen if we didn't sleep?

A good way to understand the role of sleep is to look at what would happen if we didn't sleep. Lack of sleep has serious effects on our brain's ability to function.

If you've ever pulled an all-nighter, you'll be familiar with the following after-effects: After just one night without sleep, concentration becomes more difficult and attention span shortens considerably.

With continued lack of sufficient sleep, the part of the brain that controls language, memoryplanning and sense of time is severely affected, practically shutting down.

In fact, 17 hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0. This is the legal drink driving limit in the UK.

Research also shows that sleep-deprived individuals often have difficulty in responding to rapidly changing situations and making rational judgements. In real life situations, the consequences are grave and lack of sleep is said to have been be a contributory factor to a number of international disasters such as Exxon Valdez, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Challenger shuttle explosion.

Sleep deprivation not only has a major impact on cognitive functioning but also on emotional and physical health. Disorders such as sleep apnoea which result in excessive daytime sleepiness have been linked to stress and high blood pressure. Research has also suggested that sleep loss may increase the risk of obesity because chemicals and hormones that play a key role in controlling appetite and weight gain are released during sleep.

What happens when we sleep? What happens every time we get a bit of shut eye? Sleep occurs in a recurring cycle of 90 to minutes and is divided into two categories: Non-REM sleep Stage one: Light Sleep During the first stage of sleep, we're half awake and half asleep.

Our muscle activity slows down and slight twitching may occur. This is a period of light sleep, meaning we can be awakened easily at this stage. True Sleep Within ten minutes of light sleep, we enter stage two, which lasts around 20 minutes. The breathing pattern and heart rate start to slow down.

This period accounts for the largest part of human sleep. Stages three and four: Deep Sleep During stage three, the brain begins to produce delta waves, a type of wave that is large high amplitude and slow low frequency. Breathing and heart rate are at their lowest levels.

Stage four is characterised by rhythmic breathing and limited muscle activity. If we are awakened during deep sleep we do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes after waking up.

Some children experience bed-wettingnight terrorsor sleepwalking during this stage. We have around three to five REM episodes a night.

The importance of sleep to the body and mind

Although we are not conscious, the brain is very active - often more so than when we are awake. This is the period when most dreams occur. Our eyes dart around hence the nameour breathing rate and blood pressure rise. However, our bodies are effectively paralysed, said to be nature's way of preventing us from acting out our dreams.

After REM sleep, the whole cycle begins again.What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Maybe quite a lot, experts say. Studies show that the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect.

Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits. However, deep sleep (the time when the body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead) and mind and mood-boosting REM sleep are particularly important. You can ensure you get more deep sleep by avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and being woken during the night by noise or .

What Is Psychology? Psychology is the study of people's behavior, performance, and mental operations. It also refers to the application of the knowledge, which can be used to understand events, treat mental health issues, and improve education, employment, and relationships.

This is my third year doing personal training with Willie. Body and Mind Fitness helps me to work on my core strength and keeps me fresh and healthy during off season. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

Why Sleep Matters [].

The importance of sleep to the body and mind

Sleep is vital for learning and memory, and lack of sleep impacts our health, safety, and longevity. watch video. Sleep Study and Memory []. Dr.

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Robert Stickgold describes studies that show the importance of sleep in memory consolidation after learning a new task.

BBC - Science & Nature - Human Body and Mind - What is sleep