Sleep: Why Do We Need It?

Sleep: Why Do We Need It?

Alyssa Mack, Business Manager

Sleeping is part of daily life and whether you think so or not, we all need it. But do you know what your brain does when you are asleep?

First, let’s start off with going to sleep. There are four stages of sleep, the first three being NREM and the other REM, rapid eye movement/dreaming sleep. The first stage is basically the transition stage from awake to asleep. At this time, it is very easy to be woken up by small things such as sounds and noises. Your body starts to relax at this time and your brain waves start to slow down and relax, compared to your thoughts when awake.

The next stage gets into a deeper sleep. Your temperature drops and your heart rate gets slower. The brain starts to produce sleep spindles that are bursts of activity that your brain sends out.

Then  next of NREM sleep comes. This is the deepest time of sleep which takes place most of the night. Sleep walking and talking happen in this time.

The last is the REM stage. At this time your eyes move a lot and your brain waves are more active. Your body also has the signal not to move around and act out in your dreams.

Now that you know the stages of sleep, why does your brain need sleep?

Your brain helps restore everything from the day. It acts like a hard drive for all the important memories so you can have new ones the next day. It also clears out all the proteins that can turn toxic with cerebral spinal fluid. Your body replenishes your cells and fights off infections. So if you don’t sleep, you can get really sick. According to the CDC, driving without sleep is even as bad as drunk driving.

Not sleeping can be very bad for your health

Not only does sleep deprivation affect those things, it also hurts you. You can experience health problems like headaches, back pain, and weight gain. It increases risk of heart disease, depression, and even death.

7th grader Nicole Davis says, “Sleep is really important and can help you with some many things.” Nicole is right; sleeping can help with many things and if you don’t sleep you can actually have mental breakdowns.

If you are having trouble sleeping or are having those kind of symptoms you might need better sleep hygiene. You could try different things like limiting screen time before bed, going to sleep at the same time everyday, and not sleeping in. When you sleep in you can also have a lot of the same bad symptoms.

So seeing what happens when you sleep and the different consequences, sleep is really important to the brain and physically to your body.