Sleep: How Does it Help?
Sleep is a basic human function. Have you ever wondered why for no reason, our eyes start to droop, our mind slows down, and we practically go unconscious for hours every night? How much more productive would we be if we didn't have to sleep? These questions have been asked by generations dating back to even Ancient Greece, who assigned the process to the all-powerful god Hypnos. Throughout history, the sleeping process has been revered. More than ever before, though, students, children, and adults lack or skip on sleep. How does this affect our lives?
Recently, scientists correlated a greater time awake with a greater chance of developing mental disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease. In a 2009 study of mice, researchers discovered that depriving mice of sleep caused harmful plaque buildup in their brain, which causes Alzheimers. When awake, there is greater synaptic activity. This overstimulation of synapses leads to a greater chance to develop beta-amyloid buildup in between neurons. Recent brain imaging studies support this, suggesting that excessive neural activity, such as from lack of sleep, may contribute to the onset of AD.
What do our brains do during sleep - a question contemplated by scientists for years. Now, , we have found concrete evidence that a good sleep helps the mind organize information and clear it. Toxins that build up between our brain cells get cleared and washed out during sleep, allowing us to have a clear mind when we wake up - this is why "sleeping on your problems" is such an effective strategy. Proteins linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including beta-amyloid, build up in these spaces.
This process keeps us healthy from brain diseases, gives us energy, prevents physical disorders in our heart and organs, and more. I'm definitely sleeping in tonight.