November 1


[Video] Why Do We Need to Sleep?

By Staff Writer

sleep, sleep deprivation

Sleep is really important, as you know. You read some pretty amazing “facts” about sleep, but how true are they, really? It seems that maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do about this activity (non-activity?) that we engage in for about 36% of our lives!

You can sense the disdain that many have about sleep through these sleep quotes:

  • “Sleep is a criminal waste of time and a heritage from our cave days.” ~Thomas Edison
  • “Sleep is for wimps.” ~Margaret Thatcher
  • “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” ~Phyllis Diller
  • “Sleep, those little slices of death – how I loathe them.” ~Edgar Allan Poe

Russell Foster studies the brain’s sleep cycles, as a circadian neuroscientist, and shares what he knows and what he thinks about sleep in this TED video.

So, while no one is exactly certain why we need to sleep, the answer is probably complex – but there is no doubt that it is critical to your health.

Some myths about sleep?

  • Teenagers are lazy – not true, they are obeying their biology
  • Everyone needs 8 hours of sleep – as an average that means that some need more and some need less, you need to listen to your body to find the amount that is right for you.
  • People don’t need as much sleep as they age – sleep may be disjointed, but they need it just as much.

And finally, the latest research around sleep has shown us that there is a physical link between sleep disruption and mental illness in the brain.  The sleep abnormalities usually happen first, so it can be used as a warning signal for intervention.

Good sleep will help increase your concentration, attention, mood, social skills, creativity, and decision-making. It will decrease your impulsivity, anger, and stress.

About the author

Our staff writers come from various backgrounds in the neuroscience, personal development, brain science and psychology fields. Many started out as with us as contributors!

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