Everyone knows that we can’t function without sleep every day. Yet, we sometimes take our sleep for granted despite its immutable importance for our health. Unlike charging our electronic devices, sleeping isn’t only recharging our body to function for the rest of the day. In fact, sleeping includes several complex processes that take place inside our body to make us capable of living through another day. While we are resting in our sleep, our brain works really hard to make sure that we are prepared for the next day.
The following reasons will highlight why we need sleep, and what happens to our brain when we deprive ourselves off from sleep.
Whatever we do throughout the day contributes to making new connections between our neurons. These connections or bindings are also called Synapses, which helps the transmission of electric and chemical signals in our brain. A memory that our brain holds is a combination of different synapses that we develop during the day. Sleeping helps to solidify these connections between neurons and trim back the ones that aren’t worth saving, as our brain knows what things are important to remember and what is not. By this process, we are able to hold on to a memory for longer.
In simple words, sleeping will help remember what you learned during the day that you consider is important, as the brain amalgamates the memories that are required. It also helps to get rid of negative memories and thoughts, which simply helps protect people from falling into depression. Without sleep, we will not be able to make strong synapses in our brain and make our memory effective.
During the day due to breakdown and consumption of energy, our body is left with a lot of waste and toxins that needs to be cleaned out. Similarly, in our brain some toxins are developed that must be removed and washed off. This process takes place much more rapidly during the night when we sleep, as our brain is flushed with a fluid form our lymphatic system that literally washes off the toxins from our brain and helps it refresh. This process is enhanced by the expansion of spaces between our brain cells while we are sleeping, which makes the washing more effective. The gunk that is cleared through the process is the same as the one involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Without sleep, this process will be halted.
Essential for cognition
We all know how our brain can make us feel disoriented, inattentive, indecisive, confused and dazed without having a proper sleep. However, the reasons for our cognitive capacities to diminish are quite far-stretched. Due to sleep deprivation, our cortical function will diminish, which enables us to multi-task. Therefore, we will probably perform poorly in any multi-tasking activities, such as driving which makes use of our eyes, feet, hands, ears brain, and a lot of decision making power. Our short-term memory (working memory), our attention and other cognitive functions are also affected due to sleep deprivation. Continuous lack of sleep each night for as little as two weeks can reduce the neurobehavioral power of a person.
We need creative thinking in several aspects of life, and it is considered as one of the essential skills that one must possess. Some people are more creative than others. However, it also has something to do with your sleeping pattern. With insufficient sleep, a person fails to be more creative in thinking and imagination. Rather than thinking in different directions, thinking out of the box and making use of their imagination, sleep-deprived people would rather only be able to state what they already know. According to a research, people were not able to perform up to the mark in terms of fluency and originality after being awake for one and a half day.
There is a strong connection between depression and sleep deprivation, people who don’t get enough sleep are usually at higher risk of falling into depression. This seems to work both ways since once a person starts suffering from depression he finds it even harder to sleep. Sleeping less and sleeping more, both can lead a person into depression. Insomniacs are generally more likely to be anxious and depressed.
Just like it protects our body, sleeping also helps our brain strengthen, become healthy and fight any possible diseases. There are several health risks to the body due to sleep deprivation. On the other hand, people who sleep longer are twice as likely to develop the condition of dementia.
Sleep deprivation for longer periods can ultimately take a form of diseases. It has also been attributed to the causation of hallucinations and perception of things that don’t exist. Lack of sleep can show same symptoms that are experienced with a mental illness or a disease, like paranoid ideas and disoriented behavior.
Tired and Emotional
Lack of sleep can leave a person mentally tired and emotional. People with sleep deprivation experienced that they cried more often and felt negative emotions more often to a more extreme level i.e. feelings of anger, hatred, vengeance and frustration. Sleep deprivation can also make the person get involved in suicidal thoughts and approach.
It may seem like it’s not a big deal to miss an hour or two from our sleep here and there. However, there are major consequences of sleep deprivation if we practice these habits in a longer run. It’s very important to understand the importance of sleep in our health and remain aware of all the dangers we may expose ourselves to by messing up with our sleep.
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