Why Do We Sleep?
By, Codie Smith
Hunger and Eating; Sleepiness and Sleep
“While we may not often think about why we sleep, most of us acknowledge at some level that sleep makes us feel better. We feel more alert, more energetic, happier, and better able to function following a good night of sleep. However, the fact that sleep makes us feel better and that going without sleep makes us feel worse only begins to explain why sleep might be necessary.
One way to think about the function of sleep is to compare it to another of our life-sustaining activities: eating. Hunger is a protective mechanism that has evolved to ensure that we consume the nutrients our bodies require to grow, repair tissues, and function properly. And although it is relatively easy to grasp the role that eating serves— given that it involves physically consuming the substances our bodies need—eating and sleeping are not as different as they might seem.
Both eating and sleeping are regulated by powerful internal drives. Going without food produces the uncomfortable sensation of hunger, while going without sleep makes us feel overwhelmingly sleepy. And just as eating relieves hunger and ensures that we obtain the nutrients we need, sleeping relieves sleepiness and ensures that we obtain the sleep we need.”
Sleep makes us feel better and more energized when we wake up. Eating and sleeping have more in common then I thought. Eating and sleeping are very similar, with out food we get hungry and without sleep we get tiered("Why Do We Sleep, Anyway?").
“One theory that has emerged in recent years is that sleep helps us to process and consolidate new memories. Our memory system is a psychological wonder, and several studies have suggested that sleep provides some behind-the-scenes maintenance.
For instance, Matthew Walker and colleagues from the University of California gave volunteers aptitude tests like remembering sequences of patterns fired at them on a computer. Half the volunteers learned these patterns in the morning, and half in the evening. To test their memories he got them back into the lab – the morning learners returned after a full day of being awake, the evening learners came back after a night's sleep. Sure enough, those who were allowed to sleep had better recall of the test patterns.
By the way, there is good news for siesta or powernap lovers. Similar comparisons indicate that you can get a memory boost from a daytime nap. So, if you have been studying or working hard in the morning, do not be too hard on yourself if you fancy closing your eyes for a while.
One school of thought is that sleep aids our memories by refreshing and reorganizing them without interfering with our waking thoughts. Evidence comes from several studies using methods that record the brain directly. For instance, when rats were trained to find their way around a maze, their brains produced the same activity patterns during sleep as when they had carried out the task – suggesting that the brain was reconstructing the experience.
A rest might help ease bad experiences, too. A study published last year by Walker’s group has posed the intriguing suggestion that the brain might also deal with the memory of unpleasant or traumatic events during sleep.”
Enough sleep will keep your memory sharp, but with little sleep your memory will fade faster. It is ok to have a power nap during the day, just make sure it is not too long. if you have a bad memory you cant get out of your head it may be because of lack of sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep everyday to keep your memory more precise("Why Do We Need to Sleep?").
"Why Do We Need to Sleep?" BBC Future. N.p., 28 Feb. 2012. Web. 19 May 2015.
"Why Do We Sleep, Anyway?" Why Do We Sleep, Anyway? N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2015.