Do We Need To Spend One-Third Of Our Lives Sleeping?

by Donald Saunders - Date: 2007-02-05 - Word Count: 501 Share This!

Sleep is such a natural part of our lives that few of us give it any real thought. And yet this simple thing that we do every day from the day we're born until the day we die, and which for the average individual represents no less that twenty seven years out of our existence, should surely merit at least a little consideration.

In circles where sleep is discussed it is a surprisingly controversial subject and there is considerable difference of opinion over seemingly simple questions such as why we sleep, how much sleep we need, the ideal sleeping environment, why some of us sleep to much and why others don't seem to sleep enough.

Despite disagreements amongst the experts, there is at least general agreement that we must need sleep, otherwise we wouldn't spend so much time doing it, and that sleep is our way of giving both our bodies and minds a rest.

Early studies on sleep concluded that, during sleep, the body entered into a state of near paralysis and that very little activity took place. We know today however that this is not the case and that the brain in particular remains very active during sleep and that it controls a complex sleep cycle, taking the body in and out of various levels of activity in a five stage repeating process.

While it seems that sleep is indeed a way for our bodies to recharge after a busy day, there are those who argue that it's nothing more than a waste of time and that we can train ourselves to manage on a lot less sleep.

In general we can certainly do without sleep, or with very little sleep, in the short-term. Many people do work long hours, as any hospital doctor will tell you, and while we might get a little bit irritable and have problems in concentrating, our bodies and minds continue right on functioning.

However, it's not too long before we start to run into problems and our mind in particular starts to lose it's ability to plan. In addition, our memory starts to fail and we begin to have difficulty in putting together a coherent sentence, in much the same way as might be seen if we have consumed rather too much alcohol.

If we continue to go without sleep the body soon shows signs of physical stress and we lose our ability to properly regulate our body temperature and our metabolism begins to increase. At this point our minds too start playing tricks and we begin to experience hallucinations.

There can be little doubt that we need sleep and, for now, it would seem enough for us to simply say that it's our way or 'recharging our batteries'. The true reason will undoubtedly be discovered one day and it may well be that we can indeed manipulate our own sleeping patterns at some point in the future. For now however going short of sleep will undoubtedly run you into all sorts of trouble.

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Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health-related publications discussing the problems of sleep and giving detailed advice on such things as finding a natural way to cure insomnia and overcoming sleeping difficulties. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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