Sleep is a polarizing topic – some people covet it, some people disdain it. Though regardless of your feelings, sleep is major! In fact, many health scientists consider it the most often neglected, yet most critical, factor to our health.
If you've ever stayed up late before a test only to sit down and have forgotten the majority of what you crammed in the night before, you know why sleep is important. If you've ever driven on interstate roads and felt yourself nodding off, you know why sleep is important. If you've ever left an awkward text unanswered only to reply days later with, "Oops sorry fell asleep!" (is that just me?) you know why sleep is important.
Learn all about the mysterious going on that our bodies experience during sleep, as well as methods you can easily implement to optimize your sleep! – You'll be a happier, smarter, and all around better, you!
What is sleep?This may sound like a dumb question with an obvious answer, but unless you’re a sleep specialist (in which case, don’t read this article because you probably know everything) there are likely important details that you’re missing. Broadly, sleep is a cyclical state that is required for sustained life and is accompanied by variations in brain activity, hormone levels, and muscle relaxation.
Why is sleep important?Although today sleep is often treated as an optional habit, it’s not. There’s even evidence to suggest that we can survive longer with a suboptimal diet than we can with suboptimal sleep! Sleep is integral in emotion regulation and memory, physical and mental stamina, repair of muscles and organs, weight optimization, and immune function (or in other words, everything).
Some really cool brain structures are involved in sleep!
via: GettyThese include the hypothalamus, thalamus, suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), brain stem, cerebral cortex, pineal gland, basal forebrain, midbrain, and amygdala.