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Wellness

Why Sleep Is So Incredibly Important, Scientifically Explained

Who doesn’t love sleeping? After a long day of school or work, I find myself daydreaming of curling up in bed or finding myself trying to schedule a nap into my day. Why? After many all-nighters trying to do work for many different classes, I realized the value of a good night’s sleep or even a perfectly timed nap.

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Sleep is the body’s way of resting, and if sleep is reduced or even neglected it can manifest in many different ways. So exactly how important is sleep? Sleep has been directly compared to eating healthy and daily exercise, and the common findings are that they are all just as important as one another.

Let’s talk science about sleep for a quick minute.

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As a person sleeps, there is a certain cycle that the brain cycles though called the sleep cycle. The first stage is a light sleep in which one can be awakened easily, and people have reported feeling small muscle contractions and a feeling of falling. The second stage is when the body begins to prepare for deep sleep by slowing brain activity and dropping overall body temperature. The third stage is when really slow waves, called delta waves, are mixed in with smaller faster waves. The third stage is where parasomnias, also known as usual activities occurring in sleep, such as sleepwalking, talking in one’s sleep and night terrors can occur. The fourth stage is a deep sleep controlled by the presence of lots of delta waves. The fifth and final stage is called REM sleep, when the brain activity is similar to an awakened state with eyes going through a repeated lateral movement while remaining closed.

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Now that we know the procedure our bodies go through while sleeping, according to National Institute of Health (specifically the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), the loss of sleep can be directly correlated to changes of activity in a person’s psychological state, mental health and physical health.

Some common changes in one’s psychological state or mental health can include but are not limited to sleep apnea (irregular breathing during sleep), narcolepsy (overwhelming drowsiness), depression, anxiety, ADHD, solving problem slowed and mood changes. 

Some common physical changes linked to sleep deprivation are increased risk of cardiac problems (high blood pressure, heart disease, etc), increased risk of obesity and a weakened immune system. At the end of the day, sleep is so incredibly important to everyone and especially to your health.

Try to get some more sleep and improved health and productivity will follow! Happy sleeping!

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Want to learn more about sleep? Check out these websites that I referenced while creating this article:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health

Jenna is a sophmore Biology and Communications Journalism double major. She has a passion for science and writing. She loves all types of animals, especially really fluffy dogs and little bunnies. She also enjoys hiking and being outdoors with her friends.
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