The Science of Sleep
Front page of TIME
The story below is from MSNBC, not from time.
Eight hours of sleep a day seems like a colossal waste of time, doesn’t it? After all, in the hectic world we live in, those precious hours could be put to use responding to all those e-mails or hitting the spa. So why is sleep important and why do we need so much of it? Dr. Neil B. Kavey, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, offers some clues.
Think of the body as a car. No car can keep going and going and going without a tune-up or oil change.
WE DON’T FULLY understand the importance of sleep. What we do know is that sleep is an anabolic, or building, process. And we think it restores the body’s energy supplies that have been depleted through the day’s activities.
Sleep is also the time when the body does most of its repair work; muscle tissue is rebuilt and restored. We know, for example, that growth hormone is secreted during sleep. This hormone is important for growth in children, but is also important throughout adulthood in rebuilding tissues.
A DAILY TUNE-UP
Think of the body as a car. No car can keep going and going and going without a tune-up or oil change. If it’s not tuned, the car may keep running, but not as smoothly as it did when it was maintained properly. You can think of sleep as your body’s daily tune-up.
Human beings can function without a full tune-up, but they will be in a state of relative sleep deprivation and won’t be able to work or to think as well as they do when they are fully rested. It’s like an engine that gets only four out of eight spark plugs replaced and then runs sluggishly.
Sleep is also a time for restoring mental energy. We spend all day thinking and creating, and that uses up our energy stores.
It is interesting that in dream sleep the brain is actually very active. And this is where things get really theoretical. We’re not really sure exactly what dreams accomplish. Some experts believe that dreaming is actually some king of clearing out process. More sleep researchers think that dreams serve the function of helping to reorganize and store psychological information taken in during the day.
NOT ENOUGH ZZZ’S
One of the ways we have of understanding why we need to sleep so much is to look at what happens if we don’t get enough sleep. It affects our personalities and our sense of humor. We may become irritable and less tolerant. Parents of small children often tell me that when they’re tired they get irritated at the antics of children that might amuse them if they were properly rested.
Lack of sleep clearly affects our thinking, or cognitive, processes. A sleep-deprived brain is truly running on four rather than eight cylinders. If we’re trying to be creative, the motor doesn’t work as well. We can perform calculations, but not as quickly. We’re much more likely to make errors. It’s because the brain’s engine hasn’t been replenished.
Sleep deprivation also affects us physically. Our coordination suffers. We lose our ability to do things with agility. Sleep improves muscle tone and skin appearance. With adequate sleep athletes run better, swim better and lift more weight. We also see differences in immune responses depending on how much someone sleeps.
The amount of sleep a person needs will vary from individual to individual. But most people require around eight hours.
No one really knows how man evolved to sleep an average of eight straight hours each night. Factors that influence human sleep patterns probably include our physical size, muscle mass, brain size and the ability to think.
© 2004 MSNBC Interactive
Rob's Note: Ah ha! It's not just me that sleeps, it seems to be a world wide phenomenom. Like I said, I've been doing some (ok, a lot) of research into sleep. I found a fellow named Kacper Postawski, a Canadian sleep researcher.
Kacper is an innovative sleep science researcher and the creator of the
“Powerful Sleep - Secrets of the Inner Sleep Clock” system on www.PowerfulSleep.com. He can show you how to reduce your sleep by up to 3 hours, create more time, and an abundance of energy in your body by sleeping LESS! Not more. He dispels the “8 hour sleep myth”, tells you what most people never realize about sleep, and what the drug companies DONT WANT YOU to know.
Go to: http://www.PowerfulSleep.com to find out more about Powerful Sleep.
I'm reading the book right now, so I'll have a review later.
I truely believe that when you're on a path, a whole set of resources comes your way... I have been inundated with sleep information lately.
The next thing I found was this:
Holosync audio technology that Bill Harris has put together. The info came my way from a friend and I ignored it, then I had a conversation with another friend who said she had
... just received her free CD's in the mail, listened to them and fell away into deep meditation for over an hour and a half"
The holosync technology offers these results:
Profoundly deep meditation...
Dramatic increases in the production of a whole variety of beneficial brain chemicals, including pleasure-causing endorphins-as well as a number of others proven to slow aging and increase longevity and well-being...
Increased learning ability,
improved focus and concentration-and (even more amazing)
greatly increased personal self- awareness (scientists call this combination "whole brain functioning")...
Dramatically lower stress levels, and an increased ability to deal with whatever comes at you from the world, calmly and clearly.
Achievement becomes easier, and without the same feelings of anxiety and stress.
The need for sleep decreases, yet aliveness, vitality and energy increase!
I'm listening to the free demo CD that got sent to me in the postal mail right now.