Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle

By Trista
Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle

One of the few biological urges that we cannot control is sleeping. For many of us, waking up to an alarm clock is the worst thing, but we still have to do it. It relaxes our mind and body from a tiring day. Sleep gives our bodies time to recover and rejuvenate, and it does the same to our mind. But the brain does not sleep. Rest is not a time when our brain or goes dormant. Even though we are not conscious during sleep, our mind is active. The proof lies in the fact that our bodily functions are active as we sleep. We still breathe and move, our heart pumps blood, the digestion system still works, and we see dreams too. 

But the question is, even though sleep is an integral part of our life and a vital bodily function, how much do we actually know about the time we sleep? There have been innumerable amounts of research done regarding sleep, including the various stages of sleep, sound sleep, disturbed sleep, circadian rhythm, dreaming, and a lot more. It cannot be said that all is known in this regard, but we do have certain information. Further in the article, you will read about how your body knows when to sleep, why do you dream, how dreams affect you, why dreams are important, and all of the stages of sleep.

We inevitably go to bed every night, but do we have to? Shutterstock.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

A good night’s sleep is the best way to energize yourself. Not sleeping well can result in a bad, tiresome day. Going without sleep for long periods can actually make you psychotic and can also be fatal. Only after 3 to 4 nights of going without sleep, people start to hallucinate, and after 7 to 8 days, it’s nearly impossible for them to live. Thus, it is clear that sleeping is essential to living as well as bodily functions. Even so, the reasons why we need sleep are still studied by the greatest minds. 

There have been a few theories on why we need sleep, but none of them have given solid proof of the reasons. Some say it is important to establish our memories for the long term as the brain goes through a lot during the day, and these events need to be processed during sleep. Also, our bodies require time to repair any tissues or muscles physically. The body gets tired during the day accomplishing various tasks. Sleeptime is the time for our body to relax and repair itself. Sleep rejuvenates the body and mind to prepare it for the coming day.