Sleep, Do We Really Need It?

Do We Really Need Sleep?

Yes we do need sleep.

I’m sure you have at one time or another experienced lack of sleep and suffered some uncomfortable after effects.

Which of the following did you experience the next day after a sleepless night?

  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lethargy
  • ·Slower reflexes
  • Moodiness

If you checked at least two of those, then you suffered from sleep debt and this is not good for our health and well being. Those after effects will cause not only health problems but may even cause someone to lose his/her job or pick up a fight with a loved one or even get into an accident.

When Babies Sleep

sleep of innocence
sleep of innocence

What happens during sleep?

So what happens during sleep that makes it important?

Actually, so much is still unknown about sleep but what is/are known now should at least make us pay more attention to it.

  • Growth hormone has its highest secretion during sleep. Thus sleep is very important especially for growing kids.
  • Sleep is the time when we build/rebuild or even repair our muscles and bones and other body systems.
  • Nerve cells grow their dendrites only when they are not receiving much information (which is during sleep). The more dendrites a neuron has, the greater will be its ability to receive and modulate information. Memory is consolidated and organized during sleep as the dendrites make their connections.
  • Sleep deprived laboratory animals have lower white blood cells than those not deprived of sleep. This means that the sleep deprived animals have impaired immune systems because white blood cells participate in the immune response. Even if this has been observed so far in laboratory animals, it is also probably true for humans as well.

Two Kinds of Sleep

There are two different kinds or phases of sleep:

  • REM (rapid eye movement) and
  • non-REM or slow wave sleep (SWS).

Slow wave sleep or non-REM sleep occurs during the early night and has four stages while REM occurs later in the night.

The two phases may repeat in a cycle during the course of our sleep. One cycle is usually completed in about 110 minutes. Both kinds of sleep are needed because different nervous activities occur during those two phases.

The Function of Sleep

Studies have shown that REM sleep is more restorative in function. That is, this is the time that growth and repair take place. We must give time for our body to heal and restore areas that have been damaged.

Non-REM or SWS on the other hand is important for memory formation and consolidation. So we therefore need sleep to give time for short term as well as long term memory to form and strengthen connections.

Full Benefits of Sleep

To get the full benefits of sleep, it is important however to establish a consistent routine of sleep time especially for children. Furthermore, we have to reduce or remove all possible sources of stimulus during sleep. That means, all lights and sounds must be off and temperature must be just right.

Below are other tips for you to get the full benefits of sleep:

  • Do not go to sleep on either a full or an empty stomach.
  • Go to bed only when you are ready to sleep.
  • Don’t watch the clock
  • Contrary to popular belief, counting sheep will not help. So, don’t count sheep
  • Do not take any caffeine containing products like coffee, tea or soft drinks before sleeping
  • Don’t exercise before going to sleep.
  • Don’t drink water before going to sleep. If you do, you will have to get up during the middle of your sleep cycle to void the extra water.
  • Don’t talk or think about worrisome problems before going to sleep
  • Use your bedroom only for sleeping
  • Relax... and...zzzzz

http://hubpages.com/hub/Twelve-Things-that-can-Disrupt-Your-Sleep


deep sleep of a child
deep sleep of a child | Source

Sleep hours

How much sleep do you get every night?

  • below 4 hours
  • 4 - 5 hours
  • 6 -7 hours
  • 8 hours
  • above 8 hours
See results without voting

A philosopher friend once remarked that we can liken ourselves to mirrors that are broken into pieces (because of the various interactions) during the day and at night when we sleep we are made whole again so we can be broken once more when the morning comes.

And that I think is a very nice way of answering my beginning question “Do we really need sleep?”

More by this Author


Comments 51 comments

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Excellent report. We surely must have sleep to function at our best each day. Thanks.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello James,

Thank you for your encouraging comment.


coffeesnob 7 years ago

Jill,

I checked all of the above. I think I should go to bed.

Enjoyed the article. thanks for sahring.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi coffeesnob,

Hmmm, if you checked all of the above then you should really get some sleep. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.


clicchic profile image

clicchic 7 years ago from The Volunteer State

I average about 4-5 hours of sleep each day...I can tell you first-hand that sleep deprivation is a bad thing (as I sit here and type this at 3:18am). Subsiquently, I have Fibromyalgia.

Very good article and very informative!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Wow, you are awake at 3:18am? I suppose it's your fibromyalgia that is causing you to lack sleep? Oh my, is it a mild case or a severe one? I certainly hope it's just a mild case.

Thank you for your heartwarming comment.

All the best!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

This will sound weird, but every now and then I purposely skip a night's sleep. (Not when I have to drive or go to work, of course.) Somewhere around noon the second day, I get a second wind and become quite creative. I don't do this very often, but it's rather interesting when I do. (Oh, and I tend to eat less too.)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hmmm...that does sound weird. Don't you feel light-headed after a sleepless night?That's how I feel when I lack sleep.

You said you become more creative? Wow, that's really something!


gurgel1 profile image

gurgel1 7 years ago from profile

That really helped I might go to bed earlier on 4th of july in 2 days.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Gurgel1,

That's good. Keeping regular sleeping schedule is actually best. It allows your body to develop a sleep-wake rhythm.


jadecircles profile image

jadecircles 7 years ago from USA

I really love to sleep but I have lots of things to do especially maintaining my hubpages (lol), my other websites, and checking hundreds of emails.. plus I have to attend to my family and regular office work. I wish we have 36 hours in a day.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

How right you are there, Jadecircles. Sometimes we wish there are more hours to a day.

Just remember though, sleep is very important for our health. Everything will be useless (including maintaining hubpages...ha ha), if we are not healthy.


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 7 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

It was meant for me to read this HUB!!! The Holy Spirit lead me to it!! lol, lol. I do not get enough sleep so now I am convicted after reading this HUB and that's GREAT!! Ok God, I get the message, GET SOME SLEEP! Great Hub mu friend, thank you!!!!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello drpastorcarlotta,

Thank you for dropping by. If the Holy Spirit guided to you to this hub then that is really amazing! I'm happy if this hub helped you to realize that you do need sleep.

Thank you for your heartwarming comment!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines Author

I have added some new ideas to this hub. Please check it out.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

Jill I tend to be kinda grumpy anyway , but I know without at least 6 hours of sleep , I am a bear ! And on the weekends I have always been a big fan of the nap !!! And I never watch the late night news before sleeping either , a quiet mind always helps . Good stuff Jill !


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the visit and happy (not grumpy!) comment! Yes, we do need a good night sleep! Naps of course help.


LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 6 years ago from Czech Republic

Jill thank you. I do get a little sleep everyday. I sleep arround 5 to 6 hours. Thanks to your hub I started to think. I should change it and sleep more. Like your hubs a lot!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi LizzyBoo,

Thank you very much for your heartwarming comment!

I'm glad that you found this hub helpful. Yes we do need sleep and regular sleep especially.

Thank you for reading.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Jill of ALLTrades, Great informative hub! You have made some excellent points on the importance of getting the proper amount of sleep. Thank You for sharing, Blessings!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi DeBorrah,

Your comment makes me very happy! It's good that you found this hub informative. You are most welcome.

God bless!


st0rm3 profile image

st0rm3 6 years ago from Durban, South Africa

i hardly sleep, but i have found since i began writing again it comes a bit easier.

thanks for all the info


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi storm3 - Thanks for the visit and comment. It's good that you are sleeping better now. We all (no matter what age) need regular sleep.

Hope to see you again.


karlscabin profile image

karlscabin 6 years ago from A High Desert Valley w/ river (4500ft)

I used to hear "You can sleep when your dead" alot. For many years I thought 65 to 85 hours, was a normal work week. I am tired, but at age 50, I am already enjoying retirement. Was it worth it? I dont know, I'll let you know, when I wake up......


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Karl, it's good to see you again!

I'm sure you will have no problems sleeping in your cabin. Great place you have there!

Same here, I'm enjoying my retirement too - just doing the things I love - photography and writing.


ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York

I don't have enough sleep but it is very important indeed. It allows your brain to make connections. Great hub! I'm pinoy too!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Cecilia,

Nice to meet another pinoy!

Thank you for the visit and wonderful comment! Yes, we all need sleep.

See you around!

God bless!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Interesting stuff! I never stopped to think about what happens when I sleep.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello lifegate,

Thank you very much for the visit and wonderful comment. See you around!

God bless!


raakachi profile image

raakachi 6 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

very nice! good information!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Raakachi,

Nice to see you!

Thank you very much! I'm happy if you found this informative.

All the best!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

I used to stay awake the whole day and night when I was working on my masteral thesis, yet, without having problem with any of those in your tick list. Those were my most fruitful days. Now, I'm a little guilty and embarrassed because of my habitual sleep deprivation and feeling all of 6 in your list. Of course I don't count sheep, but I do hold and pray my rosary. It works! Midway, I fall asleep. LOL!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Lita,

It's nice to see you again!

Wow, how did you manage that? I always feel lightheaded after I am sleep-deprived for one day.

Hahaha, we have the same experience, I also fall asleep while praying!

Thanks for the visit and comment Lita.

See you around!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

Loved your article here, jill of alltrades. I agree that it is very important to get our sleep. I have heard that around 8 hours is average and best. I hate to admit this but I have needed 10+ a night since I was a child. My family would tease me and say, "Linda, up at the crack of noon." They say you should sleep as long as your body needs and 10 or more has always been the case for me. Good job on the article. :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Minnetonka Twin,

Thank you very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

Wow, 10 hours? I usually sleep only half of that. But it's true, each individual has her/his own sleep rhythm and pattern. Your body will always tell you what you need. Does your twin also sleep the same number of hours?

Hope to see you around!

God bless!


carrie450 profile image

carrie450 5 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

Thank you for these great tips jill of alltrades. I'll bookmark.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carrie,

It's nice to see you!

You are very welcome. My pleasure really!

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment.

God bless!


Manna in the wild profile image

Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

This is good advice.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Manna in the wild,

I'm happy that you found this as a good advice. Thank you very much!

God bless!


TPSicotte profile image

TPSicotte 5 years ago from The Great White North

Good hub. Useful. Thanks


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi TPSicotte,

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a comment.

God bless!


ChristineVianello profile image

ChristineVianello 5 years ago from Philadelphia

I liked this hub. I could use a nap now... heh


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Christine,

Thanks very much for your visit and upbeat comment! Go go get your sleep.

God bless!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

I can get by on very little sleep...When I was working, I think I needed more to function properly, especially managing a Doctors office. Now, retired my hours are my own and I LOVE it! Good Hub on the Subject of Sleep, Jill.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi b.Malin,

It's nice to see you again!

Wow, you managed with very sleep before? That's amazing!

Yeah, it's fun being able to manage your own time and activities.

Thanks for the visit and lovely comment!

God bless!


smcopywrite profile image

smcopywrite 5 years ago from all over the web

sleep is more important than anyone realizes. thank you for another great hub.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello smcopywrite,

Thank you very much for your validating comment. Yes, you are right, many people don't pay much attention to the importance of sleep.

Thanks for dropping by!

God bless!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Hi Jill. Nice useful points. Whenever I'm short on sleep I become moody and uncheerful. so I know what to do.

Voted useful, interesting and Shared.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello rajan,

I'm happy that you found the points I raised useful and interesting. Thanks very much!

Thanks also for sharing this! I really appreciate that! The more people who understand the importance of sleep, the better for everyone's health!

God bless!


Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 3 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

This is so needed. Many people go on a lack of sleep for years, thinking they are getting enough, using stimulants to stay awake, etc. You have a great Hub here....I get 8 and I take meds that require I get enough. I take lithium and seroquel. I not longer have migraine with aura, now that I am taking seroquel, nor panic attacks....This is a great great HUB keep these coming.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 3 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Diane,

I'm happy that you liked this hub. Thanks very much!

Yes, many people go through life without really understanding the importance of sleep. I'm lucky I don't need to take medications in order to sleep. Do take care of yourself!

God bless!

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